From the Editor:
Let Us Sing Together a Song of Life
'Life 31 Concert' with the theme of building a new culture of life was held at the Korea Broadcasting Station Hall (KBS) on May 16, 2003. About 1700 people participated in the cultural event which was hosted by the 'Life 31 Movement'.
His Holiness Pope John Paul II wished that the Korean Catholics would come to understand the miracle of life through the 'Life 31 Concert' while His Eminence Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe encouraged them to create a new culture of life saying, "Your initiative is indeed very opportune in our today society where human life is violated by legislation from its very inception." His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan and the audience pledged 'a society without war', 'a society without capital punishment', 'a society without abortion' and 'a society without manipulation of life'.
Neither today's culture of death nor the desired culture of life can be formed in a day. Building a culture of life requires constant commitment and sacrifice on the part of all. Therefore, we must walk hand in hand singing a song of life and engage ourselves untiringly in the way of life and peace. We are indignant over the war in Iraq that has caused the loss of thousands of people in a little more than one month, however, we don't pay much attention to the reality of our society that thousands of unborn children are killed everyday by parents and medical doctors.
War snatches away human lives and destroys peace. Yet while we oppose terrorism and war we cannot quietly accept abortion. We have to listen to Mother Teresa who said, "Today's main destroyer of peace is abortion, a war of parents against children in their wombs." The Holy Father has stated: "All crimes against life are an attack on peace."
We hope that the 'Life 31 Movement', launched on February 7, 2003 and approved by the 2003 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK, will take deep root in our society and that many more people will truly come to respect life and love their neighbors. In this way our society will be filled with the peace and love.
Fr. Casimir Song Yul-sup
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
2003 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
2003 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
- Focus on Life, Family, Peace and Sound Christian Life
The Spring General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) was held from March 24 to 27, 2003 at CBCK's Conference Hall in Seoul. During the Conference the Bishops focused on issues of life, family, peace and a sound Christian life. The Bishops also discussed the proposed 'structural plan of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea(CBCK) and the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK), regarding the 'division of roles by departments' and the 'amendments to the Statutes of CCK as a Civil Corporation'. They agreed to implement the revised plan until the autumn of 2005, when the term of office of the current Permanent Council expires.
Regarding the 'question of baptising aborted foetuses' the Bishops confirmed the provisions of the Church: "Only a living person can receive baptism validly. Aborted foetuses, if they are alive, are to be baptized (CIC, can. 871). But, when it is not certain if they are alive or dead, they are to be 'baptized conditionally' (Provision on unborn foetuses, Directory of the Catholic Church in Korea).
The Bishops decided to develop the 'Life 31 Movement to Build a New Culture of Life' into a general pro-life movement under the guidance of the Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, President of the Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry. The Bishops encouraged him to continue research on the problems of the family in present Korean society in connection with the theme of the 8th Plenary Assembly of the FABC to be held in Korea in 2004.
The Bishops decided to hold a national Prayer Day for the Unity and Reconciliation of the Korean People on Sunday June 22 at the restoration site of the Gyeongui inter-Korean railway and to offer a Solemn Mass for unification of the Korean people near the Dorasan railway station.
The Bishops approved the publication of the "Movements and Trends Harmful to Healthy Faith Life II" which focuses on the New Age Movement, the Spiritual World Movement and the 'Qi'(energy) Meditation Movement. This follows the publication of "Movements and Trends Harmful to Healthy Faith Life I" in 1997.
They also approved the "Project for Collecting and Classifying Overseas Historical Materials Related to the Catholic Church in Korea", presented by the Committee for Culture, on condition that the Archdiocese of Seoul would fund the project partly.
The Diocese of Suwon Welcomes Its First Auxiliary Bishop
The Diocese of Suwon Welcomes
Its First Auxiliary Bishop
The episcopal ordination of the Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hun, who was appointed by Pope John Paul II as auxiliary bishop of Suwon on March 19, took place on May 14, the feast of St. Matthias the Apostle. The Most Rev. Victorinus Youn Kong-hi, the first Bishop of Suwon, presided at the ordination. Some 3,000 participants including His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, the Most Rev. Paul Choi Duk-ki, Bishop of Suwon, the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju and President of the CBCK, the Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea as well as other bishops, priests, religious and laity gathered to celebrate the consecration of the new Bishop.
The Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini said in his congratulatory message, "The intrinsic duty of a bishop is to serve the Holy Church and a bishop's motto should be, 'to live is Christ'. With St. Paul the Apostle, a bishop should be able to confess every day, 'For to me, living is Christ'" (Phil. 1, 21).
The Archbishop Andreas Choi Chang-mou praised the new Bishop for his spirit of evangelical poverty, and asked him to become a beacon to this world where selfishness, violence, materialism and hedonism prevail. The Most Rev. Paul Choi Duk-ki, Bishop of Suwon, asked the faithful to pray for the new bishop.
The Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hun pledged to serve God and the Church and in particular to dedicate himself to people who are abandoned and marginalized."
Born in 1951 in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do, the Most Rev. Matthias Ri graduated from the Catholic University of Seoul and was ordained a priest in 1979. From 1980 to 1982, he served as assistant pastor and pastor in various parishes and taught at high schools. In 1988, he graduated from the Pontificia Universita Lateranense obtaining a doctorate in moral theology. He returned to Korea in 1988 and held various posts in succession: Instructor at the University of Suwon, Professor and President of the Catholic University of Suwon. Since last year he has served as the dean of the Graduate School of the Catholic University of Suwon.
Message on the Ninth 'Day for Life':
'Let Us Promote a Culture of Life'
On the occasion of the Ninth 'Day for Life' the Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, President of the Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry of the CBCK, issued a message reconfirming that life starts from the moment of conception and appealing to all to make efforts to build a new culture of life. Following is the full text of his message.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we celebrate the ninth 'Day for Life' in this season of a fresh green spring that makes us appreciate the precious gift of life that God has granted to us.
1. May is a month that makes us think of the precious gift of life more than any other month. This is because in May we celebrate both Children's Day and Parents' Day. On Children's Day we wish that all children in the world will grow up happily with simple and pure hearts. On Parents' Day we express our love and gratitude to our parents from whom we have inherited life and who raised us with love. For us the faithful, May is also a special month because it is the 'Month of Mary' during which we revere Holy Mary, Mother of Our Savior Jesus Christ who came to the world to give us life. These 'Days' help us to meditate on love and life in our hearts.
2. In our society the threat to life is growing day by day; hideous murders and violence, war and terrorism, all sorts of disastrous incidents, euthanasia, abortion that is the cruel murder of unborn children, divorce, and the ill-treatment of old people by egoism. Besides, in many parts of the world, multitudes of children, ignored by their brothers and sisters, are dying from starvation everyday. A heartless culture is prevailing throughout the world causing new forms of sin.
3. Human life starts from the moment of conception. "Human life comes from God; it is God's gift, God's image and imprint, and a sharing in God's breath of life. God therefore is the sole Lord of this life" (Evanglium vitae, 39). Therefore, in order to promote and protect human life, we have to listen to the voice of God, the Lord of all living creatures. "For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on people the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life - a ministry which must be fulfilled in a manner which is worthy of people. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care. Abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes" (Gaudium et spes, 51). Abortion is violence. We have to listen to what Mother Teresa said about abortion: "Today's main destroyer of peace is abortion. Abortion is a war of parents against children in their wombs."
As Paul VI said, any crime against life is an attack and abortion is a terrible crime that destroys peace. Abortion is the beginning of all murders and a source of disregard for human life. Through abortion, crimes enters our lives.
4. Pope John Paul II said, "The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception. Therefore from that same moment the rights of that person must be recognized, especially the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life" (Evangelium vitae, 60). Therefore not only humans who are born but also every single fertilized egg, embryo and fetus are all human beings. Whether or not the parents, society and the sate recognize it, a human being possesses an inviolable right to life from the moment of conception. This right must be respected under all circumstances.
5. Our way to go is not the way of death and war but the way of life and peace. For this way of life and peace God sent His only Son into the world. Christ gives us everlasting life and peace by giving His life willingly for humanity on the cross (cf. Jn 14, 27). Through Him God has shown us that the way of human life is "giving oneself". Indeed, "giving oneself" is the way of life and peace that humanity has to follow. "For us, being at the service of life is not a boast but rather a duty" (Evangelium vitae, 79).
6. Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us promote the culture of life through the 'Life 31 Movement'.
