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CBCK Newsletter No.44 (Fall 2003)

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From the Editor:

Christian Faith and the Mass Media

    From the time of promulgation of the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Means of Social Communication (Inter Mirifica) the Church has fundamentally affirmed the value of the mass media in the world today. The mass media have become a magnificent pathway whereby God's salvific activity is communicated to us. Nevertheless, the Church constantly alerts us about the role, power, and effect of the mass media on the lives of people. True, the mass media communicate news and are seen as a means of fostering peaceful relations. However, the mass media can also become a highly crafty means of manipulation and control of public opinion.
     In chapter 37 of the Book of Genesis we read how the brothers of Joseph stripped him of his tunic and sold him into slavery. They then dipped his tunic into the blood of a goat and gave their father the blood-stained clothes, reporting to him that their brother was devoured by wild animals. We see here an example of selective reporting that creates a distorted story. In his analysis of this biblical story, His Eminence Carlo Cardinal Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan, points out that at the root of the selective reporting and distorted story is the division, jealousy and disputatious attitude among the brothers. From this story we observe that when distortions to the truth occur, a person hides the true facts from others. Then the distorted story grows into false witness and false reporting. This false reporting is commonly used to stimulate and even misguide the deep feelings of others. For example, not just lying but especially showing the blood-stained clothes to Joseph's father inflamed his emotions and feelings of anger to the highest degree. Ultimately it was impossible for the father to accept the true facts concerning his son with calmness or objectivity.
     From this biblical story we understand that the distortion of truth and the false transmission of information must be guarded against, especially in the context of the mass media. In order to do this all of society, including every individual and every group, must do all they can to understand and accept one another. Here, especially, the role of the Christians is of great importance. I would like to emphasize that the mass media should always give central importance to the supreme dignity and truth concerning the personality and characteristics of each human person. For the sake of communicating this message, the nobility and the truth concerning the human person must be constantly guarded and protected, including even all the sacrifice and the bitterness contained in real life. This task can be accomplished through the efforts and cooperations of the entire Christian community.

+Augustine Cheong Myeong-jo
Bishop of Pusan
Vice President Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea

 

 

 

 

The Church in Korea Welcomes Two New Bishops

New Coadjutor Bishop of Taejon,

the Most Rev. Lazarus You Heung-sik

     The episcopal ordination of the Most Rev. Lazarus You Heung-sik, who was appointed as Coadjutor Bishop of Taejon by Pope John Paul II on July 9, took place at the Chungmu Gymnasium of Daejeon on August 19 with the Most Rev. Joseph Kyeong Kap-ryong, Bishop of Taejon, presiding.
     Concelebrating were His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, the Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, the Most Rev. Paul Tschang In-nam, Apostolic Nuncio to Bangladesh on a visit to Korea, and other bishops. Some 6,500 people attended the ceremony of the episcopal ordination and congratulated new bishop.
     Bishop Kyeong said to the new bishop in his homily, "Remember that you are chosen by God from people to do His work for them." He asked the new bishop to pray and offer the sacrifice for the flock God entrusted to him and to endeavor to receive necessary graces through Christ."
     Archbishop Giovanni Battista Morandini called attention in his congratulatory address to the 'light' in the new bishop's motto: "Light of the world." "I pray that the new bishop may become a pastor who guides the flock to the light of the Lord." He asked him to keep close relations with priests and seminarians.
     The new coadjutor bishop entrusted his episcopate to the Blessed Virgin Mary, saying, "Following the example of Mary who gave birth to Jesus, the light of the world, I will try to be in the Church a 'little Mary' who embraces all things in love."
     The Most Rev. You was born in 1951 in Nonsan-gun, Chungcheongnam-do, and was ordained a priest in 1979 in Rome. After obtaining a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Lateran University, he came back to Korea and served as the assistant priest of the Cathedral of Taejon, director of the Solmoe Retreat House, director of the Educational Center and the pastoral department of the Diocese of Taejon. He has taught at the Catholic University of Taejon since 1994.


