- image click! - E-BOOK -
_ 2012 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
_ Message for the 17th Farmers' Sunday
_ Message for the Month of Mission 2012
_ Message for the 45th Military Mission Sunday
_ News from the Church in Korea
_ The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Editor:
A Question to the Candidates for the Presidential Election
Among the many questions posed to the candidates before the 18th presidential election on December 19, 2012, one which must be taken into sincere deliberation to find a proper answer is critical: "Should we give priority to the reconciliation of the two Koreas or should we solve first and foremost the problem of conflict and/or social polarization within South Korea?"
From the beginning, the present government with President Lee Myeong-bak came up with an inter-Korean policy which is almost impossible for North Korea to accept. The South Korean government said it would cooperate with North Korea, so that the North, having given up nuclear arms, could reach the mark of 3,000 USD on GNP per capita within ten years after opening its border to the outer world. Besides, the present government denounced the so-called "Sunshine Policy" of the two late presidents, Mr. Kim Dae-jung and Mr. Roh Mu-hyeon, arguing that those 10 years of their successive presidencies were lost and in vain. Consequently, the relationship between North and South Korea grew worse, as both Koreas entered into a phase of mutual defamation, disagreement, and even military conflict.
Those who argue for tougher measures against North Korea say that the Sunshine Policy contributed to increasing resources for the dictatorship and nuclear arms in North Korea and made the South dance in humiliation to the piping of the North. On the other hand, those affirming the Sunshine Policy assert that the government escalated the tension between the two Koreas with hard-line policies that resulted in the collapse of inter-Korean economic cooperation. It is said that North Korea yielded the mining rights on abundant minerals in its territory to the People's Republic of China (PRC), as North Korea inclined toward de facto economic and political subordination to the PRC in its struggle for bare survival under international pressures.
What the North Korean regime fears most is the North Korean people, not the military might of South Korea or of the USA. In fact, the North Korean regime as well as the conservative camp of South Korea might want to shun by all means the allegedly "dangerous" dĕnte between the two Koreas which started with the Sunshine Policy.
The North Korean regime might want to create more tension between the two Koreas with provocative means, if and when South Korea tries to spread the warmth of the Sunshine Policy to the North Korean people. At the same time, the conservative camp of South Korea would ask the government for more hard-line policies for the inter-Korean relationship on the pretext that such measures are appropriate for North Korea.
It is not humiliation but tolerance that leads a strong and wealthy party to be generous enough to accommodate the mistakes of its counterpart. To accommodate North Korea with the spirit of infinite forgiveness and love for mutual benefits may well be the cross which our nation should bear. In this regard, I would like to ask the presidential candidates about their concrete policies or visions for the reconciliation of the two Koreas as the first step towards the unification of Korea.
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
2012 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) held its 2012 Autumn General Assembly at the Conference Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) from October 15 to 18, 2012 and covered the following matters:
1. The bishops unanimously approved the draft of the Korean version of the "Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb."
2. The bishops approved the draft of the common prayer text for the promotion of the beatification and canonization of both the Servants of God "Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 companions" and the Servant of God "Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop".
3. The bishops examined and approved the draft "Pastoral Guidelines on Recognition of Baptism Administered in Non-Catholic Churches."
4. The bishops approved the issuance of the advice for the "Installation of Facilities for the Disabled, the Elderly, and the Pregnant" in the name of the president of the Caritas Committee of the CBCK (President: Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe).
5. The bishops listened to a report that in answer to the request by the Central Secretariat of the FABC for the opinions of the CBCK about the revised working paper for the 10th FABC Plenary Assembly (November 19-25, 2012, Xuan Loc and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), the General Secretariate of the CBCK will submit to the FABC the opinion of the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il.
6. The bishops approved the Korean version of the liturgical texts for the Mass Pro Nova Evangelizatione, celebrated during this Year of Faith (approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on June 17, 2012).
7. The bishops listened to a report on the draft "Guidelines to be Used in Dioceses for Dealing with Cases of Sexual Abuse of Minors Perpetrated by Clerics."
