CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter

 

 

 

 

From the Editor:

Dear Friends,

  As we come close to the end of 1995, we wish you a Meny Christmas and Happy New Year full of hope and abundant blessings of God. As we mentioned in the last issue of the CBCK Newsletter (No.l2) the year of 1995 was a significant and eventful year for us the Korean people. It
was the 50th anniversary of our Liberation from Japanese colonial rule; the 50th year of division of the nation; the 45th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, a fratricidal tragedy. To make this year more meaningful, the Church in Korea, in solidarity with all Korean people, has held various memorial events and endeavored to find out a way for the future of our nation and the Church as well.
  On August 15, the National Liberation Day, various significant events were held across the country. The Korean government decided to tear down the Japanese colonial government headquarters built during colonial era and which remained a symbol of Japanese colonialism for the Korean people. By doing so and by rekindling the 5000 years of the history of Korea we rejected Japan's colonial imperialism completely. As far Korea-Japan relations are concerned, "The Pan National Movement to Settle the Problems of Korea and Japan's Past" is working in order to establish a fair and friendly relationship based on equal footing between the two countries. On the Religious level, various efforts toward a peaceful reunification were undertaken in a spirit of reconciliation and by overcoming wisely the bloody fratricidal tragedy of the Korean War. The Inter-Religion Association of South and North Exchanges formed by Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Won Buddhist, Confucianist and Ch' ondogyo, is a concrete example of these efforts. Many inter-religious initiatives and significant common efforts were already carried out. That is truly a blessing of God. The will and determination of the government to enact a Special Law for May 18(cf. page 4) is a victory for the long struggle of the people for democracy. It can also be seen as a result of the prayers and fasting of many priests and Catholics whose aim was to straighten out our modem history by unfolding the truth of the Kwangju massacre in May 1980 which was provoked by the Dec. 12 mutiny and the May 17, 1980 military takeover. These changes can be seen as a good opportunity for the Catholic Church in Korea to commit herself fully to building up the Kingdom of God.
  The Bishops' Conference of Korea formed The Episcopal Special Commission for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 at its 1995 Autumn General Assembly held from Oct. 9-12, in accordance with the intention of the Holy Father expressed in his Apostolic letter 'Tertio Millennio Adveniente" . The Commission started it's work by electing Most Rev. Joseph Kyeong as president and Most Rev. Andrew Choi as spokesman of the Commission on Nov. 27. The new Commission can be seen as a new opportunity for the Catholic Church in Korea for further growth in harmony and communion with the universal Church. Thank you.

Msgr. DiQnysius Paik Nam-ik
Secretary General Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea

 

 

 

 

The 1995 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK

 

  From Oct. 9 to 12, the CBCK held its 1995 Autumn General Assembly at the CBCK Conference Hall in Seoul. At the Assembly the Bishops decided to celebrate a Day for the Sanctification of Priests on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as it was proposed by the Congregation for the Clergy in order to invigorate and renew the zeal of the priests for their ministry, and lead them to holiness of life for more effective evangelization. Among the important decisions made during this Assembly was the establishment of the Episcopal Special Commission for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 which is aimed at examining and studying the roles and tasks of the Catholic Church in Korea at the end of this millennium and the start of the next. The five membel's of the Commission are Most Rev. Joseph Kyeong, Most Rev. Andrew Choi, Most Rev. Ignatius Pak, Most Rev. Vincent Ri and and Most Rev. John Chang. The establishment of Farmers' Sunday was also one of the outcomes of this Assembly. The Assembly agreed to celebrate the 3rd Sunday of July as Farmers' Sunday. The goal of this decision is to revive the Korean farm communities and protect them from the risk of destruction under the pressure of the growing urban industrialization as well as to humanize our society by a revival of the spiritual culture and values that are opposed to materialism.

  Besides these decisions the Assembly agreed to re-edit the Lectionary at the request of the Liturgical Committee and revise the Children's Missal and Catholic Prayer Book. It approved also the Statues of the Catholic Computerization  Agency of Korea.
  Sister Lee Young-ja, ASC, from the Women's Desk of the Association of Major Superiors of Women Religious in Korea and Ms. Susanna Youn, president of the Catholic Women's Community for a New World, presented to the Bishops a report of their participation in the NGO's Forum of the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and a summary report on the meeting 'Ministry for Women" held in Seoul.
  The date of the Visit ad Lirnina Apostolorum of the CBCK is March 20-30, 1996.

 

 


Korean Bishop's 1996 Pastoral Letter


  Bishops ofall the fourteen dioceses and the Military Ordinariate in Korea issued their Pastoral Letters on the first Sunday ofAdvent, Dec. 3 and mapped out their pastoral orientation for 1996. The general focus was on new evengelization through a renewal ofthe family and youth, moral restoration, small Christian community and a laity-cenJered Church. The following are some excerptsfrom their letters.