Auxiliary Bishop of Kwangju

the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong

     The episcopal ordination of the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, who was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the Auxiliary Bishop of Kwangju on July 9, took place at Yeomju-dong Parish on August 18 with the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju, presiding.
Concelebrating were His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, the Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, the Most Rev. Paul Tschang In-nam, Apostolic Nuncio to Bangladesh on a visit to Korea, and other bishops. Some 3,500 attended the ceremony including priests, religious and the laity.
     Archbishop Andreas Choi, in his homily, spoke about the role of a bishop. "The episcopate is not a position to enjoy honor but to serve the people of God." he said and asked the new bishop to "become a humble servant, a faithful administrator and guardian of the divine work of Jesus Christ, and finally a pastor who offers his life for the flock."
     Archbishop Giovanni Battista Morandini, in his congratulatory address, stressed successful development of pastoral ministry of the Archdiocese as it responds to the needs of the times. "I hope that the pastoral ministry with the collaboration of the Archbishop and the new bishop will shine as a beacon so that everyone following the light finds the way to God and salvation." he said.
     In reply to the addresses, the new auxiliary bishop, the Most Rev. Kim said, "Following the pastoral guidance of the Archbishop and in collaboration with priests and listening to the voice of the faithful, I will do my best to serve the people of God and to perform my duty relying on the power of prayer and following the light of the Word as a humble servant of God, and always I will be ready to learn and serve."
     The Most Rev. Kim was born in 1947 in Mopko-si, Jeollanam-do and was ordained a priest in 1975 after graduating from the Catholic University of Kwangju. After obtaining a doctorate in the Church history from the Pontifical Gregorian University, he had taught at the Catholic University of Kwangju from 1983 to 2001. He has served as the pastor of Geumho-dong Parish in Kwangju since February 2002.

 

 

 

 

Message on the Eighth Farmers' Sunday'

'Rice is Our Life'

     On the occasion of the Eighth Farmers' Sunday on July 20, the Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun, President of the Committee for Caritas Coreana of the CBCK, issued a message titled "Rice is Our Life" and asked the faithful to support the Save-Our-Farm Movement saying, "The Korean farming community and the agricultural industry are facing today a serious crisis and this crisis is affecting both the farmers and whole nation." The following is the full text of the message.

     Dear Brothers and Sisters,
     On the third Sunday of July we celebrate Farmers' Sunday. Established by the CBCK in 1995, Farmers' Sunday is the day we remember the farmers who toil for our food and thank them for their labor. It is also a day when we reflect together with wisdom about how we can save our rural community now in serious difficulties.
     The Church in Korea launched Save-Our-Farm Movement in 1994 to protect our rural community as it faces a serious crisis due to the Uruguay Round Agreement. In order to develop this Movement into a pan-religion movement, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea established Farmers' Sunday on the third Sunday of July, the busiest season for farmers. Centers were established in each diocese and living-agricultural communities were organized around villages and secondary stations by the Korean Catholic Farmers' Movement to promote living-agriculture.
     In the cities also the faithful have set up a sister communities (living-agriculture communities) to promote solidarity with farmers by consuming farm items produced by these communities.
     Despite our efforts the situation of the rural community has worsened. With the inauguration of WTO (World Trade Organization) in 1995, a total of 1,312 items of agricultural products were opened to import thereby making a serious impact on Korean farmers and Korean agricultural industry. As a result, the income of farm households has dropped day by day while debts have increased. Farm communities are being destroyed and farmers are leaving their farm land. Only 3,590,000 farmers or 7.5 percent of the total rural population have remained in rural regions for farming. The WTO's negotiation for agricultural products, planned to be settled by the end of 2004, is pushing toward the total opening of our agricultural market. The so-called WTO/DDA project aims at the complete opening of the agricultural market by sharply reducing tariffs and farming subsidies by the government. If the agreement is made as the export countries want, it will be difficult for our agricultural industry to survive. Furthermore, if the free trade pact with Chile, one of the world's agricultural powers, is concluded, this will be a signal announcing the end of our agriculture. Moreover, the rice market, for which the Uruguay Round allowed a 10-year period of grace for tariffs, will become a subject of round table negotiations next year, an even further step towards opening the agricultural market. This is to say, our agriculture is faced with total crisis.
     The problem is that this crisis is not limited to the rural population only but will make an impact to whole nation. Thus, it is a national problem. The Korean farming community and agricultural industry are now facing a serious crisis and this crisis is affecting both the farmers and whole nation. In the long-run, opening the agricultural market will threaten food security by dropping the self-supply rate of food. This in turn will affect the health of the people because of the problems involved in importing agricultural products like long period of storage and transportation. Moreover, it is obvious that our environment, once called 'beautiful land', will be rapidly destroyed threatening the creation order of God.
     Apart from its productive function, agriculture benefits the public in multiple domains that cannot be calculated in money and that cannot be restored once they are destroyed. Agriculture plays an especially important role in flood regulation, air purification and the building up of water resources. It is for these irreplaceable values of agriculture that advanced countries do not hesitate to invest enormous funds from their budgets to protect the agriculture of their own countries.