We Christians are called to build a 'culture of life' by rejecting all forms of the 'culture of death'. To this end, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea decided at its 2003 Spring General Assembly to launch the 'Life 31 Movement' and promote the meaning and value of human life. This Movement is a general pro-life movement to build a new culture of life that respects and values life. We begin in 2003, the 31st year since the enactment of the Mother and Child Health Law that has led to the death of millions of innocent lives through illegal operations. Through this Movement we can make authentic democracy take root in this land and advance the peace and reconciliation of South and North Korea because "Only respect for life can be the foundation and guarantee of the most precious and essential goods of society, such as democracy and peace" (Evangelium vitae, 101).
Life is a genuine value and an irreplaceable gift from God. Let us become 'people of life' who appreciate the value of life and serve it. Let us make every effort to increase the number of 'people of life' so that through solidarity the new 'culture of life' may bloom in our society.
May God grant abundant grace upon all those working to protect and promote the value of life and the dignity of the human person "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10,10).
May 25, 2003
Ninth 'Day for Life'
+ Peter Lee Ki-heon
Bishop of Military Ordinariate of Korea President
Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry of the CBCK
Message on the 2003 Environment Day:
Environmental Preservation is the Foundation of Peace on Earth
On the occasion of the 2003 Environment Day, the Committee for Environment of the CBCK issued a message and asked the faithful to exert themselves to solve the environmental problems saying, "Preserving the integrity of the natural environment is another form of evangelization." Following is the full text of the message.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
The gift of nature is truly great. The fresh air of the mountains, clean water, the shining sun over the earth and the sea that takes in all pollutants are generous gifts of God to humankind. The beautiful creation of God has been tragically damaged in a short period of time. The voice of the people of the global village concerned about this has resounded in the whole world.
As a result the United Nations' Conference on the Human Environment was held, June 5, 1972, in Stockholm, Sweden. Pope Paul VI, who was Pontiff at that time, sent a special envoy to address the conference and said: "Human creativeness will yield true and lasting fruit only to the extent to which people respect the laws that govern nature's vital impulse and capacity for regeneration."
He spoke it again in his message on the World Day of the Environment, June 5, 1977, entitled "Give future generations a healthy environment", pointing out that the efforts of the international society to preserve the integrity of creation was not enough: "The intent of such an appeal demands more than just a renewal of effort. It calls for a change of mentality, for a conversion of attitude and of practice so that the rich willingly use less and share the earth's goods more wisely and more widely. It calls for a simplicity of life style and a society that intelligently conserves rather than needlessly consumes. It calls finally for a universal sense of solidarity in which each person and every nation plays its proper and interdependent role to ensure an ecologically sound environment not only for people today but also for future generations."
Regrettably, 25 years later, it seems that we still do not understand the full meaning of the Pope's message. Now, it is time to understand that the environmental problem is not an issue outside the Church but it is a problem of the Church. Therefore, we must exert ourselves to promote a healthy environment in the following ways
Firstly, we must be alert to endocrine disruptor
We produce quantities of substances of endocrine disruptor without awareness of the problem. If we continue this way the biological generative power will drop one day to the point that people will become unable to have children. This means that we are the ones who are involved in blocking the coming of future generations. In order to prevent this from happening we should avoid doing certain things such as burning chemical products like vinyl or plastics. It is also necessary to ban low-temperature incineration that discharges huge amounts of dioxin which is a carcinogenic and the main component of the endocrine disruptor.
Secondly, we must conserve energy
As Pope John Paul II is concerned that something like the U.S.-led war on Iraq with its immediate connection to the hegemony of oil will only destroy the peace of the global village. Therefore saving energy may be a small but precious step toward building peace on our planet. We also must also consider using alternative energy such as solar energy, wind energy and tidal energy.
Thirdly, we must appreciate water
This year is the United Nations' 'International Year of Water'. In the past clear and fresh water flowed from everywhere in our beautiful land in an abundant quantity. Even though not an 'oil producing country' Korea was a 'water producing country.' But today Korea has become a water shortage country and the price of potable water is even higher than that of oil. Therefore, we have to make every possible effort to stop polluting water. Families, for example, can use environmentally friendly detergents and reduce the use of shampoo and cleaning materials etc. Prior to constructing large dams, we have to plant trees that become 'green dams' by storing great quantities of water.