  Stephen Cardinal Kim Souhwan, Archbishop of Seoul, declared the year 2000 as a time of new Evangelization with it's focus on youth. "1996 has to be a year of special efforts for the evangelization of the youth who are leading agents for the year 2000. The Church is not properly equipped to embrace juveniles and youths who are practically left alone. Youth ministry is the central task of the parish. If we lose the youth we lose our future," the pastoralletter read.
  Most Rev. Paul Ri, Archbishop of Taegu, placed his pastoral emphasis on "Family Church". "Family is the true sanctuary of life and her unique role is to foster life. The family, as "Family Church", should proclaim the gospel of life, celebrate it and serve it." He invited his faithful to implement three directives; to celebrate the gospel of life in family prayer; to educate their children for marriage according to the Church teaching; to promote community of life through the small Christian community movement.
  Most Rev.. Nicholas Cheong, Bishop of Ch' ongju, set the focus of his pastoral on laity-centeredness rather than the conventional clergy-centered one which has been the practice so far. "If we use only the existing pastoral methods the Church won't be able to respond to the need of the new evangelization demanded by society. For new evangelization we need a new vision, new fervor, new methods and a new expression," he underlined. The clergy of the diocese agreed to develop pastoral activities that offer the laity greater opportunities for 'evangelization works.
  Most Rev. Vincent Ri, Bishop of Chonju, stressed the Great Jubilee
Year 2000 by inviting his faithful to be fully prepared for the grace of God by a deeper understanding of it's meaning. He invited his faithful to read the Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II 'Tertio Millennio Adveniente". The diocese set a 3-year program of study and meditation of the Bible centered on the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit from 1997 to 2000.
  Most Rev. Joseph Kyeong, Bishop of Taejon, focused on the development of the mission of the Church and vocations and presented four pastoral programs; to continue the movement to double the number of believers, to renew efforts to promote vocations, to develop a positive youth ministry and to activate social welfare. He said that the evangelization of the Church herself is th~ question of the hour.
  Most Rev. Ingatius Pak, Bishop of Andong, announced a Year of Church Community in faith to prepare for the Great Jubilee Year 2000. He invited his diocese to form a lively community of faith in which we share life of Christ. In waiting for the Year 2000 we have to live the spirit of the Great Jubilee which is a year of pardon and reconciliation, a year of conversion and unity.
  Most Rev. Gabriel Ri, Bishop of Pusan, put his pastoral focus on evangelization and revitalization of the mystical body of Christ by renewal of herself. "When the Church is not accepted by society and each generation the life giving power of the Church is lost. The Church should show her attitude to overcome difficulties in life by a deeper understanding and compassion about the struggle and conflicts people undergo. Church buildings should be more open for public service," he said.

 

 

 

"For the Reconciliation and Unity of Our People"


  A message issued by the Justice and Peace Committee of the CBCK on the occasion of the 14th Human Rights
Sunday, Dec. 13, 1995