     Dear Brothers and Sisters!
     Rice is our life. Rice, our primary crop which occupies 74.9 percent of Korean farm households and accounts for 54 percent of total farm income, has been the basis of Korean farm economics and the life and culture of the Korean people for five thousand years. Moreover, agriculture is a life industry in which man and nature collaborate and participate together in the creative work of God. The Church is committed to the development of the Save-Our-Farm Movement because the farm community is the ground of life where all living things exist and live together according to the order of creation. Saving our rice industry and farm community is also a way of overcoming today's grave problems of life, environment and agriculture. It is a way to restore the order of creation that comes from God.
     When "the farmers are dismayed"(Jr 14,1) and "in your very presence aliens devour land"(Is 1,7) how can we stand idle?
     God who is life is the farmer (cf, Jn 15,1). Farmers who take care of nature and serve life are guardians of life and participants in the creating work of God. As Jesus gave us his body as food, farmers also toil to provide us with food. On this particular occasion of Farmers' Sunday we invite all of you to think of farmers and their hard labor as well as the importance of agriculture. We invite all of you to join the Save-Our-Farm Movement as it strives to protect life, the environment and agriculture at this critical time and to preserve the integrity of creation order of God.

July 20, 2003
Eighth Farmers' Sunday
+ Gabriel Chang Bong-hun
Bishop of Cheongju President
Committee for Caritas Coreana of the CBCK

 

 

 

 

Message on 2003 Prayer Day for Reconciliation and Unity...

'We Cannot Accept War Under the Name of Human Rights and Peace'

     On the occasion of the 2003 Prayer Day for Reconciliation and Unity of Korean People on June 22, the Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, President of the Committee for the Reconciliation of Korean People, issued a message and invited the faithful to clean out all hatred and wounds of division in Christian and fraternal forgiveness so as to avoid war on the Korean Peninsula. "The desire of the Catholic Church in Korea is permanent settlement of peace and evangelization of the Korean Peninsula," he said, "We cannot accept war under the name of human rights and peace," he noted. The following is the full text of the message.

     Dear Brothers and Sisters,
     Three years have already passed since we celebrated the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, but we are still far from enjoying real peace. Innocent people and children are killed in war in many places in the world while growing tension between North Korea and the United States over the development of North Korea's nuclear weapons threatens peace on the Korean peninsula. At this juncture we need to pray to God in one voice for peace.
     Pope John Paul II emphasized in his Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente that the Jubilee is a "year of the Lord's favour, a year of the remission of sins and of the punishments due to them, a year of reconciliation between disputing parties"(Tertio millennio adveniente, no 14). If we are not blessed fully with the grace of the Jubilee it might be because we are not able to accept people who think differently from us, to repent sincerely our sins and to convert ourselves.
     The Church in Korea changed the title of the "Prayer Day for the Church in Silence" that was used since 1965 into the "Prayer Day for Reconciliation and Unity of Korean People" in 1992 to make it a more positive expression instead of focusing on 'division'. Twelve years have passed since this change was made. However, for many Catholics the Church in North Korea is still a Church in silence.
     Since the time North Korea appealed to the international society for aid the Church in Korea has tried to respond to it through various activities, especially to help North Koreans in starvation. In this process we have tried through the Association of North Korean Catholics to share our Catholic faith with North Koreans and germinate the seeds of the Gospel in North Korea. As a result of our efforts we had the joy of welcoming a group of the faithful from the Jangchung church in Pyeongyang on March 2. They assisted at Mass with us at the Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul, the symbol of peace, unity and reconciliation of Korean people. This was indeed an historial event.
     Nevertheless, we have to examine ourselves to see if we have made enough efforts in the eyes of God to understand and help our North Korean brothers and sisters in need.

     Dear Brothers and Sisters,
     The Church in Korea established June 25, the day the Korean War broke out in 1950, as the "Prayer Day for Reconciliation and Unity of Korean People" to engrave in our hearts and minds the precious value of peace and to remind ourselves of the role of the Church in healing the wounds of the division. In order to prevent war on the Korean peninsula and realize peace and reconciliation of our people we have to wash out from our heart all hatreds and pains of division in forgiveness. We have to learn to think in the place of the others and tolerate their shortcomings.
     On the one hand what North Korea wants with its nuclear program is the assurance of security from the Unites States and on the other hand it wants to be part of the international society and its member by making efforts for self-transformation. North Korea's effort to change can be successful only with help of the international society, especially with our collaboration. In this context, what our society and the Church can do is to help and encourage their efforts to change and not to cause unexpected acts by wrong judgement.
     Our desire is to secure permanent peace in the Korean peninsula and to evangelize North Korea. For this, we need prayer, conversion and unconditional love and forgiveness. Especially we have to clean out all the sediments of hatred deep in our hearts and not consider the people of the North as a burden and neglect them. Peace will sprout in our minds and grow up when we recognize humbly the infinite love of God and examine our consciences on how we have and have not accepted our North Korean brothers and sisters as they are and share their suffering.