8. The bishops listened to a report on the plan to modify the 'Application Form for Catechetical Course' in the 'Forms of Documentation in Pastoral Ministry' in the Integrated Yangeop System.
9. The bishops listened to a report on the activities of the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon) to solve the problem of the 'Ssangyong Motors Affair.' The Committee delivered donations (KRW 86,059,115), collected on the level of the diocesan Justice and Peace Commission to help support the families of the workers and provide tuition for their children.
10. The bishops listened to a report that the Episcopal Commission for Clergy & Religious of the CBCK at its June 22 meeting decided that all dioceses will share information on the academic careers of the priests.
11. The bishops listened to a report on the meeting of the CBCK Special Episcopal Commission for Reconciliation of the Korean People held on August 29, 2012. At this meeting reports were made on the CI-DPRK Programme of Caritas Korea International and on the results of the meeting on March 28, 2012 in Beijing between the working group of the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of Korean People and the parties concerned from the North Korean Catholic Association.
12. Concerning the cause of the beatification of the Servants of God 'Bonifatius Sauer, Benedictus Kim Chi-ho and 36 Companions' carried out by the Order of St. Benedict, the Most Rev. John Chang Yik, in charge of the promotion with the competence granted by the Bishop of Chunchon, reported on its promotion and distributed to the bishops a brief history of the martyrs, DIE MRTYRER VON TOKWON: Glaubenszeugen in Korea 1949-1952.
Message for the 17th Famers' Sunday
My Father is a Farmer
Dear brothers and sisters,
God created all things as the ruler of agriculture which is said to be the foundation of the whole world, and blessed man mandating him to "subdue it" (Gn 1,28) to be the steward of the divine order of creation. We cultivate the earth to meet God the Father, to learn the divine order of creation, and to earn our daily bread.
In the beginning, God distributed natural goods equally to all humanity for the common good. Nevertheless, nowadays we witness that the distribution of goods is out of balance. The Second Vatican Council said, "God intended the earth with everything contained in it for the use of all human beings and peoples" (Gaudium et Spes, n. 69). However, the inequality in food and energy distribution among nations is getting worse, and at the same time the gap between urban and rural standards of living is getting wider within the country. In Korea, the rural population accounts for just 6% of the nation, and they earn just 65% of the average family income of their counterparts in urban areas.
The FTA between Korea and the USA, enacted in March, 2012, has caused grave concern in Korea, as it could aggravate the urban-rural disparity. In the case of Mexico, even though nominal export volume and foreign currency reserves have increased since the enactment of the NAFTA, the life of farmers and laborers has deteriorated and has eventually resulted in severe social polarization between the haves and the have-nots, and many farmers have left their hometowns. In February 2008, the bishops of Mexico proposed some measures in their statement on the NAFTA: improvement of the wrong system which causes death in this world; active commitment to the poor instead of passivity and superficiality in the life of faith; promotion of social welfare for farmers and laborers. The Korean government told us that the Korean companies would get free access to the market in the USA, the biggest one in the world, because of the FTA between Korea and the USA. However, we know that the FTA will further strangle the already broken farmers and rural communities, and it will also destroy the life of wage earners in urban areas.
The Church teaches that there is a "universal right to use the goods of the earth", which should be used by all men and women equally, so that they can achieve their "full development." This is "a natural right, inscribed in human nature" and "an inherent right." Therefore, it has "priority with regard to any human intervention concerning goods, to any legal system concerning the same, to any economic or social system or method" (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 172). We fear that the FTA aggravates the present social inequality, and it also infringes upon the dignity of the socially vulnerable people. Therefore, we think that the FTA should be revised for the protection of the rights of the needy in our society, and for the realization of the universal destination of the goods of the earth as well as for the practice of the common good.