The Bible tells us today; "God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good" (Gn 1,31). We are called to a new mission, that is the mission of protecting the environment so that the gifts of nature that God grants to humankind can also be enjoyed by our descendants. Preserving the integrity of the natural environment is another form of evangelization in our times.
June 5, 2003
+ John Choi Young-soo
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Taegu President
Committee for Environment of the CBCK
The CBCK Makes its Position Clear on the Saemangeum Reclamation Pro.
The CBCK Makes its Position Clear
on the Saemangeum Reclamation Project
The Most Rev. John Choi Yong-soo, President of the Sub-Committee for Environment of the Committee for Justice & Peace of the CBCK, issued a statement on the environment in connection with the government's project to reclaim the Saemangeum mud flats in Buan, North Jeolla Province, about 250 kilometers south of Seoul. The statement was released during the inter-religious Prayer Meeting to Save the Saemangeum Mud Flats and to Stop the Construction of Tide Embankment held on May 25, at Yeouido Plaza, Seoul. He urged the government to stop the construction of the tide embankment in the Saemangeum as soon as possible and to look for alternative ways to aid the local people of Jeolla Province. Following is a summary of the statement.
"We pray that peace may overflow in the Saemangeum land and in the world. Today we have to listen to the teaching of Pope John Paul II: 'No peaceful society can afford to neglect either respect for life nor the integrity of creation.' (Message on World Day of Peace, 1990, No 7).
Nature holds the entire mystery of God's creation and its life force. Thus nature is the visible evidence that the work of creation is going on in this moment. Living with respect for life is the only way to obtain an everlasting life in God and to become God's genuine disciples. Destruction of the environment, caused by violence, war and human selfishness, comes from the absence of reverence for the mystery of God and the majesty of life in our lives and hearts. Our sincere appeal to save the Saemangeum mud flats is more than a simple movement to protect the environment and nature. It is a profound echo of people who seek new values of life and peace, and is an effort to build the spirit of coexistence and harmony, kindness and reconciliation with nature in the 21st century.
Peace in our society cannot be ensured without the spirituality of environment that respects the creation of God. We thank the four religious leaders from Catholic, Won Buddhist, Buddhist and Protestant, who made the 306km pilgrimage as well as the environmentalists and supporters who participated along the way. Indeed, they are apostles of life and peace for our time. They made the journey of 'Sam-bo-il-bae', meaning 'three steps and one bow', which started on March 28 from Buan, North Jeolla Province and ended in Seoul on May 31."
The Saemangeum reclamation project of the government, initiated in 1991, is aimed at turning 40,100 hectares of mud flats in the Saemangeum region into 28,300 hectares of farmland and a freshwater lake for irrigation.
Environmentalists from home and abroad argue it will destroy one of the world's five major wetlands and damage precious marine life. They say that the Saemangum mud flats is worth millions of dollars every year when considering their economic and environmental value, including their fisheries, filtering of pollutants and turnover of nutrients.
News from the Church in Korea
News From the Church in Korea
○ The CBCK Congratulates Buddhists on the 2547th Birthday of Buddha
On the occasion of the 2547th Birthday of Buddha, May 8, the Most Rev. Boniface Choi Ki-san, President of the Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue of the CBCK, sent a congratulatory message to Korean Buddhists. While wishing them an abundance of the mercy of Buddha, he asked them to work together for the cause of peace in the Korean peninsula and in the world. "Since the Second Vatican Council the Catholic Church has encouraged Catholics to acknowledge and preserve spiritual and moral goods found among other religions, as well as the values in their society and culture", the message read.
Bishop Choi expressed concern about the aftermath of the war in Iraq, especially the pain and grief of the victims. "There are many people who are suffering physically and mentally in Iraq as well as in our own surroundings, especially our brothers and sisters in North Korea who are not liberated yet from their difficult situation. At this juncture, our expectation of Buddhists is greater than ever." he said and wished to continue the friendly journey with Buddhists now and in the future.
○ Prof. Don Bosco Seong Youm Appointed Ambassador to the Holy See
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Korean Government made the official announcement June 12 that Professor Don Bosco Seong Youm, 60, was appointed the 10th Korean Ambassador to the Holy See. He left for his new post on June 18 after the ceremony of appointment at the Blue House.
