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Communication on September 3

2009.08.25 14:00

Views:7767

* Bishops Make a Commitment to Solidarity for the Culture of Integral Life

Concluding the 8th Plenary Assembly of the FABC on August 23, 2004, the Bishops in Asia reaffirmed the family as God-given gift and blessing and made a commitment to communion and solidarity so that the values of the Reign of God and the culture of integral life can take roots among Asian families.

The 181 participants from 21 Asian countries, including six Cardinals, 24 Archbishops and 55 Bishops, also made public the final document titled "The Asian Family Toward a Culture of Integral Life" in which they insisted on giving priority to the family ministry in all pastoral programs and providing special concern for family spirituality to help build the culture of integral life.

In the final document, the bishops addressed the challenges facing Asian families, such as poverty, globalization, patriarchy, child labor, population programs, AIDS and biotechnology, and offered theological-pastoral reflection and recommendations regarding the issues.

They also proclaimed the final message addressed "To the People of God in Asia and People of Good Will" and said, "As pastors of the Church convinced of God's unfailing love, we bishops will look for every opportunity to promote the good of families …… and commit ourselves to strengthen Family Ministry so as to assist and accompany all families."

In the message, the bishops defined the culture of life as a culture "which respects and protects God's gift of human life in all its dimensions from conception to death, which vigorously opposes the forces that destroy, exploit and oppress human life, which actively promotes responsible parenthood and the primacy of human life and dignity over efficiency, capital and profit and which promotes family values from indigenous people and other religions."

In particular, the bishops expressed their special affection and concern to the Catholic families in China and North Korea. In addition, they appealed governments, groups concerned for the welfare of families, educational institutions, mass media producers and promoters to join them in "strengthening the family as the focal point for the promotion of a civilization of love and a culture of life."

His Excellency Jean-Baptist Pham Minh Man, Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, presided the closing Mass and said, "Even though we witnessed many faces of anxiety in Asian families during the meeting, at the same time we were pleased to see the sign of hope, even greater than the darkness of anxiety." He continued, "I'd like to express gratitude to many Asian families for advocating the true values of the family and to invite them to continue their efforts for the culture of life."

The Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, Bishop of Military Ordinariate in Korea and President of the CBCK Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry, noted that "We discovered that Asian countries have similar problems and plans in family ministry, so it is deemed advisable to build network among dioceses in Asian countries."

* Catholic Engaged Couples Show Secularized Attitudes toward the Family or Life-related Issues

A survey revealed that Catholic engaged couples think or behave not differently from non-Christian young couples regarding the family or life-related issues, such as divorce, abortion, artificial contraception or premarital sex. The survey was conducted by the Office for Evangelization of the Diocese of Suwon among 559 couples who have completed the Pre-Cana program in the Diocese in the first half of this year.

The survey result was announced at a seminar on August 28, 2004, which was arranged to set pastoral directions and strategies in ministry of (the) family and marriage in the Diocese.

According to the survey, more than 80% of respondents gave consent to the premarital sex under the condition of love (51.6%) or promise to marry (30.5%). Indeed, 81.1% answered they have ever had sexual intercourse. This sexual openness leads to the weakness of moral consciousness in bio-ethical issues as shown in the questions about abortion; they supported abortion in case of deformed unborn babies (67.6%) or pregnancy as the result of rape (81.1%). In addition, six of ten agreed to divorce if necessary, as "a choice for a better life."

In this regard, experts said that adequate formation about sex, life, and vocation to marriage must be offered from the early age in Sunday schools. As a matter of fact, only 35% of the respondents answered they had ever received Church's teachings on the family or life. Therefore, we can say that the wide gap between the teachings of the Church and the reality results from the absence of proper education.

The Rev. Andrew Lee Yong-gi who is in charge of the family ministry in the Diocese said, "This survey shows that the weak awareness on the life knows no difference between Catholics and non-believers and that the most important responsibility of the family is being threatened." He continued, "The family ministry should take the formation of the engaged couples as a main challenge."

*  ICPE Missionaries' First Visit to Korea

Seven young missionaries of an international youth association for mission made a 20-day visit to Korea from August 7 to 27, 2004 and experienced the dynamics of the Catholic Church in Korea in carrying out various activities.

The ICPE (International Catholic Programme of Evangelization) missionaries, composed of youth of various nationalities, including Korea, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Malaysia and Singapore, performed street mission activities and participated as observers in the youth prayer meeting and the youth association for the Renewal by the Holy Spirit.

A Czech missionary Jitka Svoziolva said, "In the Catholic Church in Korea, I can feel the dynamics of a young church unlike the churches in European countries with long history of Christianity. So I hope that young Korean Catholics can lead their lives more sincerely as Christians accordingly."

The only Korean missionary Titus Choi Bong-geun also said, "I hope to see ICEP communities established in Korea within two or three years. This is a new spirituality movement inspiring a sense of mission among the youth."

The ICPE, an international organization founded by Mario Cappello in Malta in 1985 and approved by the Holy See in 2002, is dedicated to the formation and training of Catholic youth through new evangelization and re-evangelization so that they may become more effective evangelisers and may serve all over the world. At present, there are some 200 members working in about ten countries, including Ghana, Poland and Germany.

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