Positively, our Church in Korea has carried out the "Save Our Rural Community Movement", a campaign to help farmers, people in agriculture, and rural communities who are practicing God's will in the most appropriate way. This campaign is an initiative for the promotion of life and partnership for both rural and urban communities to meet with each other sharing life, culture, food, and goods in the spirit of mutual service. With this campaign, parish communities in rural areas as well as those in urban areas should meet with each other as brothers and sisters to share in communion with pure spirit, having a meal together just like the first Christian community (cf. Acts 2,46). The rural and urban communities should build a faithful community of solidarity cherishing first and foremost the value of life, humanity, and the spirit of community, in the face of the ever stronger currents of materialism, consumerism, individualism, as well as contempt for life.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Let us make a preferential choice of the value of life in conformity with the will of our Father who is the farmer, here in the middle of the world where many people regard superficial comfort and materialistic consumption as the highest values. On the occasion of Farmers' Sunday, let us all commit ourselves to learning the modest and honest life of the farmers who regard life and labour as the most important value as they cultivate the earth in silence everyday. Let us pray for the fruitful results of our efforts for all farmers and rural communities in our land.
May the abundant blessing of God the Farmer be always with farmers, as well as with sisters and brothers in urban areas.
July 15, 2012
+ Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
Bishop of Suwon
CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for the Month of Mission 2012 (Summary)
The Year of Faith and New Evangelization
─ To Be a Faithful Believer ─
Dear brothers and sisters,
Now we are doing our best to practice the new evangelization, celebrating the "Year of Faith" which begins on October 11, 2012 and will conclude on November 24, 2013, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King. The Year of Faith is principally a summons to reinvigorate the desire for faith in our Catholic Church, so that as people of true faith we can play the role of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world with apostolic confidence, beginning from each individual and spreading to all the members of our ecclesiastical community.
In his opening address at the opening of the 19th Ordinary Plenary Assembly of the Latin American Episcopal Council (Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano, CELAM) at the Port-au-Prince Cathedral in Haiti on March 9, 1983, in anticipation of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the "New World," Blessed Pope John Paul II said, "The commemoration of this half millennium of evangelization will have full significance if, as bishops, with your priests and faithful, you accept it as your commitment; a commitment not of re-evangelization, but rather, of a new evangelization; new in its ardour, methods and expression" (L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, April 18, 1983, p. 9).
Recently, many ecclesiastical documents have put emphasis on the fact that Christian faith is "not just to accept some abstract truths, but to meet Jesus Christ." They also teach us that a universal and effective way to meet God is first and foremost to immerse ourselves deeply in the word of God, before we make any research on teachings or documents of the Church. Such research comes after walking into the divine word. "Before becoming one who hands on the word, the Bishop, together with his priests and indeed like every member of the faithful, and like the Church herself, must be a hearer of the word. He should dwell 'within' the word and allow himself to be protected and nourished by it, as if by a mother's womb" (Verbum Domini, n. 79).
As "the Word became flesh" (Jn 1,14) to come into this world, Jesus Christ said, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven" (Jn 6,56-58).
The liturgy, especially the Eucharist, is a sacrament where we can be nourished as we abide with the Lord and eat His body and drink His blood. Our Catholic Church has both the Word and the Eucharist which are joined together at the table of the Lord's supper. They are one of a kind in their nature, though they appear different in their form.
We can see the truth in Simon Peter's answer to Jesus who asked his disciples "Do you also want to leave?" St. Peter said affirmatively, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (cf. Jn 6,66-68). The living bread from heaven is the word of eternal life. If I wholeheartedly welcome, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the One who "sustains all things by his mighty word" (Heb 1,3), then St. Teresa of ?ila's appraisal on St. Paul is still appropriate today: "When he (St. Paul) opens his mouth, Jesus springs out!"
What are concrete measures for us to practice when we give our thoughts to the themes of the Year of Faith and new evangelization? The Church proposed among others the study on the documents of the Second Vatican Council as well as on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Some say that they cannot have a clear idea about specific activities to be carried out in the Year of Faith, as they have already for a long time done such study in their own ways. That is true. However, there is a duty that we have to do first and foremost, though the study on ecclesiastical teachings has its own merits. This is to discover or rediscover the living faith as each of us welcomes Jesus. To meet him we have to personally listen to the "first proclamation", the Gospel, and we should anxiously ask ourselves: "What are we to do?" as if we were cut to the heart (cf. Acts 2,37). Only after we have felt such an urgency, can we truly enjoy the merits of collected studies on ecclesiastical documents as well as on the catechism.