     Dear Brothers and Sisters,
     We have to continue praying for the reconciliation and the unity of our people until the day the peace of Christ is ultimately secured in this land and try to live out what we pray for. To this end we need self-examination and conversion, and we need to help North Koreans, especially North Korean Catholics in their difficult situation. To achieve peace in our land we should not forget to pray for the conversion of political leaders of both Koreas as well as those of the world, and ask Christ for the gift of peace.
     In many places of the world wars are made with the claim of standing up for human rights while certain people think that it is all right to make war to ameliorate human rights' condition of North Korean people. Of course, human rights are very important. But we cannot accept wars under the name of human rights and peace.
     We are grateful that exchange and cooperation between the two Koreas continue despite the intensifying difficulties and tension around the Korean peninsula. Above all, I want to make a special mention regarding the re-connection of the Gyeongui railroad. Following upon the re-connection ceremony of June 14, we can expect that the day will come soon when we can go to Pyeongyang and Sinuiju via the Dorasan and Gaeseong railroad stations. Let us keep hope and trust in God who will grant peace to this land if we persevere in prayer, charity and forgiveness. Let us pray for the political leaders of the two Koreas so that they may find a way to break deadlocks with wisdom in this difficult situation. Finally we pray to God that He grant His abundant peace to our brothers and sisters in the North while wishing to share divine grace with them. Thank you.

June 22, 2003
+ Lucas Kim Woon-hoe
Auxiliary Bishop Archdiocese of Seoul President
Committee for the Reconciliation of Korean People

 

 

 

 

'Is Peace Between South and North Korea Possible?'

'Is Peace Between South and North Korea Possible?'

      The following is the text of the address given by His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan made at the seminar held by the Committee for Justice & Peace of the CBCK to mark the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of Pacem in Terris, the Encyclical of the Blessed Pope John XXIII. The seminar was held at the Myeongdong Catholic Center on April 12, 2003.

     Dear Brothers and Sisters,
     As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the encyclical letter of Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, it is timely to reflect on peace in the Korean peninsula where peace is yearned for more eagerly than in any other place in the world. Pope John XXIII who convoked the Second Vatican Council on October 11, 1962 published his epic encyclical letter, on Holy Thursday, 11 April 1963, addressing himself to "all men of good will" after the first session of the Council. The Encyclical Letter which focused on peace issues of all nations attracted much attention from people for it was the first message of its kind addressed to not only Catholics but to all people.
     The Pope summed up his message of Pacem in Terris in the first paragraph:?Peace on earth, which all men of every era have most eagerly yearned for, can be firmly established and sustained only if the order laid down by God be dutifully observed.?
     Beside the strong appeal for peace, he defined the concept of peace and elaborated the concept of human rights in a more refined way by inserting the social teaching of the Church in it and reducing excessive individualism in the domain of human rights guaranteed by the Declaration of the French Revolution (des droits de l'homme et du citoyen), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations in 1948 and the Declaration of Independence of the United States. Unlike the previous Popes, who limited the audience to the Catholics, Pope John XXIII's encyclical Pacem in Terris was addressed to all people of good will thus opening wide the window of the Church to the world. In this way Pacem in Terris has become the first encyclical that made clear that the social teaching of the Church is not only for the Church or the faithful but for all societies and all peoples with no exception. Pope John XXIII's intention in convoking the council was to renew the Church by opening the window of the Church to the world and bring about a new wind of the Holy Spirit. With the Second Vatican Council he announced the end of old times with long traditions and wanted to renew the Church on the basis of the Gospel and love of God. For this he was recognized and highly esteemed as a Pope who opened a new page in the history of the Church.
     The encyclical was first introduced to Korea by The Catholic Times. In Korea, Catholic university students were the first stratum who showed a reaction to the Encyclical and welcomed it with enthusiasm.
     The essential conditions for peace which the Pope confirmed in his encyclical are 'Truth, Justice, Charity and Freedom'. They are four key pillars of peace and demands of the human spirit. I invite you to reflect and make self-examination in the following area in view of realizing the reconciliation and unity of South and North Korea: Are the truth, justice, charity and freedom that Pope John XXIII has proposed also our fundamental values? Are the political climate and system of South and North Korea based on these values? Are our pursuit of peace and our desire for unity based on these values?
     North Korea's nuclear issue is a pressing concern for our peace on the Korean peninsula. However, we have no clear solution yet. We have to consider seriously the big difference of viewpoints and values between South and North Korea. If we consider only the free democracy of South Korea and the priority of the military system of North Korea, peace seems to be impossible. However, Pope John XXIII, who inspired even the communists, declared that peace is possible. Therefore we can say that peace in the Korean peninsula is possible if we seek it with sincere hearts and prayers.
     Promotion of exchanges in political, economic and cultural domains will help greatly to advance peace between the two Koreas. For this, we need people who truly value humanism, the dignity of the human person and the fundamental rights of human beings in their most profound meaning. As Pope John Paul II stated it, we cannot think of the question of peace separately from the question of human rights and the dignity of the human person.
     Pope John Paul II insisted again on peace and justice in his message on the World Day for Peace 2003. "Truth will build peace if every individual sincerely acknowledges not only his rights, but also his own duties towards others. Justice will build peace if in practice everyone respects the rights of others and actually fulfills his duties towards them. Love will build peace if people feel the needs of others as their own and share what they have with others, especially their values of mind and spirit. Freedom will build peace and make it thrive if, in the choice of the means to that end, people act according to reason and assume responsibility for their own actions." In a word, peace is certainly possible if we love our neighbor as ourself in accord with the Gospel.