  ''Father, may they be one." (In 17,21)
  1995, the 50th year of the National Independence of Korea, is coming to an end. This 50th anniversary of our liberation from the Japanese colonial rule that we celebrate at the turning point of the year 2000 with hope, is at the same time the 50th year of division of our country. Scarcely had we tasted the joy of liberation of our people when we had to face the tragedy of the division of our nation. Since then, the wall separating South and North Korea has been built up higher and higher. The Korean War which started on June 25, 1950, can be called a fratricidal war. Confrontation with hatred and mistrust between the two sides still remains although the world has changed so much since the coUapse of the Cold War era. Ideological confrontation has eased gradually and nations are getting closer and closer. But unfortunately, only the Korean people have not solved the Cold War legacy and stay in a state of tension.
  On this significant occasion of the 50th year of National Independence and division, the Catholic Church in Korea wants to reaffirm her commitment to the national cause. She is resolute in making the necessary efforts to advance the genuine reconciliation and unity of our people. Therefore we appeal to aU people of good will to join our efforts.
  Human dignity and promotion of human rights are at the heart of the mission of the Catholic Church because human beings are created in the image of God(cf. Gn. 1, 27). In the light of the teachings of the Gospel the Bishops' Conference of Korea proclaimed in 1982 the second Sunday of Advent as Human Rights Sunday. Since then, every year, the Korean Catholics have reaffirmed irrevocable human rights and dignity by celebrating nationally this Human Rights Sunday.
  The Church has made constant efforts to promote the realization of the justice of God in our society. The justice of God the Church strives for constantly is that the dignity and fundamental rights of all human beings created in the likeness of God have to be equally recognized and respected. This means that human persons are the subjects of history and not objects of a system.
  In our country, compared to the past, the human rights situation has improved in many aspects thanks to the continual growth of democracy. However, we cannot deny the reality of our society, where all sorts of disguised injustices thrive; where human rights violations and illtreatment of foreign workers caused by misuse of state power and employers are rife. In the political arena, the investigation of the truth of the mutiny of December 12, 1979 and the military suppression of Kwangju People's Movement for democracy of May 18, 1980 is not yet complete. In general we can say that many of our social problems are getting deeper and more complicated. The recent disclosures of bribery scandals, of illegal amassment of huge amounts of money and the corruption of ex-president Roh Tae-woo have upset whole nation. The frustration and wrath of the people are increasing day by day. The Church is concerned about the impact and repercussion of the slush fund scandal on the political world. It could cause infighting among politicians as weU as increase the distrust of the people vis-a-vis the incumbent government. We are afraid of a return to nihilism and cynicism.
  The political community exists for the common good of people in which the community fmds it's fuU justification and meaning, and from which it derives its pristine and proper right. This is to say that the authority must dispose the energies of all the citizens toward the common good, not mechanically or despotically but primarily as a moral force which depends on freedom and the conscientious discharge of the burdens of any office which has been undertaken (cf. Gaudium et Spes No. 74).
  But what about the situation in our country? From the National Independence day up to the present, most of the politicians and ruling parties were eager to make profit for themselves and further their own interests through power and cheating. For this end they even used the situation of the division of the country. That resulted in the destruction of humanity and moral breakdown. AJso it has caused all types of corruption and illegal accumulation of wealth by those in power.Under such aberrant circumstances our society has suffered enormous human rights abuse and confusion. Basically this vicious circle comes from the corruption of political power and the unjust application of the laws. In such a society, there is no room for order and stability but rather for confusion, destruction of the moral system, hatred and frustration.
  We should not, however, lose hope of finding a solution to these problems. We, Christians, who seek the Kingdom of God, should be the first to toil for justice and reconciliation, and sow the seeds of peace in our society and cultivate them. If the Church, the Sacrament of reconciliation and unity, is not capable of making peace she will miss her proper mission and role. It is our conviction that we can advance true reconciliation and the unity of South and North Korea only by healing the illnesses of our society one by one. Genuine reconciliation and unity is possible only through mutual respect and trust. That demands a high moral standard of those in power, of society and of individuals. Therefore we appeal to those in government to commit themselves sincerely to the construction of an honest society based on truth, by a return to high moral standards and by abandoning Lies and hypocrisy.

  Dear Brothers and Sisters,
  We have to pray to God and offer him sacrifice to implore his mercy, especially for our brothers and sisters in North Korea so that they too may enjoy peace, respect for human dignity and freedom of religion which is one of the fundamental human rights.
  Both the state and the people are called to contribute to the realization of the common good by observing laws, by respecting all human rights and life, and by protecting the environment. We call on the government to make an honest self-reflection on it's violation of human rights by it's abuse of authority, in particular, we urge them to make greater efforts in order to become a truthful government. They can do this by clearing all doubts relating to political corruption and abuse.
  The government should try to console the victims by the military coup of December 12 in 1979 and the victims of the bloody massacre of the Kwangju People's Movement for Democracy in May, 1980. After a thorough investigation their families should also be fairly compensated.
  The Human Rights' Sunday is the second Sunday of Advent, a special time to prepare a way for the Lord by fasting and repentance, according to the liturgical calendar of the Church. Let us Listen to the Gospel: "Tum away from your sins. Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins" (Mt 3,2.8). Let us keep in our hearts and minds that working for the reconciliation and unity of the country, for us Christians is what it means to be salt and light in the world.
  "Make straight the way of the Lord" (Mt. 3,3).


December 10, 1995
Human Rights Sunday
Most Rev. Joseph Kyeong
President Justice & Peace Committee ofCBCK

 


  Opinion:


  For the Korean people, the ongoing campaign to straighten out the nation's modem history, maimed and distOlted by successive military takeovers 16 years ago, is a significant phase of democratization of the country. On Nov. 24, President Kim Young-sam ordered to enact a special law to unearth the truth about the bloody suppression of the civil uprising in Kwangju in 1980 and to bring those responsible for the incident before justice. He also ordered the law be passed at the current National Assembly sitting so that the 'masterminds of the coup (on May 17, 1980) are properly dealt with according to the law." However it is a tragic thing for the nation to witness two former presidents put into jail; Chun Doohwan and Roh Tae-woo are both now in prison and facing indictment; Chun on mutiny and bribery charges and Roh alike for taking huge amounts of bribes (as much as 500 billion won or US$650 million) while in office in addition to his role in the 1979-80 military takeover. The Catholic Church in Korea has played a leading role in the democratization process of the nation in the past 32 years under military dictatorship. Following are excerpts from recent speeches of Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan on the current issues, reflecting the position of the Catholic Church in Korea.