In this way, we can open ourselves to a new world burning with the Spirit's fire, and the "faith working through love" (Gal 5,6) can be manifested as a service for our neighbours. Only with such experiences can we start to observe Jesus' commands as a disciple who proclaims the Good News. "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28,18-20).
+ Vincent Ri Pyung-ho
Bishop of Jeonju
CBCK Committee for Evangelization
Message for the 45th Military Mission Sunday (Summary)
Towards Jesus Christ in Faith
Dear brothers and sisters,
In this year of faith the Military Ordinariate is promoting a moment for the faithful to nurture their faith, under the pastoral motto "Towards Jesus Christ in Faith." We are trying to give impetus to the evangelization of the military through promotion of a more active and vigorous life of faith than ever before, concentrating on prayer, searching for truth, and proclaming the Gospel.
Thanks to the concern and affection of many people, the number of newly baptized soldiers has reached about 28,000 a year. It is surely a gratifying moment to witness so many youth searching for God despite their difficult situation. However, to our great sorrow, those who continue their faithful life after discharge from their service are growing smaller in number.
The military chaplains, as if they are farmers, do their best to plant the seeds of faith in the hearts of the youth and nourish them. Nevertheless, it is quite difficult for the youth to nourish the seeds of faith planted in their heart because after they are discharged from service they have to live in a society imbued with secular and materialistic seductions.
We need continuous concern and encouragement for the youth to cultivate the seeds of faith planted in their heart, not just within the military but also in family and in the Church. I would like to ask your cooperation so that the youth, as the hope and future of the Church, can walk towards Jesus Christ in faith through a faithful life continued in their families and in the Church.
Efforts for Peace
Indeed, every one of us wants peace. In general, peace means a tranquil state where there is no war, conflict, or disagreement. However, as we look back at the history of humanity, we know very well that peace does not mean just a state without conflict. In our age when everything changes rapidly, we are all obliged to make more efforts for peace.
According to the words revealed in the Bible, peace means the fullness of life surpassing a state of no war, and a gift and blessing from God. We can be delighted with this peace when we keep the divine order of creation in a harmonious relationship among concerned parties.
Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Mt 5,9). When He sent His disciples to every town He said: "Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household'" (Lk 10,5). He also said "Peace be with you"(Lk 24,36) to His disciples when He came to them after he rose from death.
All Christians who confess Jesus as the Lord are those who were sent to build peace in this world, cherishing the peace which was given by Christ. Soldiers especially who can be called "agents for peace" with your continuous prayers and concern should find joy in faith and abide in the peace promised by the Lord. In our search for peace, we must draw power and courage first and foremost from the Word and from our prayer. In the presence of Jesus Christians are full of vitality and filled with His peace, so that they can be sent into the world to communicate His love to all as the manifestation of a perfect joy.
The Role and Significance of Military Chaplains
The role of military chaplains, as pastors in search of lost sheep, has a great significance as they meet those soldiers who are at a loss for what to do, who forget the meaning and aim of their life in the military. They can lead those soldiers to the way of true love. They can also help those who search for the Lord to quench their spiritual thirst. Indeed, in the military there is a unique moment for the youth to search for God. They cannot find such a moment anywhere else in Korea.
The military chaplains are called to the important mission of pastoral care for the military. Both as a soldier and a pastor they care for the soldiers just like their fathers. They also promote the personal and spiritual fruitfulness of the soldiers as their brothers. They try to help the soldiers to use their period of service to their merit and to find a precious moment of freedom and peace.
I would like to invite you all to remember military chaplains, commanders, officers, sergeants and civilian employees and their families. On the occasion of this Military Sunday, I would like to ask the Church and the faithful to give prayerful encouragement to the soldiers so that they can live their mission with worthwhile dignity. I also would like to express once again my sincere appreciation for the prayer and support of all brothers and sisters of all dioceses. May the blessing of the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you in abundance forever.