 

 

 

 

 

News from the Church in Korea

News from the Church in Korea

○ Holy Father Sent Telegram for Victims of Typhoon Maemi While Entire Church in Korea Engaged in Storm Relief-Work
     His Holiness Pope John Paul II on September 14 sent telegram by way of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, to the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju, President of the CBCK, concerning the typhoon Maemi that slammed the nation hitting the southern coast of South Korea on September 12. On September 15, Korea's main TV News Hours and Nwspapers reported the Holy Father's concern, solidarity and prayers for the victims.
     "Deeply saddened by the news of the great loss of life caused by the typhoon that struck South Korea, the Holy Father prays for the victims and their families. (...) And he invokes Almighty God's blessing of strength and comfort upon all the afflicted." the telegram read.
     All dioceses of typhoon-hit regions are fully engaged in relief-work with help of other dioceses.
The Committee for Caritas Coreana (Pres.: Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun) immediately sent emergency relief aid of 15 million won (US$13,050) to the Diocese of Masan and 10 million won(US$8,700) to the Diocese of Pusan, the hardest-hit regions.
     The Catholic Social Service of Seoul offered 280 million won (US$243,600) of relief aid for the eight Dioceses including the Diocese of Masan and Pusan. Dioceses, parishes, organizations and individual faithful are invited to make donations, take up collections, and send volunteers to the churches of the flooded districts.
According to reports, the typhoon Maemi inundated about 16,000 hectares of rice paddies and orchards in southern regions days before harvest and 127 people have been confirmed dead or missing.

○ The Last Letter of St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon to Fellow Priests Opened to the Public
     On the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests on June 27, the Research Foundation of Korean Church History opened to the public the last letter of St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon addressed to his fellow priests. St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean priest who died a martyr and the patron of Korean priests, wrote the letter to his fellow priests from prison on July 30, 1846, a month and half before his martyrdom on September 16. Father Thomas Choi Yang-eop, then a deacon in Hongkong, transcribed the letter and delivered it to Paris Foreign Missions Society with the original copy. Both the original copy and its transcript were shown to the Korean Catholics on this occasion for the first time.
     The letter written in Latin tells about the persecution in Korea and asks the French Consul to write to the King of Korea requesting freedom of religion for the Korean people. He concludes the letter entrusting his mother to Father Thomas Choi Yang-eop, his close friend and the second Korean priest.

○ Diocese of Pusan and Diocese of Kaohsiung Establish Sister Relationship
     On July 20, the Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myong-jo, Bishop of Pusan, visited His Eminence Paul Cardinal Shan Quo-hsi, Bishop of Kaohsiung, Taiwan and established a sister relationship between the two dioceses and promised pastoral collaboration. According to the statistics as of the end of 2000, the Diocese of Kaohsiung, the second most important port-city of Taiwan, has 55 parishes and 46,000 faithful. Out of this number only about 10,000 faithful attend Sunday Mass.
     The Diocese of Pusan expects to provide pastoral collaboration with its counterpart Diocese in need of evangelization by sending missionaries and by providing other necessary helps. This in turn will serve as a bridge to mission on the Mainland of China.