 

"No Statutory Limitations Should be Applied to Crimes Against Humanity"


  Cardinal Kim backed indefinite statutory limitations for anti-human crimes and expressed his support for punishment of those responsible for the Kwangju massacre in 1980, in accordance with the law irrespective of statutory limitations.
  In his Advent lecture at Chochiwon Catholic Church on Dec. 6, entitled "How Should We Live?" he remarked that "It is a common practice in the world that no statutory limitations be applied to crimes against humanity. Accordingly, people involved in the massacre of Jews during Nazi times, directly or indirectly, are punished even today." "Since a human being is a dignified being created in God's imag, there can be no statute of limitation for inhuman crimes," he pointed out. "A perception that money  and power are absolute has resulted in today's scandals of corruption and irregularities and manslaughter. Because of money and power, former presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, are now suffering," he said.

  Before coming to Chochiwon, Cardinal Kim exchanged views with president Kim Young-sam at Chong Wa Dae on current political issues, unifIcation and national security. The President met with religious and civic leaders for dialogue and support for his move to clean up the evil legacies of past military regimes.

 


"Why is the Church Engaged in Politics ?"

 

  Why is the Church engaged in politics? What is the ecclesiastical foundation of the activities of the Church for human rights, realization of justice and democratization?
  In a special lecture entitled "Why is the Church Engaged in Politics?" held at Seoul National University, Nov. 23, hosted by the "Research Institute of Religious Questions" of the University, Cardinal Kim spoke, for the fIrst time, about the Church's position and it's engagement in politics in 70-80s, while under the military dictatorship of Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan. Addressing the question he said "the fundamental reason of the Church's social participation was essentially for the sake of human beings. According to the Gospel the most precious things in Christ's eyes are human beings. All human beings are united to Christ without exception, according to Pope John Paul n. Therefore human beings are the road of Christ. This is the reason why the Church engages in socio-political activities in Korea and one of the main reasons is found in the Second Vatican Council documents of which the 'fundamental spirit can be defmed as follows; "Even though the Church has divine origin she is in the world, for the world and for the salvation of all humanity. Thus the Church has to be open to the world," he underlined.
  Regarding the issue of the scandal of the slush fund of ex-president Roh Tae-woo, he stressed a "thorough investigation according to justice and law" and said that "the accumulation of the slush fund is an indication of the social plague of worshipping money and power." He also said that there was nothing more painful and miserable in his priestly life than the May 18 military crackdown on the fIghters for democracy in Kwangju in 1980. He said that as he explained already the Church's socio-political engagement in Korea during the military dictatorships of the 70s-80s was 'JustifIable" due to the calls of the time. "Both Catholic and Protestant Churches continued their campaign for human rights and social justice while making efforts on behalf of workers, farmers and the urban poor under the military regime that took over after the Kwangju suppression," he said. The people's movement for democratization that was carried out under the Church's leadership and the Priests Association for Justice revealed that a student, Park Chong-chol, had been tortured to death in 1987. Then the Catholic Church came to take a leading role, in the restoration of human rights and social justice, as well as the democratization of the nation through a series of engagements from the 70s to 80s. In such circumstances Myongdong Cathedral has become the home base of the democratization movement," he said. To the question "Do you think that the Church is doing what she should do in order to be salt and light in the world?" -- he answered "Not enough" .

 

 

 

Korean Women Religious Stand Up for "Comfort Women"