October 7, 2012
+ Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il
Bishop of the Military Ordinariate
● News from the Church in Korea
● Events on the Occasion of the Year of Faith
The Archdiocese of Seoul celebrated an opening Mass for the Year of Faith with the participation of 900 faithful on October 11, 2012.
The Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, presided over the Mass and H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop emeritus of Seoul, the Most Rev. Osvaldo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea, and the Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul, were concelebrants. During the Mass the rite of renewal of baptismal promises was also celebrated. At the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the faithful brought forward not only bread and wine but also the Korean Holy Bible, the Korean Prayer Book, conciliar documents and the Catechism of the Catholic Church to demonstrate their commitment to the celebration of the Year of Faith.
The Archdiocese of Daegu also celebrated an opening Mass for the Year of Faith, presided over by the Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archbishop of Daegu, at Gyesandong Cathedral on October 11, 2012. The faithful participating in this Mass committed themselves to the renewal of their relationship with God through the renewal of baptismal promises and focused on the "transmission of Christian faith and new evangelization."
The Archdiocese of Gwangju also celebrated an opening Mass for the Year of Faith, presided over by the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, at Gwangju Catholic University on October 11, 2012.
Other dioceses also celebrated opening Masses for the Year of Faith to commit themselves to the observation of the Year of Faith in meaningful ways.
The Diocese of Andong issued a pastoral letter to urge the faithful to make more efforts for the celebration of the Year of Faith.
The Diocese of Masan prepared prayer texts entitled "Prayer for the Identity of Faith" for the faithful to recite on the occasion of the Year of Faith.
The Diocese of Incheon also urged the faithful to recite its prayer texts prepared for the celebration of the Year of Faith, especially before and after the celebration of Mass and at meetings of parish organizations.
● Issuance of a Booklet Introduction to the Year of Faith
The Archdiocese of Seoul in Korea issued a booklet, Introduction to the Year of Faith. It contains concrete programs to be carried out on the level of the Archdiocese and its parishes, along with a pastoral letter of the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul.
In his letter with the theme "Let us walk forward in faith with our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ who leads us to the fulfillment of faith", Archbishop Yeom said, "The crisis of faith for the Korean faithful stems from the weak foundation for the promotion of faith. …… Therefore, I hope we can have all the programs for the Year of Faith focused on the consolidation of the 'foundation of faith'." He continued, "You may experience the joy of faith when you bear fruit in the 'service of love', by frequent reading and meditation of the Bible in incessant prayer, by faithfully learning the teachings of the Church, and by devoutly participating in Mass."
The booklet was prepared for the faithful to observe the Year of Faith more fruitfully. It contains Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, a pastoral letter of Archbishop Yeom, and an explanation on the five mottos set by the Archdiocese for the celebration of the Year of Faith.
● Questionaries to the Major Candidates for the 18th President of Korea
The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon) on October 16, 2012 sent "questionaries to the major candidates for the 18th president of Korea", along with "suggestions from the Catholic Church in Korea on public commitments of the candidates."
In the suggestions there are standpoints and propositions of the Catholic Church in Korea regarding the right to life, freedom of the press, peace, environment, energy, economics, protection of laborers. The Church is trying to find out the opinions of the candidates on such matters with the questionaries.
When the Church receives the answers to the questionaries by November 11, 2012, she will publish the results of the analysis on the answers on December 3, 2012. The presidential election will be held on December 19, 2012. The questionaries and the suggestions are the results of the observation and reflection on important issues of Korean society on the basis of ecclesiastical teachings, especially on the occasion of the presidential election. At its regular meeting in June, the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace decided to send such questionaries and suggestions to the candidates, so that the candidates have a chance to ponder upon the teachings of the Church when they make public commitments.