"I will try to foster better understanding of the policy toward North Korea to insure solid support for peace in the Korean Peninsula through close contact with authorities of the Holy See and the diplomatic corps. The Holy See is in a good position to play a significant role to influence international opinion in favor of peace and security in the Korean peninsula. I will do my best to improve the relationship between the Holy See and North Korea during my term of office. I will also try to arrange the Holy Father's visit to North Korea as this is the hope of many people. The Holy See has no desire for war but has a strong desire for peace and the international community recognizes it. I promise to do my best with the help of God's grace to promote the relationship of South Korea and the Holy See," the new Korean Ambassador to the Holy See said.
Born in Gwangju, the new Ambassador to the Holy See graduated from the Catholic University of Gwangju in 1972 and obtained a master's degree in theology from the graduate school of the Catholic University of Gwangju in 1976. From 1981 to 1986 he studied Latin classical literature at Pontificia Studiorum Universitas Salesiana in Rome and obtained a doctorate in literature. He has taught Litteris Christianis et Classicis at Sogang University in Seoul since 1990.
○ New Spiritual Movement Contradicts Catholic Faith
The Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith of the CBCK (Pres.: Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok) published 「Movements and Trends Harmful to Healthy Faith Life II」 on April 21 with focus on the New Age Movement, the New Spiritual Movement and the 'Qi'(energy) Meditation Movement. Bishop Ahn explained the purpose of the publication: "First of all, it is to help the faithful to understand correctly the true nature of the Catholic faith and the mission of the Church, and to lead them to discern phenomena threatening healthy faith life." The Committee warned of the New Spiritual Movement in particular saying it is in great contradiction to Catholic faith because it denies the concept of One God or a personal God of Christianity and claims that what is natural is 'good' by demonstrating religious indifference. Also, the Committee pointed out that the New Spiritual Movement compromises the nature of the Church and Christ-centered religion by claiming that any methods are acceptable if they provide physical and mental health and peace. The Committee published 「Movements and Trends Harmful to Healthy Faith Life I」 in 1997.
○ Message on Labor Sunday Stresses the 'Priority of Labor Over Capital'
To mark the second diocesan Labor Sunday on April 27 the Most Rev. Boniface Choi Ki-san, Bishop of Inchon, issued a message which said, "We want to put into action the major concern and commitment of the Catholic Church for both Korean and migrant workers whose human rights are restricted under the shadow of economic development", and stressed "the principle of the priority of labor over capital"(Laborem exercens, 12). The message further pointed out that "The Catholic Church has taught the sacredness of labor in the name of Jesus Christ. However, humanization of the human rights of workers has not been realized yet, and workers are still caught in the conflicts and threats of a capital-centered viewpoint."
The Diocese of Inchon established Labor Sunday in 2002 for the first time in the Catholic Church in Korea, and decided to observe it on the Sunday nearest to May 1st, World Labor Day and the feast of St. Joseph, the patron of workers. Labor Sunday aims at protecting human rights and the dignity of laborers, helping the laborers and management to coexist in a collaborating and peaceful partnership.
○ The Legion of Mary Celebrates 50 Years in Korea
On May 8, the Legion of Mary of Korea held a congress at Gwangju World Cup Stadium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Legion of Mary to Korea. The theme of the congress was 'May They All Be One' (cf. Jn. 17,21). About 50,000 Catholics participated, including the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju and President of the Senatus of Mary, the Mediator, the Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, other bishops, priests and members of the Legion of Mary from 15 Dioceses in Korea. The Concilium Legionis Mariae, International Council of Legion of Mary, sent Mr. Thomas McCabe as a special envoy for the celebration. Pope John Paul II said in his congratulatory message, "May the great example of Mary always illuminate you, the members of the Legion of Mary," and encouraged them to "become witnesses to the power of the Gospel and the Trinity with a joyful and positive spirit." Archbishop Andres Choi expressed his appreciation syaing, "The Legion of Mary deserves to be called the pride and treasure of the Catholic Church in Korea, because it has contributed to the formation of a solid ecclesial community and has played an irreplaceable role in the growth of the Church in Korea."
The Legion of Mary in Korea has over 600,000 members and has 32,000 presidium throughout the country or 10 percent of the 330,000 presidium in the world. The Legion of Mary was introduced to Korea by the late Bishop Harold Henry, S.S.C., then the Bishop of Kwangju, in 1953.