  On Dec. 4 over 1,800 Korean religious women from across the country held an all-night prayer meeting and a march in silence seeking for justice for the "comfort women" or victims of military sexual slavery by Japan. The prayer meeting and march was under the auspices of the Association of Major Superiors of Women Religious in Korea (Pres. Sr. Kim Ae-ra) and was planned at its 28th general meeting, Nov. 2. Their resolutions read; "Women have been forced to accept inequality from birth and have not been given equal opporturutles for education and self-realization. (... ) We. women religious, are deeply regretful for being indifferent about terrible conditions that Korean women suffer from, so contrary to God's plan. ( ... ) We want to commit ourselves to recovering original image of woman created by God, thus, promoting dignity of women and man and to building a society of justice and peace. (... ) We will try to do all we can to bring about the realization of the requests of the 'Comfort Women' who are victims of war crime by Japanese military during WW II." At 2:00 p.m. they marched in silence and prayer to the Japanese Embassy in Seoul from Myongdong Cathedral and handed in a "Letter to the Prime Minister of Japan" . At 5:00 p.m. Cardinal Kim celebrated Mass for the recovery of the human dignity of the "comfort women" . The placards read: Japan! Pay reparations to comfort women; No compensation from civilian contribution but government' s funds; Japan! Stop military rearmament; Japan should settle past war crimes; Punish war criminals'; We oppose Japans taking a seat at the UN Security Council; Japan should observe UN Recommendations'" and so on.
  After Mass, at prayer time, women representatives from the Protestant Church, Won Buddhist, Buddhist and Catholic Women's Cmmunity for a New World joined their voices in prayer. As an inter-religious event it turned out to be very meaningful.
  Prior to this visible action of the Sisters the Association of 68 women congregations with over 6,400 Sisters had prepared it step by step. In 1993, the Association introduced "The Women's Desk" and studied feminist theology and social science by means of lectures and seminars. Four delegates attended the NGO's Forum of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing last September. In the homily Cardinal Kim added his strong voice in support of the Sisters' action: "'The Mass is for Japan's conversion and repentance for it's antihuman and immoral crimes committed during World War II. There is no statutory limitation for crimes against human beings. The government of Japan should take responsibility for unveiling the truth of "comfort women" , for compensation, for reparation. Japan should educate it's people to ensure that this kind of crime never happens again. This is the only way that Japan can wipe away the dishonor of being a criminal nation in the international community and show that it wants to make amends and accept moral and legal responsibility for it's war crimes. This will be the onlyfoundation upon which peace can be built between Korea and Japan."

 

 

 

 

  Dear Prime Minister Murayama,

 

  We, women religious of Korea, greet you with respect and warmth. We are writing to you to let you know our stance on behalf of the Korean "comfort women" who are the victims of Japanese military sexual violence during World War II. We have heard these women's stories and cried with them feeling deeply their long standing pain and suffering for the last 50 years. Their dignity as human persons has been crushed very badly by Japan. They have been living in the dark as if they committed crimes while the veterans of your imperial army, who really committed crimes by organizing the "comfort women" , have been receiving honor and prestige. We feel compelJed to stand in solidarity with these women in strongly urging your government to fulfill their just request, which are also our requests.
  First, we strongly request you to acknowledge that the organized sexual crime on the part of Japanese military was a war crime, as it was defined at the 4th UN World Conference on Women in Bejing, and, to fulfill the UN Recommendations and make a formal apology in order to recover the damaged dignity of these women.
  Second, we request that the 'comfort women" should receive reparation from the Japanese government, not from the private fund.
  Third, we request that the textbooks of Japan include the tl1le facts about the "comfort women" .
  Since Japan is one of the advanced countries of the world we trust you will give sincere consideration to our requests and fulfill them. That way Japan will recover its honor. We also hope your country will contribute in promoting human rights and world peace by doing what is right.
  We will continue to try to do all we can, in solidarity and cooperation with other Asian countries, until you fulfill our requests. We will give information about "comfort wome" to other organizations of women, human rights, and religious congregations all over the world and seek their cooperation. We will also continue our Wednesday demonstrations in front of Japanese Embassy in Seoul. We expect that, with your sincere efforts, Japan will give a witness to truth
and justice in the world by fulfilling our requests as soon as possible.

  We enclose the following 17,157 signatures in support of this letter.


Sincerely yours,
Catholic Women Religious in Korea

 

 

• News from the Church in Korea _

• Broadening of Bible Education at Various Levels of Society Called


  On the occasion of the II th Bible
Sunday, Most Rev. Vincent Ri, the Pres. of
the Biblical Committee, issued a Message.
In the Message, he said that in order to
know God's will and his helping hand o  e
should read the Bible and at the same time
see it's relevance to the events of life. "If we are passionate in reading the Bible but close our eyes to reality then this would be merely a brain exercise. Conversely if we stay only with the reality of life, while our society is concerned only with economic growth and material values" he pointed out "the values of social justice and spiritual values will be lost.
  'One of the urgent tasks of the Church in Korea is the broadening of Bible education at various levels of society. Bible study has grown significantly in dioceses but 80 percent of those who attend are house wives and women. This means that there are still great efforts to be made to reach out to the working people and the youth. As regards Bible study, the Catholics are 100 years behind the Protestants," he said.

• North and South Korean Cathol ics from North, South and Overseas J0 in Hands fo Reconci Iiation

 

  From Oct. 27 to Nov. 2, Korean
Catholics from North and South Korea and those living overseas met together in New York for the frrst time in 50 years since the country was separated. They held a seminar on the topic of "National Reconciliation and Unity" and discussed what their role in advancing the reunification of their fatherland might be. During the seminar,the need to strengthen the solidarity of the Catholics from North and South and those living overseas was confmned. In conclusion, the participants agreed to meet often and make united efforts for a peaceful reunification of Korea. The participants from the South were Most Rev. Andrew Choi, Rev. Choi Chang-hwa, Prof. Cho Kwang, Lee Yoon-ja, Lee Byong-yol and from the North Cha Seung-keun, Chon Eung-yol, Kim Pae-hwa. The representatives from overseas were Rev. Park Chang-deuk, Rev. Om Pong-deuk, Lee Ch' ang-jae, Park Kiho and Lee Jae-jin.