● The 21st Seminar of the CBCK Biblical Committee
The CBCK Biblical Committee (President: Rt. Rev. Abbot Simon Petro Ri Hyong-u, O.S.B.) held its 21st seminar at St. J. Hasang Education Center from August 16 to 18, 2012. It was meant to be an occasion for the agents of the biblical apostolate to renew their mission for the practice of the Word in everyday life.
In this seminar the Most Rev. Augustinus Kim Jong-soo (Auxiliary Bishop of Daejeon) and Rev. Paul Jeon Yeong-joon (Secretary of the CBCK Biblical Committee) gave lectures to 150 priests, religious and lay volunteers who participate in the biblical apostolate. After the lectures on the theme of the seminar, "The Bible and Spirituality", in group discussions, presentations of their opinions and activities they shared their opinions on the future and the development of the biblical apostolate in the midst of these changing times. They also had time to socialize with one another.
The participants recognized with one accord the urgency of the concern on the level of parish for the promotion of the biblical apostolate. They put forth some propositions:
- preparation of programs to meet peculiar local needs
- promotion of participation in the biblical apostolate with information exchange
- improvement of the quality of the volunteers
- promotion of solidarity with local churches in other countries.
● Seminar on Educating Young People in Justice and Peace
The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon) held a seminar on educating young people in justice and peace at Myeongdong Catholic Center on October 24, 2012.
In his paper entitled "Plan for Educating Youth in Justice and Peace", Dr. Park Jong-dae, Professor emeritus of Seogang University, said, "In a Christian education we have to teach the youth with a living catechism, so that they can find the aim of their life, understanding the power to bring about a peaceful and just change in their situation."
Then he made some suggestions: Prepare programs and materials for the religious courses appropriate for the youth; Open courses for general education in justice and peace at Catholic universities; Revitalize youth organization on a national level; Hold seminars to view current issues in the light of Catholicism; Establish Catholic research institutes for youth education.
● A Forum on the Unification of the Two Koreas
The CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People (President: Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon) held a forum on the unification of the two Koreas at the auditorium of the Catholic Conference of Korea on September 18, 2012. Bishop Lee and Fr. Timotheos Lee Eun-hyeong, Secretary of the Committee, and about 50 guests attended a lecture given by Dr. Kim Yeong-yoon, President of the Korea Logistics Forum, entitled "The Best Way to the Unification of the Two Koreas."
In his introductory remarks, Bishop Lee said, "As an escapee from North Korea at the age of 4 during the Korean War, I earnestly yearn for the reunification of Korea. Though I am still waiting for the reunification after 40 years of life as a priest, I think the best way to the unification of the two Koreas is prayer."
In his lecture, Dr. Kim said, "We can learn the best model for the unification of the two Koreas from what happened in Germany." He explained that Germany was able to accomplish the whole process of reunification within just 16 months, because they had already had enough experiences of mutual exchange. He also said that many citizens of old East Germany willingly wanted the reunification of Germany as the result of long mutual exchanges, including freedom to visit with each other. In conclusion, he said, "We have to build up conditions for a de facto unification which means that we can freely visit North Korea and do business in North Korea, and vice versa."
News in Brief
The Subcommittee for Environment under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hun) held a ceremony for the 7th Catholic Ecological Award at the auditorium of the CCK on October 10, 2012. The Grand Prix was awarded to the "Committee for the late Mr. Lee Chi-wu who burned himself to death protesting the construction of 762kv high-tension electric power transmission tower in Milyang, South Gyeongsang Province." The Special Prize was given to Mr. Park Geu-rim who staged a protest campaign against the construction of a cable car on Sorak Mountain which could do harm to the environment.
On October 15, 2012, the Subcommittee for Environment under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon) issued a statement demanding the abolition of the construction plan of nuclear power plants in Samcheok and Yeongdeok.
