CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter

 

 

 

From the Editor:

 

On the Occasion of 50th Anniversary of National Liberation

 

  Happy Easter to All of You!


  The Korean Catholic Church has journeyed together with the Korean people for 50 years since national liberation from Japanese colonialism. During these 50 years, the Korean Catholic Church realized a remarkable growth which is unusual in the contemporary history of world Churches. Today, internally, the Korean Church wants to reflect and take a sincere look at her mission for the salvation of the Korean people, while called by the world to play an appropriate role of responsibility suitable to her position.
  50 years ago, Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule and was offered a new life. However, the leaders of South and North Korea, caught in the international climate of the Cold War, did not make good use of the opportunity and finally Korea was divided into two nations moving towards confrontation.

  Today, after 50 years of liberation, another opportunity is being given to the Korean people. At this moment the first mission of the Korean Catholic Church is to achieve national reconciliation by overcoming divisions and longstanding hatred.

  The mission of the Church is to work for the salvation of the world, as the Vatican Council IT states. In the case of Korea, our national division is an obstacle for the Church in fulfilling her mission of salvation. Therefore the commitment of he Church to reunification is part of her mission in the contemporary Church.

  From socio-religious studies we understand that the development of the Church is directly connected with how Church leaders relate to their national issues, In other words, the Church that tries to respond to the demands of people is
recognized and accepted positively by the people. Therefore, interest in and striving for the reconciliation of the nation is not only part of the Church's mission but has important significance for a Church that wants to be part of Korea. That is a concrete way to work for the universal salvation of the Korean people. The effort and contribution of the Catholic Church in this area will have an impact on the Church both now and in the future.
  In this respect, the current move of the Catholic Church in Korea towards the reconciliation of the nation and mission of North Korea is encouraging and hopeful. Along with the Korean people the Church is determined to make a sincere reflection on the past 50 years from the perspective of national liberation, and to present a vision of Church for the future while attending to the present reality. In 1982, the Bishops' Conference of Korea established the North Korea Evangelization Committee that has made a steady journey to the present. In 1993, a Northern Mission Conference was launched and that was followed by establishment of the Advisory Committee in 1994. Finally, a seminar on reunification will be held during the 1995 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK on March 20. This is a wise and hopeful initiative of the Korean Bishops, which will be blessed by the abundant grace of God.


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

 

 

 

Tracing 30 Years of Reunification Movement in the Catholic Church


 