• Chinese Bishops Visit Korea

 

  Eight clergymen and lay leaders of the Patriotic Church in China made a 9day visit to

Korea, from Sep. 21-29. The group was headed by Bishop Joseph Zong Huaide of Jinan and Zhoucun, head of the Bishops' Conference in China and was invited by Msgr. Thomas Kim of Hyosong Catholic University in Taegu. It was a significant opportunity to reconfinn the close ties existing between the two Churches and to promote dialogue and mutual collaboration. They recalled the spirit of Father Zhou Wenmo, a priest of Beijing diocese and the first missionary priest to arrive in Korea in 1795 and who was martyred during the Shinyu persecution in  180I. Also the first recorded Korean Catholic, Peter Yi Sung-hun, was baptized in Beijing in 1784 and Father Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean priest, was ordained in Shanghai in 1845, a year before he was martyred at age 25. At the reception party offered by the Lay Apostolate Council Bishop Zong remarked "If I feel at home here in Korea, that is because of the old fraternal blood ties between our two Churches" . To this Cardinal Kim responded that ''The first missionary to Korea was Father Zhou, a Chinese priest. In this sense the Church of Beijing is like our mother-Church". They visited several seminaries and Catholic-run schools, social services and media organizations.

• School for National ReconciIiation

 

  A "School for National Reconciliation" was opened by the National Reconciliation Committee of the Archdiocese of Seoul on October 4. It's aim is to prepare Korean Catholics for Korean unification, to  elp heal the sufferings and wounds caused by the national division and to foster a new vision. It offers a 6 month course focused on a fundamental and historical understanding of South-North relations including socio-political systems, the economies and the aftermath of a changing world order etc. "During the 50 years of division, the reunification issue has been used only for political purposes and as a means of maintaining power by government leaders and for ideological propaganda," said Bishop Andrew Choi, President of the Committee. 600 students from all sections of society attended.

• Interrel igious Cooperation for North Korean Aid Called

 

 Rev. Kim Mong-eun, Pres. of the Korea Conference of Religion for Peace (KCRP), appealed to Koreans of all religions to join a campaign to assist flood victims in North Korea. Rev. Kinl addressed a press conference on Nov. 9, held jointly by representatives of Catholic, Protestant, Won Buddhist, Conficianist, Buddhist and Chondokyo communities. "Surely two families in South Korea with a population of 40 million can help one fanlliy in North Korea with a population of 20 million. To help the North Koreans in need, we should come together no matter what religion we belong to. This is a task of Korean religious people today. We have to share what we have for we are one people with the same ancestors," he said. According to the UN investigation of the floods of last SUI11l11er 45% of towns and cities, or 75% of the country was affected. It affected 5.2 million people, of whom 500,000 lost their homes.

• "To be Salt and Light of the World"

  On the 28th Laity Sunday, November 19, Sunday sermons across the country were given by lay people. On this occasion the Lay Apostolate Council of Korea issued sermon materials focused on the importance of moral restoration, youth and the family. "Let us bear witness to Christ and be salt and light to the world by living out gospel values ourselves," it stated. ''The Korean laity has to overcome social confusion and disorder tl1rough Gospel-centered lives. Man-made disasters, the corruption and bribery scandals of politicians are products of endless greed and a paralysed conscience. The family is the first place where the role and responsibility of lay people start. A healthy family community life is the foundation of good Christian life," it said. • Church Denounces Executions The Crin1inal Correction Committee of Seoul Archdiocese denounced the goverrunent for the executions of 19 deathrow inmates on Oct. 27 and staged a silent demonstration in front of Seoul prison to protest the executions. The rally, held jointly by the Association of Major Superiors of Religious Women in Korea, denounced capital punishment as unconstiUltional and inhumane. It also said the death penalty does not help in preventing crime. The 19 convicts, including the head and five members of the "Chijonpa" murder ring, were executed at detention centers across the country. Some of them were baptized while in prison.

• Seminarians Offer Hope to Incurable Blood Disease Patients

 

  Over 100 seminarians from Seoul Catholic University registered as donors of bone marrow for the victims of leukemia following a lecture by Prof. Kim Tong-jip on Oct. 21, about the "Marrow Donation Bank" and the Catholic Marrow Center in Korea. This is the second time that seminarians have made this generous gesture for those who suffer from leukemia. In May, 1994 seminarians of Suwon major seminary also decided to donate marrow. About 2,000 people a year' die in Korea from lack of marrow of healthy people. Since the marrow bank was founded in Korea in 1994 it has obtained over 2,500 donors. The bank's goal is to get 50,000 donors, enough for 85 percent of the patients who need healthy marrow to prolong their lives. On Dec. 12, Prof. Kim reported that the Catholic Marrow Center of the CMC made over 300 successful transplantations of marrow.