The CBCK Committee for Foreign Mission Work and Pastoral Care of Overseas Koreans (President: Most Rev. John Baptist Jung Shin-chul) celebrated the Day for Overseas Missionaries at the auditorium of Dongsung High School on November 6, 2012. This day was celebrated jointly with the cooperation of the Korean Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Religious Institutes and the Societies of Apostolic Life and the Association of Major Superiors of Religious Women in Korea.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Nam Kyŏng-mun Peter (1796-1846)
Nam Kyŏng-mun Peter was born in Seoul in 1796. When he was young, he was a soldier, and later he worked as a vendor of salted clams. Peter married Ho?Barbara when he was 22 years old. He was converted by Pak Peter and baptized.
Before Peter knew about the Catholic doctrine, he practiced high interest usury. When Father Yu Pacificus told him that it was against Church ethics, he stopped the immoral practice and returned all the interest he had received. Then he accompanied and helped the missionaries visiting mission stations to administer the sacraments.
In 1839, he was almost caught by the police, but his pagan brothers helped him to escape. After the persecution was over and there were no missionaries, he neglected practicing his faith for two or three years. In either 1844 or 1845 he decided to amend his life, and he repented his past sins. Peter thought that the only penance he could do was to become a martyr. As a penance he got up before sunrise every morning and offered prayers for many hours. He lived and slept in a cold unheated room. Because of this he became ill but he considered it a special grace of God and did not complain.
Peter was known as an outstanding Catholic, and finally he was arrested in July of 1846. His wife tried to stop him from getting caught, but he told her that he could live no longer.
While Peter was in prison, one of his brothers sent some food and clothes in to him, but as a penance he refused them. He was afraid to meet his visiting brothers because he thought his faith might be weakened. During one of the tortures, he returned his military name tag, indicating that he once was a soldier. On another occasion the police chief hit him with a club so hard that the club broke on his shoulder.
Some of his best friends tried to persuade him to give up his faith, but he would not give in. He was beaten again and again and was told to reveal the location of his fellow Catholics, but he gave only the names of deceased ones. He endured many severe tortures.
Peter and six other Catholics were finally beaten to death on September 20, 1846, according to the government document (Su?gjo?gwo? Diary). They might have been strangled. According to Archbishop Mutel's testimony, they were originally sentenced to be beaten to death, but those who didn't die from the beating were actually strangled to death later. Peter was martyred at the age of 50.
Han I-Hyŏng Laurence (+1846)
Han I-Hyŏng Laurence was born to a noble family in Doksan in Ch'ungch'ŏng Province. He had a strong character and a spirit of self-sacrifice. He studied catechism when he was 14 years old. A few weeks later Laurence became a very devout Catholic. He spent many hours in front of a crucifix meditating and repenting his past sins. Every Sunday and on all holy days of obligation he went to the mission chapel four kilometers away for prayer, regardless of bad weather. During Lent he fasted everyday. When he was 21 years old, he married a Catholic woman and lived in a remote rural area near Yangji.
He was very good not only to God but also to his neighbors, particularly poor ones. He fed poor people in his home and gave them his own clothes. He used to say that God would reward him for his acts of charity.
Bishop Imbert made him a catechist. He was well qualified for the post in knowledge, virtue and good example. He fulfilled his duty satisfactorily.
After Father Kim Andrew was arrested, the captors tried to arrest the Catholics connected with him. Han Laurence was arrested accidentally. He was ridiculed and severely beaten. The captors stripped him naked and hung him from the ceiling. Then they beat him cruelly, commanding him to deny his faith and to reveal the whereabouts of his fellow Catholics. Laurence refused to do so. His captors bound his legs, put broken glass and dishes between his feet, and sawed them with a thick rope, but Laurence endured all the pains admirably. Even his enemies praised him very highly. On his way to Seoul, he refused the horse offered by his captors. He walked the 52 kilometers of rough road with bare feet because of the wounds in his feet.
According to the government record (Sŭngjŏngwŏn Diary), Han Laurence and four women were severely tortured but refused to give up their conviction. They were beaten to death on September 20, 1846. It is possible that Laurence could have been strangled, because, according to the testimony of Archbishop Mutel, they were originally sentenced to be beaten to death, but if they didn't die immediately, they were actually strangled to death. Laurence was 48 years old when he was martyred.