○ Memorial Monument Erected in Paris for French Missionary Martyrs in Korea
     On June 21, a monument was erected in Rue du Bac in Paris to commemorate the martyr saints of the Paris Foreign Missions Society who gave their lives for the evangelization of Korean people.
     The monument was given by the faithful of Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul in January 2003 in appreciation for the sacrifice of the French missionaries who died as martyrs to announce the Kingdom of God to Korean people 150 years ago. Some 230 Korean Catholics residing in Paris along with members of the Paris Foreign Missions Society attended the unveiling ceremony of the monument and recalled the precious sacrifice of the French missionaries martyred as they proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ among Korean people.
     The Society expressed its gratitude to the Korean Catholics, saying, "In our 400-year history of mission work, it is the first time we have received a gift like this one to commemorate our missionaries martyred in the country where they were sent."
     Father Etcharren, Superior General of the Society, said at the ceremony, "This monument shows the vitality of the Catholic Church in Korea that is making important contributions to missionary work in many parts of the world."
     The Society sent first missionaries to Korea in 1831 and 25 members died as martyrs during the persecutions of 1839, 1846 and 1866. Ten of them including three bishops and seven priests were canonized on May 6, 1984 in Seoul by Pope John Paul II.

○ Mass for the Unity of Korean People Offered
     On June 22, the Day of Prayer for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People, the Committee for the Reconciliation of Korean People of the CBCK offered Mass for the unity of Korean People at Dorasan Railroad Station located in the DMZ, the northernmost South Korean station on the Gyeongui Line linking Seoul and the North Korean city of Sinuiju.
     Some 6,000 Catholics from 14 dioceses attended the Mass and prayed with one heart for the healing of the pains and wounds caused by division, and for the reconciliation and peaceful reunification of Korea. The Mass was concelebrated by His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, the Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, and the Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi, Archbishop of Taegu.
     Cardinal Kim, concerned over the decreasing interest of the faithful in helping North Koreans in difficulties, called for prayer and actions, saying, "We will be able to lead our lives as God wills when we pursue charity, fraternity, freedom and equality."

○ Frist Bishop of Ulaanbaatar Thanks Church in Korea for Mission Support
     "Mongolia, a barren world for the Catholic Church in the past, has begun to reap the fruits of evangelization. For this, we want to express our gratitude to the Church in Korea for sending missionaries and other supports," said the Most Rev. Wenceslao S. Padilla, CICM, the first Bishop of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
     His Eminence Cardinal Crecenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, presided at the ceremony of the episcopal consecration of bishop Wenceslao S. Padilla and at the blessing of the cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar on August 29-30 respectively. Cardinal Sepe expressed special appreciation for the role and contribution of Korean priests and religious in mission in Mongolia and asked for further collaboration.
     The CBCK has helped the Church in Mongolia over the past seven years and now there are three Korean priests and two religious congregations in mission. Father Robert Lee Jun-hwa from the Diocese of Taejon, the first Korean missionary priest in Mongolia, started his mission work in 1997 with a wheat farm and by developing underground water for local inhabitants through digging wells. The Catholic mission in Mongolia was opened in 1992 by the Fathers of Immaculate Heart of Mary and now it has 177 Catholics.

○ The Sacrament of Confirmation Conferred to 208 Policemen
     The Committee for Police Pastoral Ministry of the Archdiocese of Seoul held a Confirmation ceremony for a group of 208 policemen on June 29 at the Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul with the Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seoul, presiding. It was the first time that such large number of policemen received the Sacrament of Confirmation in a group since the Committee was established in September, 2000. These 208 policemen are from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Office, the mobile police forces in Seoul area, and the retired policemen's association. Most of them had difficulties in fulfilling Church observances due to the demands of their work. Some of them had to learn the catechism for Confirmation by themselves during their break time.
     Considering such abundant fruit by the Committee over three years since its establishment, the Archdiocese of Seoul plans to promote it further and hopes the Catholic policemen will become important missioners in their environment.