• Farmer's Sunday Welcomed with Enthusiasm


  The Bishops' decision at their last General Assembly to celebrate the third Sunday of July as Farmer's Sunday was welcomed with enthusiasm by Catholic farmers across the country. ''This is truly a good news for all Korean farmers and will give us courage, hope and trust. The Farmer's Sunday can signify a warning to the human devastation due to the industrialization. It will revitalize the Save-OurFarm Movement whose goal is not just the promotion of farmers but also the conservation of the created order, the solidmity and cooperation between farm communities and city people, producers and consumers," they said.


• Cathol ics Concerned about Brain Death Legislation

  Opposition form rehgious leaders and legal circles is forcing the South Korean government to proceed cautiously with proposed legislation regarding transplant of organs and the controversial issue of brain death. The Health and Welfare Ministry is seeking legislation on transplant of organs that would recognize brain death. It told the National Assembly that an agency to coordinate information relating to transplants will open next year. Organs of a person declared brain dead are currently removed with his or her family's consent though the practice is not yet covered by South Korean law. However, Catholic and other religious leaders and legal experts have objected to this practice, fearing it may give rise to "forced" or premaUirely determined deaths to acquire organs for transplant.

• Catholics, Unions, Civic Groups Demand New Migrant Worker Law

  Labor unions across the nation together with religious and civic groups have proposed legislation to protect foreign workers from being ill treated and exploited by Korean employers. A petition signed by 675 leading members from labor, religious and civic groups called for a new foreign workers' protection Jaw. Signers included 150 Catholic priests, 38 lawyers, 41 scholars, 66 union leaders, 142 Protestant pastors. A public hearing on enacting a new law was held Oct. 25 at the Korean Bar Association for Democracy in Seoul. Panelists claimed that working conditions for migrant workers did not improve even after the government pledged to reform its labor policy earlier this year. They called for a new labor pohcy in line with the nation's economic growth. It was said that the foreign "industrial trainees" were forced to work long hours for low wages. Of 27,981 foreign trainees who entered S. Korea since June 1995, 33.4 percent deserted their workplaces seeking better working condition and treatment. "Government should recognize foreign workers as part of the national workforce," they said.

 

 

News in Brief

 

 • Cardinal Kim dOling his visit to Moscow in Oct. at the invitation of Archbishop T.Kondrusiewich, the Apostolic Administrator of Moscow, administered Confumation to 23 Korean residents in Russia. It was agreed to open a Korean Catholic Center in Moscow.

 • Inter Religions Dialogue in Korea marked it's 30th anruversarywith a seminar on the theme of 'The Transition of Civilization and the New Vision of Religion," Oct. 18-20, at the Academy House in Seoul. The seminar which was attended by 40 religious leaders and scholars from home and abroad emphasized that the humanization of the world is the primary goal and task of religion.

 • About 300 priests and laity of Kwangju Archdiocese protested the nuclear plant leakage, Oct. 3, at Yongkwang nuclear power plant headquarters. After the celebration ofMass they staged a sit-in urging a probe into the radiation leakage, the suspension of the operation of reactors No. 3 and No.4 and the withdrawal of plans to build reactors No.5 and No.6.

 • Songsan Parish in Seoul has introduced "family altar service". Rev. Kim Jong-shil of the parish selects one family of four members to serve at the Sunday Mass. ''This experience brought our family closer and we are very happy," said Sabina and Jack, parents of two children.

 • An open community which wants to be an open Church was launched by a group of 20 priests and lay people in Ch' ongju diocese. The new community envisions the activation of the lay movement in the Church in solidarity with other lay groups emphasizing Gospel-centered life.

 • Nursing School of the Catholic University of Seoul was designated a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Hospice and Palliative Cm'e in Oct. Those who complete a 80-hour course at the Center will be accredited as WHO specialists for nursing patients who are terminally ill.

