From the Editor
Message for the 26th Caritas Sunday
Message for the 28th Human Rights Sunday
Message for 2009 Biblical Week
2009 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
News from the Church in Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Editor:
Spirituality of Martyrdom and Spirituality of Religious Life
Bringing hope at the start of the New Year, the Feast of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors of the Church who lived the truth in love, invites us to be spiritually fruitful. I would like to share some thoughts that come to my mind on the occasion of this meaningful feast.
During 2000 years of Christianity, the Church has witnessed the arrival of virtuous men and women of spirituality who showed her a clear way to move forward when she had to struggle against the raging waves of various beliefs and trends, including even heresies within and without the Church. Among these virtuous men were St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen.
From the beginning of Christianity until the 4th century, the faithful had to live as foreigners in their own lands because they were persecuted, arrested and sentenced to death for the very fact that they were Christians. During the era of persecution they faithfully lived up to the virtue of charity, while yearning for martyrdom which is the model and ideal of a Christian. In such a situation, to be a Christian meant living as a hermit and renouncing the secular world.
For the Church armed with the spirit of martyrdom, the charism of religious life was not a necessary condition. And so it was that religious life did not come into being until the waning of the spirit of martyrdom and the toleration of religion. In its precise and rigorous meaning, religious life was understood as the succession and realization of the spirit of martyrdom in a practical way where the example of living the virtue of charity given to all Christians is clearly distinguishable. This was the beginning of monastic life and its spirituality.
In due time hermits living in the desert, the monastic life, the orders of strict observance, the mendicant orders, clerical congregations, and modern congregations with simple vows have all contributed to the recognition of the life and mission of the Church as well as to the orientation of our spiritual life.
On looking back upon the history of the foundation of religious institutes and their development, we cannot but feel the touch of the Holy Spirit who leads us to the realization of unity in diversity. Moreover, we can recognize the divine economy revealed clearly in the spirituality of religious life. It is no exaggeration to say that we can regard the response of many young people who enter religious life as the manifestation of their spiritual efforts and wisdom to overcome the crisis and limits of our age. In our age where individualism prevails and the meaning of community grows faint, a religious institute as a community becomes a prophetic sign by itself shedding light upon God's will.
Besides, on the occasion of the Day for Consecrated Life, celebrated on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, I would like to invite all the faithful to pray for the happiness of the religious who dedicated their lives to God like a burning candlelight, being faithful to their vows and longing ardently for the promise to them.
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
Message for the 26th Caritas Sunday
You shall love your neighbour as yourself
Dear brothers and sisters in the love of God,
We are now observing the Advent season waiting for the birth of the Son of God in our midst. During the Advent season we are looking in a spirit of humility and repentance for the eternal life which will be given by the Child Jesus.
The Catholic Church in Korea observes the third Sunday of Advent as Caritas Sunday. The Church invites us to experience the presence of Christ in this world as well as to live as the agents of God who sew the seed of hope for life in our charitable activities. This invitation calls us to attend to the poor and suffering who have to manage a marginalized life in our society and to show charity to them, welcoming them in the mercy of God. Moreover, the invitation challenges our capacity to overcome all the miseries residing deeply in the hearts of human beings and thus to lead them to happiness.
Nowadays many of our neighbours are in trouble because of global financial instability and economic crisis. Too many of them are discouraged and even driven to despair. At the same time, our life is eroded by a deadly addiction to insatiable consumption and greed. There are men and women who are full of lust and avarice, thinking that they can live forever in this world. They have no time to reflect deeply on their lives. They say we have to make an effort to recover the sluggish economy, but they just depend on the logic of capitalism. They fail to understand how the foundation of our life cannot become sound and strong by means of economy, let alone what the economy itself should mean. For a long time now education and culture have become vehicles for the expansion and reproduction of competition and a greediness for consumption. Consequently, everything that cannot promote efficiency, achievement, output or profit and everything that seems feeble and worthless becomes the victim of economic restructuring.
We believe in Christ. Believing in Christ means participating in the saving work of Christ for all. We set our mode of existence on the basis of the work of Christ. Christ invites us to live for other people, not just for ourselves. To this invitation belong: sharing what we have with our neighbours; living with an awareness that the happiness we are enjoying now might be at the expense of our neighbours; dedicating ourselves to our neighbours in the spirit of self-denial; recovering the order of love which has been in confusion because of greed. To this invitation belongs also the turning of our life without God to a life with God because God is the key to solve all our human problems. Last but not least, this invitation asks us to live and die like Jesus Christ whose life was truly rich even though he was born poor and had no possessions.
