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Communications on Apr. 14, 2001

2009.08.24 10:53

Views:8596

◎Bishops' Easter Message to Focus on Community of Love and Sharing

Bishops issued their Easter message on April 15th and wished for peace and joy for all Korean people and families.
They expressed deep concerns about the big gap between rich and poor people, lack of social justice and common good, slow progress of South-North reconciliation and collaboration, corruptions and moral degradations of politicians and business people, trends of treating life lightly, consumerism, individualism and materialism, environmental disruption etc. and asked the faithful to strive to building a community of love and sharing.
The Bishops placed emphasis on the role of martyrs as the Catholic Church in Korea celebrates the 200th anniversary of the great Sinyu persecution by saying that it is thanks to them Korean people became participants in the truth and its tradition, and appealed Korean Catholics to be apostles of Gospel.
The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, wished for reconciliation and peace of Korean people still divided in two parts and asked his faithful to pray for unity of country.
Most Rev. Paul Ri, Archbishop of Taegu, stressed on the spirit of self-dedication for love and truth of disciples of Risen Christ while the Most Rev. Andrew Choi, Archbishop of Kwangju, said that "the human history seems to move slowly and painfully toward God, but, the history of God for the mankind and the world is running toward us. We have to make the Easter a great festival to announce this good news to the world."
Rt. Rev. Placid Ri from the Episcopal Special Commission for the Reconciliation of Korean People made Easter wishes for the Catholics of South and North Korea and asked them to pray in unity for true reconciliation and peace of the Korean peninsula.


◎Japan's Distortion of History Text Book is Against Catholic Teachings

As anti-Japanese sentiments in Korea are escalating with authorization of middle school history textbooks by Japanese Education Ministry on April 3rd, which Koreans believe gloss over wartime atrocities committed by the Japanese imperialists, some Korean Catholics pointed out that the new history textbooks at issue are against Catholic teachings that advocate for universal love and respect for human dignity of each mankind.
"The new history textbooks contain racial prejudices, confrontations of peoples and elements that are against the social teachings of the Catholic Church over universal values of the humanity. They are Japan-centered textbooks; ignore the respect for human dignity," said Prof. Chow Kwang from department of history at Korea University.
The Justice & Peace committee of Seoul Archdiocese (dir: Rev. Lee Ki-woo) said they will examine the issue in depths and take a joint action and countermeasure in solidarity with other groups and the Church in Japan.
Lee Won-sun, former president of the national history compilation committee said, April 9th, "the Church can't change history study but the Churches in the two countries can help for a correct history study by making a second history textbook. Churches and scholars in the two countries must play watchmen's role because distortion of textbooks is too important to be left to the hands of governments."

Opinions and reactions of civic groups in brief:
A coalition of 59 civic groups including the National Catholic Alliance for Justice and the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan staged demonstrations, on April 4th, in front of the Japanese Embassy in central Seoul calling for the Japanese Education Ministry to retract its decision on the textbooks. The authorization of the textbooks constitutes a criminal act because Japan is trying to whitewash its past brutalities despite the fact that some of its victims are still alive. The textbooks written by right-wing scholars failed to mention South Korean and other Asian 'comfort women,' who were forced to serve as sex slaves to Japanese soldiers during World War II."

Also the labor unions belonging to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) blasted Japan's action over the textbook issue.
School teachers as well vented their anger over the issue. The Korean Federation of Teacher's Associations (KFTA) designated the week starting from April 13, the founding day of the provisional Korean government in exile in Shanghai, as a special week for publicizing Japan's bid to distort history.
The KFTA said that primary, middle and high schools would hold special classes on the issue during the week.
Several hundred students from Pulkwang Elementary School hold a rally and asked Japanese government to correct distorted colonial-era history.


◎Errors Regarding the Catholic Church in Textbooks Must Be Corrected

Korean Catholic scholars and educators are to lead correction of errors related to Catholic Church in middle and high school's textbooks.
The Conference of the Catholic Educational Funds (CCEF, Pres.: Archbishop Paul Ri) remarked that in the current middle and high school's textbooks there are parts containing number of errors concerning the Catholic Church and Catholicism, especially in area of the world history, national history and science etc.
The CCEF plans to find out various ways to contribute for revision of textbooks or complementing in close collaboration with Committee on Education of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea and other Catholic agencies concerned such as the terms and correction of certain contents regarding the Catholic Church.
"Errors in textbooks are not today's problem. However, when we consider the importance of the textbook, corrections should be made sooner possible.
Rev. Peter Chung, Secretary Executive of the Committee on Education, remarked that "10 years ago, the Committee on Education and other Catholic educational institutes and related people made analysis of the contents of textbooks and indicated errors. We are ready to help and cooperate with this matter if the educators concerned propose the revision of textbooks."
"In this regard, we have intention to consider proposals and indications of Catholic Church, and reflect them in the revision of textbooks. However, revision of textbooks is not simple question because it requires a great deal of studies, consultations and reflections." an official of the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development said.
"Problematic parts from the Catholic point of view are contained mostly in the world history, social and bioethics areas. To give just one example, 'papal indulgence' in the middle age is presented with incorrect term and insufficient explanation of its background. This gives students a negative and prejudicial concept about Catholic Church. Also Catholic teachings must be referred to the questions of contraception, family planning, population regulation, abortion, euthanasia and moral education." said a Catholic educator.
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