 

 

 

 

A Brief History of Catholicism in Korea [12]


by Cho, Kwang, Ph.D.
Prof. of Korea University
Department of Korean History

The Liberation of Korea and the Church (2)

3. Characteristics of the History of the Church
  After the colonial era, in the period of stabilization of the division on the Korean peninsula, the Church suffered from the division of the state. The Apostolic Vicariates of Pyongyang and Haniliung and Abbacy Nullius of Dokwon in North Korea were subsumed under the communist rule that was under the guardianship of the Soviet Union. Also Hwanghae province, which was part of the Apostolic Vicariate of Seoul, was subsumed into North Korean territory. In these areas of North Korea, religious activities were conducted actively since the liberation of nation. For instance in Pyongyang, Catholics attempted to build a cathedral and in certain places they committed themselves to political movements, and took part in anti-communist parties such as the Korea Democratic Party. However, such efforts of the North Korean Church encountered in1mediate opposition arId in the course of the foundation of ! the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1948 and preparaItion for the Korean War their religious activities were persecuted. In this way, until just before the outbreak of the Korean War most clergy in the North were arrested, churches closed and religious communities were ordered to be dissolved. At that time some Catholics emigrated to the South seeking for freedom of religion.
  On the other hand, the diocese in Yenki, Manchuria, was formed mostly by Korean residents in that area. At the end of World War II, when China recovered its national sovereignty in 1946 with regard to Manchuria, the Apostolic See in Rome separated Yenki diocese from the Korean Church and integrated it into the Chinese Church. With this there occurred some changes in the Church in Korea. By the end of Japanese colonial rule Japanese clergy were appointed as Vicariate Forane of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taegu and Kwangju. However they were replaced by Korean clergy in1mediately after the independence of the state.
  In 1910, the year of the beginning of Japanese colonial rule, the Church-run Kyonghyang Shinmun was told to discontinue and by the end of the colonial era all regular publications in the Church followed the same fate. ln1mediately after independence the Church in the South was able to reissue the Kyonghyang Shinmun and it has taken root in Korean society as one of the most influential daily neWSpdpers. The Church used it as d vehicle to express it's views and propose opinions concerning the direction of Korean society. Along with Kyonghyang Shinmun the Church in the South reissued all other regular publications that were discontinued under colonial rule and actively developed Church-run publications which were impossible during the Japanese occupation. ln1mediately after the independence of the nation, the Church in the South undertook active missionary works. The Church also participated actively in the push for education in the country, by founding I schools and educational associations. Besides these the Church 1 founded hospitals, clinics, orphanages and nursing homes across the nation. Based on the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, the Church initiated various mist sionary works and gave in1petus to Catholic action by founding the "Korean Catholic League" in 1949. Efforts for devotional movements, including devotions to the Korean martyrs continued to flourish.

  The Apostolic See in Rome showed much interest in the Church in Korea since national independence and sent an ApostolicDelegate to Korea in 1947 which was even before the establishment of the South Korean government. In 1948, the Holy See was the first state to recognize the South Korean government when it was formed. At the san1e time, the "Korean Catholic Council" was organized to carry out missionary works more effectively. The Council was a national organization of bishops with the objective of organizing and coordinating on a national level Church activities such as education and social service works.

4. Conclusion
  The Catholic Church in Korea did not make direct contributions to national independence. The Church at the time tolerated the Japanese policy of aggression or cooperated with the Japanese imperialists even though it was against her will. If the Church wanted to renew itself for the evangelization of the Korean people after national independence she should have made a humble selfexamination of herself concerning the errors of the past. However the Catholic Church in Korea did not do that.
  On the other hand the Catholic Church in Korea had to undergo many obstacles in carrying out her mission because of the division of the country. Despite the fact that the Church in the South could develop her missionary works under the protection of the U.S. Army, she encountered a great deal of difficulties caused by the social situation and the confrontation between right and left wings. In such a complex situation the Church in the South, however, continued to make efforts to do effective missionary work. The number of believers gradually increased and Church-run educational and social works continued to develop. Through influential publications the Church could expressed her views concerning the foundation of the new nation. In this way the Church tried to reach out to people and increase her influence in Korean society.

  lnunedidtcly after ndtionttl independence the Church in South Korea carried out many successful efforts at evangelization by trying to make the most of the national liberation but the Church in the North experienced great difficulties. Spiritual assistance from the Apostolic See and the Catholics of foreign Churches made a good contribution to the progress of the Catholic Churchin South Korea. However, as far as the national division is concerned, the Church at the time did not engage in effective resistance against it.
  As can be seen from all the above reflections, national independence and liberation of the Koreans from Japanese colonial rule was a very in1portant event in the development of the history of Catholicism in Korea.

List of Articles
No. Subject Date

CBCK Newsletter No.17 (Winter 1996)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.16 (Fall 1996)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.15 (Summer 1996)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.14 (Spring 1996)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.13 (Winter 1995)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.12 (Fall 1995)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.11 (Summer 1995)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.10 (Spring 1995)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.9 (Winter 1994)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.8 (Fall 1994)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.7 (Summer 1994)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.6 (Spring 1994)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.5 (Winter 1993)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.4 (Fall 1993)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.3 (Summer 1993)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter



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