The Child Jesus, who comes in our midst, abides in our neighbours and teaches us to love our neighbours as ourselves. We tend to regard the love for our neighbours as just one of many virtues for us as believers. However, the love for our neighbours is the greatest and most essential commandment together with the love for God. Love is the center, fulfillment and totality of all the commandments as St. Paul told us: "For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself'" (Gal 5,14).
When we love our neighbours and devote ourselves to their happiness, we love and serve God. When we fail completely to heed others and try only to be 'devout' and to perform 'religious duties', then the relationship with God becomes merely 'proper' and loveless (Cf. Deus caritas est, n. 18).
When we want to inherit eternal life, we have to love the Lord, our God, and love our neighbours as ourselves with all our heart, with all our being, with all our strength, and with all our mind (Cf. Lk 10,25-27). In this way we are giving our word that we will truly love our neighbours as ourselves with the love of God which has been "poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Rm 5,5). The Church must devote herself to charitable works for the unfortunate and poor, as well as for the marginalized, to the last moment of their need for love as St. Luke told us: "Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back" (Lk 10,35). God will remember us as the righteous when we are not stingy in our relationship with our poor neighbours and share what we have with them willingly and when we keep in mind that we are much happier in giving than in receiving, as God told us. He will preserve us from the darkness and save us from death.
On the occasion of the 26th Caritas Sunday, we take a pledge again to welcome our neighbours with love and try to relieve them from poverty and to be born again as serving believers who can find Christ in our neighbours. The best dedication to God is, most of all, to love our neighbours. As His people waiting for the birth of His Holy Son we must be prepared to welcome the Lord with the gift of 'charity,' I express my gratitude for the effort and services of those who practice silently the love of the Lord as if it is for themselves; my prayer is "to those who are beloved in God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ may mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance" (Jd 1,1-2).
December 13, 2009
On the 26th Caritas Sunday
+ Francis Xavier Ahn Myeong-ok
Bishop of Masan
CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana"
Message for the 28th Human Rights Sunday
We Have to Pursue the Development of Whole Human Beings,
Based not on Material Goals but on Justice and the Common Good
Dear brothers and sisters,
This year we have had to weather many difficulties in confronting a financial and economic crisis on a global scale. We may say that this crisis resulted from both mammonism which has fostered unsatiable greed and consumerism on the pretext of development and from the abuse of authority that lacks the ethical principles of justice and the common good. This crisis has caused more pain to the poor and weak who are excluded from the development.
As Pope Paul VI pointed out in his Encyclical Populorum Progressio (1967), true development must strive for a universal love of humanity and the development of all human beings. H.H. Pope Benedict XVI has also put emphasis on the love for man as the center of development, asserting, "If it does not involve the whole man and every man, it is not true development" (Caritas in veritate, n. 18). However, we see that the mode of development in Korea is mostly for the interest of a small group of the powerful, with no regard for the weak in society. Moreover, human greed also threatens nature, a gift given to all.
We can see typical cases of this in the disaster of Yongsan District in Seoul and in the reckless redevelopment projects pursued only for tremendous economic profit. The poor are often expelled from the places of their livelihood where for a long time they had established and preserved a community so that new luxurious apartments could stand in the site of redevelopment. In Yongsan six precious lives were claimed by fire during a police raid upon the protesting slum dwellers whose livelihood was in danger because of the irrational process of the redevelopment project. However, the government still maintains an attitude of indifference and shirks from its responsibility.
Masan City has planned for many years to use the land-reclamation site of Sujeongman for the construction of a shipyard in defiance of the citizens who are worried about environmental contamination and noise pollution. Furthermore, Masan City has used inhumane practices of dividing citizens and destroying the community by means of money and violence.
An enormous increase of non-regular workers and discrimination against them infringe upon the principle of the dignity of human beings as found in the social doctrine of the Church: "Labour has an intrinsic priority over capital" (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 277). It does actual harm to the helpless labourers.
The Four Major Rivers Restoration Project, which will cost a tremendous amount of money, is being carried forward unilaterally by the government on the pretence of improving water quality and providing water where it is lacking, in spite of rational refutation by many citizens. The project will do irrevocable environmental harm to beautiful nature and will destroy the ecology of the four major rivers. We are responsible for the protection of the natural environment as the gift of God and for the preservation of the resources which must not be bequeathed to future generations depleted (Cf. Caritas in veritate, n. 50).