  Concern of the Catholic Church in Korea for national reunification and the mission in North Korea first emerged in 1965 with the establishment of the Prayer Day for the Silent Church of North Korea and the formulation of a prayer for that occasion. That was the first visible sign of concern in the Catholic Church of South Korea for its Northern counterpart since the nation was divided into two parts after national liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. By making an official prayer text and Prayer Day for the Silent Church in North Korea, the Church in SK marked a significant step. However the prayer text was somewhat inspired by Cold War ideology.
  The first Church organization concerned with the Catholic Church in North Korea was the North Korea Mission Department established as part of the preparatory work for the bicentennial anniversary celebration of the Catholic Church in Korea in 1982. Eventually it was restructured as an affiliated organization of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) in 1984 and was renamed the North Korea Evangelization Committee.   Since then, the North Korea Evangelization Committee founded the Reunification Pastoral Research Institute to establish a firm basis for reunification pastoral ministry by promoting theological studies.
  The first Catholic priest who visited North Korea in March 1984 and celebrated mass since the division was Rev. Matthew Ko, pastor of the Korean Catholic community in Canada. Then, in September, 1985, Bishop Daniel Tji Haksoon visited Pyongyang as a member of the Homeland Visitors of Separated Families, organized by the Red Cross. Bishop Tji celebrated Mass at the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang. In June 1987, Rev. John Chang Ik (presently Bishop of Chunchon) was the third priest who visited Pyongyang and said Mass. He attended, as a Vatican delegate, the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers' meeting held in Pyongyang in 1986.
  The 19808 were times of struggles for democratization and reunification in South Korea and that naturally influenced the Church too. In 1988, the Catholic Farmers' Association called for a meeting of North and South Catholic farmers. Meanwhile the Catholic Movements proposed to the Catholics in the North a joint Christmas celebration of Mass, followed by a fraternal festival. But both of these proposals were rejected by the North.
  A remarkable event was the involvement of the Catholic Priests Association for the Realization of Justice (pAFRl) in the
national causes for democratization and reunification triggered by the death of Cho Song-man, a college student, who jumped down from the high story building of the Myongdong cultural center shouting anti-American slogans protesting American intervention in Korean affairs.
  When Rev. Moon Kyu-hyon visited North Korea in 1989, the priests of PAFRl applied to the Reunification Ministry for a
visit to North Korea in order to offer a joint Mass in Pyongyang for national reunification. The government declined their request. In 1990 they again proposed a Mass for August 15, the national liberation day, but this was not authorized either. Since 1988, the PAFRl has offered an annual Mass at Imjingak, near Panmunjom, on August 15.
  In September 1989, on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress, His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Souhwan Archbishop of Seoul, invited 20 Catholics of North Korea to attend the Congress, but the proposal was refused. Since then the North Korea Evangelization Committee(NKEC) offers an annual Mass for reunification on Tora Mountain.
  In 1991, the Catholic Disabled People' s Council proposed exchanges of disabled people of the North and South in a 7point proposal but it did not work out. Rt. Rev. Placid Ri, the president of the North Korea Evangelization Committee, made a 5-point proposal to the North to hold a North-South joint reconciliation liturgy and home land visit for separated families. These too failed.
  In 1992, the CBCK agreed to rename the "Prayer Day for the Silent Church" to the ''J>rayer Day for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Nation" by accepting a proposal of the NKEC. That was a significant turning point for the Church in South Korea from a negative to a positive attitude towards the Church in NK.
  The Seoul Archdiocese began in 1992 to set aside 3% of its budget as reunification funds and, the same year, the CBCK decided at its Autumn General Assembly that all dioceses would conduct the same campaign from 1993. Rt. Rev. Placid Ri, OSB, the Apostolic Administrator of Hamhung diocese in the North established in Autumn 1991 the Hamhung Catholics' Association in order to prepare for a reunified Korea in the future and engaged in promoting vocations to the priesthood. There are now two seminarians.
  From the 1990s, some missionary institutes and lay apostolate associations began to approach Northeastern China with a North Korean mission in mind. And the Northern Mission Conference (president: Rev. Kim Keun-jung) was launched Sept. 28, 1994 with 19 religious institutes and lay apostolate associations, forming an Advisory Committee in 1994.
  For the year 1995, the 50th anniversary of the nationalliberation and division of Korea, the Catholic Church in Korea has plans for pastoral action directed towards reunification. The Commission for year 2010 of the Korean Pastoral Institute hosted an Open Forum on Reunification Feb. 29 and the National Reconciliation Committee of Seoul Archdiocese was launched with the celebration of a Mass at Myongdong cathedral on March 7. The Catholic Bishops' Conference will hold during the 1995 Spring General Assembly a seminar on reunification.
  The Catholic Association of Pyongyang and Wonsan are actively committed to promote both priestly and religious vocations and they published a history of the North Korean Catholic Church.
  His Eminence Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan is Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang and Rt. Rev. Placid Ri of Hamheung and Tokwon dioceses. 

from Pyonghwa Weekly, Jan. 1st

 

 

"Let Our Love Reach the World"


  One ofthe visible signs ofthe Church that nwves from being a receiving Church to becoming a donor Church is cariJas action for foreign aid. From the early 1990s the Korean Catholic Church has turned gradually from receiving to giving. In this respect the CariJas Coreana and One Heart One Body Movement are two bodies that played a key role. CariJas Coreana spent 8.9 billion won (US$1,112,500) for foreign aid in 1994 alone, while the One Heart One Body Movement donated 7.2 billion won (US$900,OOO) to 19 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. However it is pointed out that the efforts of the Korean Catholic Church regarding foreign aid remain on the level ofdirect assistance rather than trying to remedy the root causes ofsocial injustice and poverly. In this respect the Korean Catholic Church is called to take further steps. On the occasion ofthe 5th CariJas Sunday, the message ofMost Rev. Ignatius Pale, president ofCaritas Coreana, invites aU Korean Catholics to a greater generosity and altruism.

  Dear Brothers and Sisters!


