CBCK News


Communications on Sept. 28, 2001

2009.08.24 11:51


* Korean Catholics Exalt Their Martyrs

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Sinyu persecution in 1801 the Seoul Archdiocese had great celebration to exalt Korean martyrs at Dongdaemun Gymnasium on Sep. 16. 2001.
Some 60,000 Catholics including clergy, religious and lay people participated in the event in an ardent desire to be reborn in true faith and love in the footsteps of their faith ancestors.
The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong, Archbishop of Seoul who presided at the Mass, invited the participants to realize the spirit of martyrs in everyday lives and to lead other nations in moral and humanism by being “the Light and Salt” of the World( Mt. 5,13-16).
The participants prayed for the beatification and canonization of the martyrs who witnessed their faith in God during the Sinyu persecution as well as those who died martyr during other persecutions.
Meantime, the Diocese of Cheonju celebrated the first festival of John and Lutgardis (Korean virgin couple martyrs), at the Martyrs' Mountain located in Jeonju and Chonami Martyrs' Shrine from Sep. 10 to 16.
The Most Rev. Vincent Lee, Bishop of Cheonju, said in his homily that "if our martyrs could have witnessed their faith by giving their lives, it was because they had a firm conviction for a new world and a dream to realize it in God." and invited the participants to do their best to build up the new Kingdom of God in this world by liberating oneself from old value outlooks and dark world."
The first persecution to Korean Catholics began in 1785. It was followed by the persecutions in 1791, 1801, 1839, 1846 and 1866.
During the Sinyu persecution about 300 faithful were executed or exiled for their faith in God. With the signing of the Treaty of Commerce and Amity between Korea and France, the French missionaries could make trips freely around the country with a visa.
However, it was only in 1895 that the Church was officially authorized. Emperor Gojong expressed his regret over the persecutions to Bishop Mutel, then the Vicar Apostolic of Korea and officially recognized religious freedom. In 1899, the Korean government and Bishop Mutel concluded the Treaty of the Church and State and with this Treaty religious freedom became legal in Korea. The 79 martyrs were beatified in July 5, 1925 in Rome by Pope Pius XI and 24 martyrs in 1968 by Pope Paul VI. These 103 martyrs were canonized together on May 6, 1984 at Yoido, Seoul, by Pope John Paul II.

* Korean Catholics Urge the U.S.A. for Peaceful Settlement

Committees for Justice and Peace of each diocese issued a joint statement titled "We call for peaceful settlement through peaceful means" on Sep. 19, to express concerns about the U.S.A. move to retaliate the terrorist attacks by means of war.
"Pulling out the root cause of conflicts and confrontations is the only way to reach genuine peace," the statement stressed and went on "the U.S.A. should concentrate its effort on realizing compromise and co-existence instead of doing war."
"Even though the purpose to attack Afganistan is to punish the terrorists, the war can not be justified under any reason, for it would cause a vicious circle of violence and sacrifices of many innocent people," it said.
All diocesan Committees for Justice and Peace, other associations signed the statement.
In addition, they strongly urged the Korean government not to dispatch troops for the revengeful war of the U.S.A. because "it is against the world peace and the future national interests."
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