We have to pursue the development of whole human beings, including spiritual development which goes beyond the merely material. To achieve such a development, we as Christians have to pursue, most of all, a development based on the truth implanted in us by God and on the teaching of love in the practice of such truth. We are far away from true social development when we try all possible means to search for material development to satisfy our greed instead of development for the common good and justice based on the dignity of human beings. The government, with its authority and control over a tremendous amount of resources, must seek after a policy for the self-realization and happiness of all human beings with no exception, taking care of the weak and protecting the environment. Eventually the government must give up the development-oriented method that leads to the destruction of natural environment under the pretext of economic profit which in fact is only for a small number of people.
Dear brothers and sisters,
We as the faithful should first concentrate our efforts on the practice of God's teachings based on truth and love, so that our society can overcome materialistic greed, appreciate the value of a human being and promote spiritual development. Especially, we should remember Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, who passed away on February 16, 2009. He was a person who advocated justice with true love and courage, as well as one who came compassionately near to the socially weak with loving care. I would like to invoke God's blessing for the spiritual change of ourselves and the members of our society. We rely upon God's love and grace on the occasion of Human Rights Sunday, as the Church and the faithful make a common profession of their humble efforts to overcome the painful situation of our society.
December, 6, 2009
+ Boniface Choi Ki-san
Bishop of Incheon
CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for 2009 Biblical Week
The Priesthood of Christ Is Practiced in the Word
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God" (Col 3,16)
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am sure that spiritual food and strength are given to us who are following the footsteps of Jesus all the more on the occasion of the 2009 Biblical Week. We are satisfied in abundance at the table of the Word, as the Church is nourished in a healthy way and flourishes in a holy way by the Word of Scripture (Cf. Dei verbum, n. 24).
As you may already know, the Catholic Church decided to celebrate the Year for Priests from June 19, 2009 to June 11, 2010, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. H.H. Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed the Year for Priests in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the dies natalis of St. John Mary Vianney, the Cur?of Ars, to provide help for the sanctification of priests who above all try to come close to the priesthood of Christ and to assist them in remembering their mission and significance. In this regard, I would like to invite the faithful to reflect on the Word and priesthood and to promote a truly proper Christian attitude especially on the occasion of the 2009 Biblical Year.
All Christians have the right and duty of common priesthood to participate in the priesthood of Christ, because as baptized people regenerated and anointed in the Holy Spirit, they are consecrated as a spiritual house and a holy priesthood (Cf. Lumen gentium, n. 10). At the same time, the ministerial priesthood appears in the structure of the Church as a sign of the absolute priority and gratuitousness of the grace given to the Church by the risen Christ. Through this grace the Church becomes aware in faith that her being comes not from herself but from the grace of Christ in the Holy Spirit (Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, n. 16).
The liturgy is the exercise of the priesthood of Christ (Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Vicesimus quintus annus, n. 10). At the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October, 2008, the bishops deliberated on the Bible. Bishops from all over the world came together to pray to God and study the way of life based on the principle of the divine Word for the world we live in. As a result, all synod fathers expressed their sympathy with the importance of the homily in the celebration of Mass.
The Word is proclaimed fruitfully in the homily of the priest. Here spiritual hunger (Cf. Mk 6,30-44; 8,1-10) and spiritual thrist (Cf. Jn 4,1-42) must be satisfied. Therefore, the homily of the priest must infuse fresh vigor into the liturgical readings in beautiful and diverse ways and so search for the unity and harmony of our life with the divine Word in its abundancy.
The homily of the priest, moreover, should draw its contents mainly from scriptural and liturgical sources, and its character should be that of the proclamation of God's wonderful works in the history of salvation so that the mystery of Christ, ever present and active within us, is especially so in the celebration of the liturgy (Cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 35). The treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's Word (Cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 51).
The ministry of the priest begins with the proclamation of the Gospel, and the priest carries out the sacred duty of the Gospel as the agent of Christ, in the measure in which he participates in the office of the apostles (Cf. Presbyterorum ordinis, n. 2). Therefore, the priest cannot but proclaim the Word while engaging in prayer and adoration (Cf. Presbyterorum ordinis, n. 2).