○ Symposium Stresses Importance of Pastoral Care for the Family
     The importance of pastoral care for families was stressed at the symposium on the family hosted by the Pastoral Institute of Korea of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea and the Catholic Times. "Future of the Family, Future of the Church" was the theme of the symposium held at Cost Hall of Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul on July 5.
     The participants called upon the Church to promote pastoral ministry for families pointing out that the crisis of families in our times is especially reflected in the plague of divorce and the collapse of traditional family system in Korean society.
     The Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, President of the Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry of the CBCK, emphasized the indissolubility of marriage in his keynote address saying, "The most precious duty of Christian couples in our times is to witness to the indissolubility of marriage and the great value of fidelity."
     Ms. Gwak Bae-hee, Director of the Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations, pointed out the gender inequality as the key element in divorces. "The recent increase of divorces following upon the claims of women, especially older women who have endured many sacrifices under the patriarchal family system is a good example."
     Rev. Casimir Song Yul-sup, Secretary General of the CBCK, suggested new pastoral approaches to family ministry such as the recognition of the family as the agent and center of family pastoral ministry. He proposed systematic education for families with priority given to family pastoral ministry and to the establishment of an institute for this purpose.
     His Eminence Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, President of Pontifical Council for the Family, sent a message of encouragement, saying, "The family, based on marriage, remains the good news which Christ has brought us and the heart of the new evangelization for our times."

○ Average Age of Korean Bishops Gets Younger
     With the appointment of two new bishops on July 9, the Catholic Church in Korea now has 22 active and nine retired bishops. The average age of the bishops has been lowered to 60.7. Three are in their seventies, eight in their sixties, ten in their fifties, and one in his forties. The Most Rev. John Chrisostom Kwon, Bishop of Andong, is the youngest at the age of 46.
     Three bishops were appointed to episcopate in the 1970s, two in the 1980s, eight in the1990s and nine since 2000. 15 of the bishops were appointed during last ten years, accounting for 68 percent of the 22 active bishops.
     The dioceses with more than two bishops are Seoul (the Archbishop and three auxiliary Bishops), Taegu (the Archbishop and one auxiliary Bishop), Kwangju (the Archbishop and one auxiliary Bishop), Taejon (the Bishop and the Coadjutor Bishop), Suwon (the Bishop and one auxiliary Bishop).

 

 

 

 

News in Brief

News in Brief

     On September 20, the Episcopal Commission for Clergy & Religious of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea issued Exhortaion titled "The Church draws her life from the Eucharist" and exhorted priests to celebrate daily Mass saying, "The fundamental reason for being priest consists in the Eucharist."

   Under the initiative of the Committee for the Reconciliation of Korean People of the CBCK, the representatives of the Committees of each diocese made a five-day visit to North Korea from July 29 to August 2. The delegation reaffirmed the need to help North Koreans attain their self-support not just to give short-term or one-time food aid.

    Sound public opinion and social consensus are necessary to heal a society that is split by ideological polarization and conflicts between generations, classes and regions," said His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan in an interview with 'upkorea.net', a newly founded internet news paper.

    The Committee for Abolishing Capital Punishment under the Committee for Justice & Peace of the CBCK has decided to take further step in the anti-capital punishment campaign and to look for effective ways to rouse public opinion on the issue. It will publicize news and activities of the campaign, spread stories about condemned criminals through email(mailing service) newsletter, and will offer pastoral care to victims' families.

    Father Matthias Kim Sung-hun, 64, died of a chronic disease on September 2 at St. Mary's Hospital in Yoido, Seoul. Known as one of the prominent figures of democratization under the military dictatorships of Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan since the 1970s, he advanced democratization of Korean society by disclosing the fabricated story of the death of Park Jong-cheol, a student of Seoul National University engaged in anti-military activity against the dictatorship in 1987.

    The members of the Catholic Theological Association of Korea from seven Catholic Universities in Korea agreed at their general assembly in July to consolidate inter-seminary collaboration through the exchange of information on the formation of seminarians, exchange of material and human resources, and exchange of opinions between priest professors.

 

 

 

The Lives of the 103 Korean Martyr Saints
The Lives of the 103 Korean Martyr Saints (27)

Saint Chong Kuk-bo Protasius(1799-1839)