○ Catholics and Government Agree to Carry Out a Joint Campaign to Promote Childbirth
The Committee of the 'Life 31 Movement' of the CBCK and the Ministry of Health and Welfare agreed to carry out a joint campaign to promote childbirth. Rev. Timothy Jung Yeon-jeong, Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the the Movement, Rev. Casimir Song Yul-sup, Secretary General of the CCK and Rev. Paul Lee Chang-young, Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Doctrine & Social Affairs of the CBCK met with the Minister of Health and Welfare at the National Medical Center in downtown Seoul on May 13. They decided to carry out a joint campaign to promote childbirth.
As the first step of collaboration both sides agreed to publicize the harmful effects of illegal operations, the government policy to promote childbirth, natural family planning, sex education for the youth and the nursery presently available to single mothers before adoption. The Catholic side asked the Minister to readjust the medical fee of natural delivery; to publicize the ovulation method; to amend article 15, no 3 of the enforcement ordinance of the Mother and Child Health Law and article 2 of the preventive measure of infectious disease that allows abortion in case of rubella, chicken pox and hepatitis.
○ Maryknollers Commemorate the 80th Year of Arrival in Korea
The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers celebrated the 80th anniversary of their arrival to Korea on May 9. Mass was offered for the reconciliation of South and North Korea. Some 400 people attended the event including His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, the Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, other bishops, religious and lay faithful. Together they thanked God for the 80 years of presence and apostolic work of the Maryknollers. Rev. John C. Sivalon, Superior General of Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, also came to Korea for the celebration. Rev. Gerard E. Hammond, Regional Superior in Korea, said in his address, "While I am overwhelmed with deep feelings recalling our work in this blessed land for 80 years, I cannot forget North Korea even at this moment," and promised "to continue to pray for the unification of Korea together with the Catholic Church in Korea."
Since they arrived in Korea in 1923, 185 Maryknollers including 131 priests, 9 brothers, 27 lay missionaries and 18 students worked here. Presently 24 Maryknoll Fathers are working in parishes and various fields of pastoral ministries and apostleship of the sea.
○ Fraternal Sharing of Korean Catholics with Iraqi People Continues
Korean Catholics' concern for the Iraqi people who are suffering in the aftermath of U.S.A.-led war in Iraq continues. On April 12, the "Caritas Coreana" of the CBCK and the Catholic Times launched a joint campaign for the relief of the Iraqi people. The Archdiocese of Seoul began by offering weekly Mass on Tuesday for the Reconciliation of Korea and Iraqi people at the Myeongdong Cathedral as well as in all parishes in the Archdiocese from April 8 to June 24. The Committee for Justice & Peace of the Archdiocese of Kwangju hosted a 3-day march of 76km on April 14 from Yeondong Parish in Mokpo City to Namdong Parish in Gwangju City to pray for Iraqi people and share their suffering.
Besides, fraternal efforts to help Iraqi people have been made by large and small groups and organizations throughout the country. The "Caritas Coreana" collected thirty three million won (US$27,500) as of May 14. It also plans to send medical teams, volunteers and construction technicians to Iraq if necessary. "To save our neighbors is to save ourselves, and it is a way to participate in the Resurrection of Christ," said Rev. Paul Jeremiah Hwang, Executive Secretary of the Caritas Coreana of the CBCK.
News in Brief
News in Brief
Rev. Dominic Pak Do-sik of the Archdiocese of Taegu, author of the 「Catechism for Catechumens」 died of cancer at the age of 68 on March 20. As a scholar and pastor, he wrote some 30 volumes of distinguished books on the basis of his broad experience and knowledge.
The Archdiocese of Seoul launched a Prayer Movement for Peace in the Korean peninsula and Iraq from April 8 to June 24 during which weekly Tuesday Mass was offered in all parishes and collections were taken up for Iraqi children.
His .Eminence. Stephen Cardinal Kim emphasized "reconciliation and cooperation" for the peaceful relationship between South and North Korea at a seminar held on April 12 to mark 40th anniversary of the promulgation of Pacem in Terris」, the Encyclical of Blessed Pope John XXIII.