Instructed by God's Word, the faithful should have faith in God and grow as healthy believers (Cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 48). Most of the faithful learn and practice the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life through the homilies of priests (Cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 52). Though the homily of a priest is central for the faithful to become mature in their faith, they cannot learn everything from it at once. Therefore, they have to learn in a better way, individually and collectively, so that they can harvest the fruits of the divine Word abundantly. It is the proper intention of the 'priesthood of the Word' that the faithful become mature through renewal by the Word of God and then dedicate themselves to the evangelization of the world for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
All the disciples of Christ, persevering in prayer and praising God, should offer themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Everywhere on earth they must bear witness to Christ and give an answer to those who seek an account of that hope of eternal life which is in them (Cf. Lumen gentium, n. 10). For such a mission the faithful must be armed with "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ep 6,17) and try to keep vigil all the time.
In accordance with the teaching of St. James, "Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves." (Jas 1,22), one who carries out the priesthood with its mission to communicate the Word of Christ to the world is devoid of faith if he or she behaves improperly in regard to the communication of the Word.
"The new priestly people which is the Church has its authentic image in Christ" (Patores dabo vobis, n. 13). "Jesus knew and loved each of us during his life, his agony and his passion, and gave himself up for each one of us" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 478). Therefore, we as Christians have to abandon our ego and fill the inner void with the fullness of the Word of the Lord so that the Word can accomplish the work of the Lord in us as one body. In this way, we can practice the true priesthood of Christ, living with the Word as his unwavering faithful in one body.
I pray that the grace and power of the Word of God who created the universe may be with you and your community abundantly.
November 22, 2009
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
Rt. Rev. Abbot Simon Petro Ri Hyong-u, O.S.B.
Apostolic Administrator of the Territorial Abbacy of Tokwon
CBCK Biblical Committee
2009 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) held its 2009 Autumn General Assembly in the Conference Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) from October 13 to 15, 2009 and decided as follows:
1. The bishops approved the publication of 'The Way of Grace to Encounter God,' the fourth in a series of seven volumes of the draft Catechism for Youth. presented by the CBCK Committee for Catechesis.
2. The bishops approved the draft of the Korean version of the Lectionarium submitted by the CBCK Committee for Liturgy.
3. The bishops examined and approved the draft 'Provision for the establishment of a national organization of the Catholic Church in Korea' prepared and presented by the General Secretariat of the CBCK.
4. The bishops approved the request of the CBCK Bioethics Committee to hold the first National Congress for Life from July 9 to 11, 2010 at Kkottongnae in Eumseung, Chungbuk in cooperation with the Committee for Life of the Seoul Archdiocese.
5. The bishops approved the request of the Pro-Life Activities under the CBCK Bioethics Committee for the establishment of a National Catholic Network for Organ Donation and its action plan that calls for a donation campaign and the active promotion of the pro-life movement. At the same time, the bishops decided to urge the government to provide legislation for an organ donation policy in order to guarantee the continuity of this project.
6. The bishops elected the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong as the Auditor of the CCK. The bishops elected the Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, President of the Committee for Culture, as the President of the CBCK Episcopal Commission for Mission & Pastoral Care. The bishops elected the Most Rev. Augustinus Kim Jong-soo, Auxiliary Bishop of Daejeon as the President of the CBCK Committee for Evangelization.
7. The bishops approved the hosting of the 6th Asian Youth Day in 2013 in Korea, as requested by the Most Rev. Tria Tirona, President of the Office of Laity and Family under the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences. The 6th Asian Youth Day will be held in combination with Korean Youth Day.
8. The bishops decided to mobilize all dioceses to support recovery from the natural disaster that occurred recently in the Asia-Pacific region, including Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and India.
● News from the Church in Korea
● 2010 Pastoral Letters of Diocesan Bishops
On the occasion of the first Sunday of Advent on November 29, 2009, each Diocesan Bishop issued his 2010 pastoral letter and invited the faithful to take the initiative in evangelization of the world.
In his pastoral letter entitled 'The Church to Change the World,' H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said, "The mission of our society is to promote unity and to solve the social problem of class conflict which is the cause of mutual distrust, antagonism and strife." Cardinal Cheong also said, "Christians must change from mammonism, hedonism, consumerism as well as the culture of anti-life to Christian values and attitudes, setting an example of evangelical practice in the family and workplace where they live."
The Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju, said, "We need a 'new evangelization' based on repentance and renewal of the Christian individual and community, not just external growth based on the existing concept of missions." He then suggested the following ways to practice the new evangelization:
- evangelization of individuals and the family (repentance and reflection)
- evangelization of neighbours (witness of life)
- evangelization of society (ecclesiastical communion)
- participation in the Sacraments
The Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-gil, Archdiocesan Administrator of Daegu, asked his flock to participate actively in the Archdiocesan projects for the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate, including the construction of the Memorial Church, the publication of the Centennial History of the Archdiocese of Daegu, and the convening of the Second Archdiocesan Synod. Also on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate he asked the faithful to participate in the prayer and spiritual movement for the leap of the Archdiocese into a new future.
Other diocesan bishops also asked the faithful to have more concern about the pastoral care for youth and about a spirituality of the Korean martyrs.
● The 15th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting
The 15th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting was held at the Bishop's Residence of the Archdiocese of Osaka, Japan from November, 17 to 19, 2009.
Led by the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea and Bishop of Cheju, and the Most Rev. Peter Okada Takeo, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ) and Archbishop of Tokyo, 31 Bishops in all attended the meeting. The
Bishops watched together a DVD documentary film entitled 'Thank you all, I love you all', a homage with images related to the loving memory of the late Stephen Cardinal Kim Su-hwan, Archbishop emeritus of Seoul who passed away on February 16, 2009.
Bishop Kang also gave a special lecture with the theme 'Life and Vision of the late Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan' in which he presented Cardinal Kim as Jonah the Prophet and a Good Pastor of our age. Keeping in mind biblical justice and peace, Fr. Honda Tetsuro on behalf of the CBCJ made a report on the situation of the homeless in Japan and the activities of the Catholic Church in Japan being made for them in Kamagasaki where there is the largest slum in Japan populated with a great number of day laborers.
After the celebration of a Commemoration Mass for the late Cardinal Kim, the Bishops paid visits to Ikuno where many Korean residents in Japan still live, to the site of the Kobe or Great Hanshin Earthquake where more than 6,000 people died in 1995 and to Dotonbori where the Burakumin, one of the minority groups of Japanese society, once lived. The next meeting is scheduled for November 16 to 18, 2010, in Korea.
● 2009 Autumn Plenary Assembly of the Korean Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life
The Korean Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life (KCMS) held its 2009 Autumn Plenary Assembly in the conference hall of the Society of St. Francis de Sales in Seoul from November 4 to 5, 2009. Fr. Stephen Nam Sang-woo, Provincial Superior of the Society of St. Francis de Sales in Korea, was nominated as the 15th president of the KCMS. It was also decided that beginning in 2010 a 'Missionaries' Day' will be celebrated on October 1, the Feast of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus.
● The 42nd Plenary Assembly of the Association of Major Superiors of Religious Women in Korea
The Association of Major Superiors of Religious Women (AMSR) in Korea held its 42nd Plenary Assembly at Aaron Retreat House in Suwon from November 3 to 6, 2009. Sr. Mary Aquina Youn Jeong-ok, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Korea, was nominated as the 17th president of the AMSR. The AMSR issued a closing statement expressing its resolution to live, above all, a life focusing on the Word and following radically in the footsteps of Christ.
● The 12th Catholic Network for the Reconciliation of the Korean People
The CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People (President: Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul) held the 12th Catholic Network for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, with the theme 'Saeteomin (North Korean refugee settled in South Korea) - Agents for the Evangelization of North Korea.' The meeting was held at Hanmaum Retreat Center in Yangju from November 12 to 13, 2009. Along with Bishop Kim, some 90 priests, religious and lay faithful participated. Many Saeteomin were invited to this meeting to bear witness to the true picture of North Korea and to disclose their experience of social prejudice against them and their feeling of alienation in South Korea. After listening to their witness, many experts at this meeting presented their suggestions for bettering the life of the Saeteomin in South Korea.
● International Symposium in Memory of Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan
An international symposium with the theme 'Leadership of the Church of Asia: In memory of the late Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan' was held at Sogang University in Seoul from September 17 to 18, 2009, with a view to looking into the human aspects and spirituality of his life and faith as well as to his vision of ordained ministry, his social activities and his dialogue with other religions.
● Dedication Ceremony of Kim Taegon Church within the Nonsan Military Training Camp
The Military Ordinariate held a dedication ceremony of the Kim Taegon Church and Choi Yang-eup Education Center within the Nonsan Military Training Camp, on September 19, 2009. Twelve bishops joined the Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, Bishop of the Military Ordinariate, the Most Rev. Osvaldo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea, and the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, President of the CBCK, and some 2,500 priests, religious, lay people and military personnel from all over the country.