     Chong Kuk-bo Protasius was born in Songdo, Kyonggi Province in 1799 to a noble family. At the time of his birth his family was both influential and wealthy. However his grandfather made many mistakes and irregularities which ruined the family. Protasius' father who wanted to live as a commoner hiding the nobility of his family moved to Seoul and worked in a straw rope factory operated by the government with his son Protasius.
     Protasius was a man of a mild and humble disposition. Even in the midst of poverty and hardship he was gentle and kind to everybody.
     He was over thirty before he heard of the Catholic Church and although he obtained faith late in life he eagerly studied the teachings and faithfully practiced them. He was baptized few years later.
     Father Yu Bang-je, Chinese priest, recognizing Protasius' faithfulness, entrusted him with a newly bought house. The house was a resting place for Catholics who came up to Seoul from the country to receive the sacraments. Protasius looked after it and cared for the guests.
     With his wife he offered himself totally in service for others and both husband and wife were models of Christian living. However, misfortune dogged them continuously. Apart from their extreme poverty, Protasius was not healthy. They had fourteen children but they all died in infancy one by one until none was left. Protasius accepted all these trials as the will of God and bore them without complaint in union with Christ on the Cross. He was always anxious to read religious books and eager to listen to the sermons and teaching of Father Yu Bang-je and the catechists.
     When the Kihae persecution broke out in April of 1839 Protasius and his wife were among the first to be arrested and taken to prison. There he was subjected to extreme torture and investigation but he refused to give up his religion.
     But when he was sent to the higher court, he was tempted by officials' soft-talking and promises. In addition his physically weak state aggravated by hard punishment weakened his heart. He finally gave into the temptation and declared that he would renounce his faith. He was immediately released from prison and sent home but the moment he arrived there he was struck with remorse. He deeply repented his apostasy and could not eat nor sleep. He spent all his time in grief, tears and prayers of repentance.
     Encouraged by his fellow Catholics he decided to confess his faith. He went to the court to surrender himself and tell the judge that he would retract his apostasy.
     "What have you come back for?' the guards asked.
     "I betrayed the Church but now I repent. I must retract my denial of the Church as the truth. As a faithful believer in Christ and the Church I will do penance for my sin. I must tell the judge this."
     "See here, you idiot! What you have done cannot be undone. You cannot change it, so clear off," the guards replied.
     The guards ignored him and treated him as an insane man while Protasius kept going to the court. But the guards did not allow him to see the judge.
     On the third day he went back again. Protasius was plagued by sickness so he walked with great difficulty. Again the guards refused to admit him to see the judge. This time he waited outside the court until the judge came out, and finally met him. This was May 12.
     Protasius told the judge that he wanted to retract his apostasy saying,
     "I am a sinner but I have repented my apostasy. I am a Cahtolic believer and have come to do penance for my sin. I want to die as a Catholic. Please have me killed. "
     The judge who was annoyed with his persistence finally ordered to put him back in prison. Once inside the prison Protasius gave thanks to God. He was welcomed by his fellow Catholics in prison and overwhelmed with the joy of returning to the Church and becoming a martyr.
     The day Protasius returned to prison the two sisters, Kim Hyo-im Columba and Kim Hyo-ju Agnes, gave witness to their faith in God by bearing their tortures bravely.
     Protasius was taken out to the court again, and was beaten with a cudgel twenty-five times. Because he had gone back on his denial the torturers beat him with more ferocity, leaving already weak Protasius close to death.
     Seeing he was suffering from typhoid fever, the guards returned him to prison. When he returned to prison he was half dead. He died a few hours later of that night. It was May 20, 1839. He was forty-one years old.
     Chong Kuk-bo Protasius was the first to win the martyrdom after the government's order to persecute Catholics was issued in April, 1839. His initial weakness was turned into victory by his true faith.
     Like the apostle Peter, Chong Kuk-bo Protasius stands as a model of repentance. At the time of his death he inspired many others to repent of their weakness and denial of the truth. He continues to be an example for us today.
     Chong Kuk-bo Protatius was canonized on May 6, 1984 at Yoido Plaza, Seoul, by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.

List of Articles
No. Subject Date
47 CBCK Newsletter No.47 (Summer 2004) Aug 27, 2009
46 CBCK Newsletter No.46 (Spring 2004) Aug 27, 2009
45 CBCK Newsletter No.45 (Winter 2003) Aug 27, 2009
» CBCK Newsletter No.44 (Fall 2003) Aug 27, 2009
43 CBCK Newsletter No.43 (Summer 2003) Aug 27, 2009
42 CBCK Newsletter No.42 (Spring 2003) Aug 27, 2009
41 CBCK Newsletter No.41 (Winter 2002) Aug 27, 2009
40 CBCK Newsletter No.40 (Fall 2002) Aug 27, 2009
39 CBCK Newsletter No.39 (Summer 2002) Aug 27, 2009
38 CBCK Newsletter No.38 (Spring 2002) Aug 27, 2009
37 CBCK Newsletter No.37 (Winter 2001) Aug 27, 2009
36 CBCK Newsletter No.36 (Fall 2001) Aug 27, 2009
35 CBCK Newsletter No.35 (Summer 2001) Aug 27, 2009
34 CBCK Newsletter No.34 (Spring 2001) Aug 27, 2009
33 CBCK Newsletter No.33 (Winter 2000) Aug 27, 2009

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