Priests in the Diocese of Andong issued a Mission Statement on May 12, and resolved to proclaim the Kingdom of God through 'sharing and service, simple life and open mind.'. "God transformed our small and indigent farming diocese into a blessing and calls us to live out the spirituality of evangelical poverty." said the Most Rev. John Chrisostom Kwon Hyok-ju, Bishop of Andong
Rev. Jesus Molero Sanchez, 75, a Spanish Salesian priest, was awarded honorary citizenship with seven other people by the Seoul Metropolitan Government on May 25 during 'Hi Seoul Festival' for his 47 years of dedication to public service and education. He runs a youth center in Singil-dong in Seoul and free evening classes for poor children.
The Lives of the 103 Korean Martyr Saints Saint Kim Hyo-im Columba (1814-1839) The magistrate began his interrogation. First he asked them about their celibate life. "You are now of adult age, why are you not married?"
The Lives of the 103 Korean Martyr Saints (26)(2)
Saint Kim Hyo-ju Agnes (1816-1839)
Kim Hyo-im Columba replied: "We wish to keep our minds and bodies completely pure so that we can serve God faithfully and give Him even greater joy." Agnes gave the same response. The magistrate tried to use it against them. He thought that if they experienced insults and indignities disgraceful to them as virgins they would give in and renounce their faith.
He gave them over to some of the rougher guards with instructions to humiliate them further by making them dance the 'crane dance." This punishment consisted of stripping the prisoner tying his two hands behind his back, placing ropes between his arms and suspending him in a public place. Then four guards in turn whipped the prisoner with canes made from bamboo. After a few minutes foam would come out of the prisoner's mouth, his tongue would protrude and the color of his face would become dark blue. If he was not quickly lowered to the ground he would soon die. For women it was a particularly brutal torture.
The two sisters were dragged to a secluded cell, stripped of their clothes and tortured in that way. The coarse guards lost any sense of mercy and cut them down only when they were on the brink of death to give them a rest so that they could raise them up again and continue the cruelty. Despite the pain and insults Hyo-im Columba and Hyo-ju Agnes never lost their courage and never uttered a sound.
When the magistrate saw that even the 'crane dance' was not enough to make them change their minds he thought of an even more evil scheme. He decided to destroy the young women's virginity. If the virginity which they offered to God was soiled they might become discouraged and renounce their faith. He had their clothes removed and put them in among the male criminals. However God protected them there and for two days they survived unharmed among men who were accustomed to every sort of evil.
It was as if the Spirit covered them with His power. The men in the cell seemed to recognize some mysterious power in them and left them untouched. Eventually the guards returned their clothes to them and put them back in the cell with the other women. They were sent to the Ministry of Justice. The chief judge interrogated them.
"Is there no other way of practicing virtue and doing good besides entering the Catholic Church?"
Kim Hyo-im Columba answered distinctly:
"No, there is no other way."
"Don't you think Confucius and Mencius are sages then?"
"They are sages but only of this world."
Towards the end Kim Hyo-im Columba said, "A chief judge is said to be a father to the people. Therefore I would like to tell you what is on my mind. Please give me permission."
The chief allowed her to speak. Kim Hyo-im Columba then related what had happened to her sister and herself while they were in jail.
"Whether she is the daughter of a noble or a commoner, the chastity of a young woman has the right to be respected. If you want to kill me according to the law of the country, I will willingly accept the punishment. However I do not think it is right to have to suffer insults that are not part of the law and I object to them."
The chief judge was astonished at what she had to say and stated, "The chastity of this woman is as precious as a white jade. What kind of savages insulted her?" He ordered that the incident be investigated and the report sent to the Ministry of Justice.
The two sisters were brought from the court to be beaten and to receive further interrogation. Their inquisitors demanded them to reveal the whereabouts of other Catholics and their brother Anthony in particular. They refused to answer and by this chose the road of martyrdom.
On September 3, 1839, Kim Hyo-ju Agnes was beheaded outside the Small West Gate of Seoul with five other Catholics. Agnes was 24 years old.
On September 26, Kim Hyo-im Columba was beheaded at the same place with eight other Catholics. Columba was 26 years old.
The two sisters were canonized on May 6, 1984 at Yoido, Seoul, by Pope John Paul II.
Saint Kim Hyo-im Columba (1814-1839)
The magistrate began his interrogation. First he asked them about their celibate life. "You are now of adult age, why are you not married?"