● 25th Anniversary of the Canonization of 103 Korean Martyrs
The Archdiocese of Seoul (Archbishop: H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk) held a festival to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the canonization of 103 Korean martyrs at Yeouido Park in Seoul on September 19, 2009. This festival was organized to renew the spirit of reconciliation, sharing and witnessing to which the late Pope John Paul II invited the Catholic Church in Korea 25 years ago.
● Campaign for the Abolition of Death Penalty
The Subcommittee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace commemorated 2009 World Day against the Death Penalty, in alliance with Amnesty International South Korea, the Catholic Human Rights Committee, and other religious and civil groups, in downtown Seoul on October 10, 2009. Through this event prepared with the theme 'The Way of Life, Our Way', participants hoped that 'the Special Bill on Abolishing the Death Penalty', which was laid again before the 18th National Assembly of Korea, would be passed so that the
Republic of Korea may become officially an abolitionist country both in law and practice.
● Catholic Support to Anti-abortion Campaign
On October 29, 2009, the Pro-Life Activities of the CBCK Committee for Bioethics (President: Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun) issued a statement entitled 'We support the obstetricians and gynecologists who take the initiative in anti-abortion.'
● Symposium on Irregular Employment
The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace held a symposium on 'Reflection on and practical tasks for resolving the problem of irregular employment and realizing social solidarity: roles of society and the Church' at the Jesuit Apostolic Centre in Seoul on October 16, 2009. This symposium focused on the responsibilities and roles of all members of society to build a society in which all human beings, including irregular workers, can have a more decent and dignified life. The participants in the symposium faced up to the irregular employment issue and the phenomenon of social polarization.
● The 4th Catholic Ecological Award
The Subcommittee for Environment under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace held a ceremony for the 4th Catholic Ecological Award at the auditorium of the CCK on October 7, 2009. Sujeong Trappistine Monastery (the Citercian Order of the Strict of Observance) in Masan, Korea, received the Grand Prix for its efforts to protect and preserve the environment in the face of the provincial project to establish a shipyard in Sujeongri, Masan on the pretense of purely economic logics. The Yangeob High School in the Diocese of Cheongju was awarded the Special Prize for its campaign against the proposed development of Seok Mountain which in reality would have led to the destruction of the environment.
● A Survey for the Pastoral Care for Family and Youth
A survey entitled "Basic Research for Pastoral Care for Family and Youth" was conducted by the Salesian Don Bosco Institute for Youth Spiritual Pastoral Research (Director: Rev. Marcellino Baek Gwang-hyeon). The survey included 2,796 Catholic teenagers from 117 parishes in 13 dioceses who participated in '2009 Salesian Camp' from July 25 to August 15, 2009. The survey revealed that the number of Catholic teenagers who want to attend Sunday Mass with their parents is four times higher than that of those who do not.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Hong Pyŏng-ju Peter (1798-1840) and Hong Yŏng-ju Paul (1801-1840)
Hong Pyŏng-ju Peter and Hong Yŏng-ju Paul were brothers. They were grandsons of Hong Nang-min martyred in 1801 and nephews of Hong Protasius who was martyred in 1839. They were descendents of a renowned family and lived in Sŏsan. They inherited their faith from their parents which enabled them to uphold the Catholic religion as well as to contribute a great deal to the Catholic Church in Korea.
Both of them were named catechists, and they showed enthusiasm and faithfulness in giving instructions to catechumens. They dedicated themselves to teaching catechism, taking care of sick people and to other charitable activities. Therefore, Fathers Maubant and Chastan admired their talents and zeal and gave them various important responsibilities.
They risked their lives to hide the foreign missionaries in their home during the persecution of 1839. The traitor Kim Yŏ-sang put them on the list of those to be arrested.
The Hong brothers were finally arrested. Their captors tried to force them to reveal the whereabouts of their fellow Catholics and to deny their faith, but they did not succumb to the demands. They did not reveal the location of their fellow Catholics. They were brought to the chief prosecutor, who happened to be one of their relatives. He did not want to torture them directly, and asked his men to torture them severely to make them give up their faith. Other inmates, robbers and murderers, beat Peter and Paul for the prosecutors. However, Peter and Paul remained steadfast in their faith.
Peter and Paul were taken to Tangkogae and were beheaded there. Peter was beheaded on January 31, 1840 with five other Catholics, and Paul was beheaded on February 1, 1840 with two other Catholics. Peter was 42 years old and Paul was 39 years old when they were martyred.