  First of all I thank you for the concern and generosity you have shown toward displaced people and those who are in hunger and misery throughout the world. I especially remember in my prayers those who participated with generosity in the campaign to help Rwandan refugees. Not only Catholics but also many people from other religions and denominations, including non-believers, joined to our Caritas project. That was a clear sign of the presence of God and his love in the hearts of Korean people. Jesus told us, "The poor are around us all the time" (Mt 26,11; Mk 14,7; Jn 12,8). We know that sometimes people who were once helpers of other fellow humans can become one day needy people by either natural disaster or other accidents. Thus, the practice of charity for needy neighbors should not be an occasional or temporary occurrence but part of our ongoing life. Also the practice of charity should be implemented on a cultural level that promotes quality of life and moral values.
  In our days, commitment to social welfare is considered a standard measure of the cultural and moral quality of a people. Loving one' s neighbor does not mean only loving those who are close to us physically or as blood relations.
Christian love is founded on the truth that all are children of God, the one and same Father. All human beings are created in the image of God and redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, our Savior. Love for neighbors, therefore, goes beyond nationality, races and religion to embrace all of humanity.
  We know well that in our country there are many needy people. Every year campaigns to help needy people are organized by the government. Business companies, organizations and religious groups are very supportive of this movement. Humanism that springs out from a loving heart is the pride of Korean people. We have to develop it.
  Our friendly gestures of charity should reach every comer of the world. The example of advanced countries shows us that exchanges between people and nations through charity works are next to diplomatic activities. We should not kill the divine power latent within us by our narrowness. Concerns that are limited in one's own family, relatives and hometown are dangerous because they lead us to a collective selfishness. Nationalism that is interested only in one's own people has to be overcome by love for humanity. Then we will be able to become world citizens.
  In the global village, there are several millions of displaced people and nearly one billion people are living in poverty. We cannot live in comfort in our small comer by ignoring the misery of these people. The world is one village because in our days a local problem is a world prolr lem. Humanitarian concerns reaching out to the poor of the world will not shrink our generosity for Korean people but on the contrary, will enflame concern for them even more. This is the dynamism of love. We should trust in the power of love. The culture of love that we Christians, as disciples of Jesus, seek for and want to see and grow will be possible only through the practice of love. With this love, let us reach the entire world.

January 29th, 1995
Caritas Sunday
Most Rev. Ignatius Pak

President Caritas Coreana

 

 

 

"Everyone Injured By The War Should Be Liberated From Their Pain And Suffering"


  His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, on the occasion ofthe 50th anniversary ofnational independence from Japan, sent an open letter to Prime Minister ofJapan, Murayama Tomiichi, and urged the Japanese government to reveal the fuU extent ofthe crime ofmilitary sexual slavery by Japan, make an official apology, offer legal reparation from the state treasury rather than charity money, record the crimes and teach the younger generation in order to prevent the possible recurrence ofsuch war crimes. The foUowing is the fuU text ofhis letter.


  Honorable Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi,


  It' s been five years since the issue of "Comfort Women" (women drafted for military sexual slavery by Japan) has come to the attention of the international community. The problems of 50 years ago have only recently come into the spotlight and gained some clarification. Meanwhile, victims of military sexual slavery at the hands of Japanese Imperialism have had to endure terrible suffering from the indifference they have received from both Korean and Japanese authorities and
by the attitude of the general populace towards their plight This indifference has greatly increased their pain. Though the physical wounds from the war have healed, from every corner of the world we continue to hear the desperate cries of the victims.

  I recently heard that the Japanese govemment had decided to offer "sympathy money" to former "Comfort Women" from funds to be raised through a civilian contribution, rather than to compensate from the state treasUI)'. I was truly sorry to hear about this decision of the Japanese government This decision will not help resolve wrongs committed in the past
but rather will have a negative impact on present relationships between Japan and its Asian neighbors, and Korea in
particular. Furthermore, Japan' s proposed plan does nothing to help restore the injured dignity and honor of these women. The victims, especially citizens of countries affected by the war, rightly demand from Japan a sincere apology and legal reparation.They urge that Japan fully disclose the truth and give complete clarification on all matters related to the "Comfort Women."
  This year is the 50th anniversary of our nation's independence from Japanese colonialism and, at the same time, the 50th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II. Therefore, this is an important year for us all. Everyone injured by the war should be liberated from their pain and suffering; all painful issues between Japan and Korea and all other Asian countries should be resolved so that all Asian countries, including Korea, can know true liberation from colonialism. I pray for this with all my heart. Above all, however, Japan, the perpetrator of this suffering, has to make the first move towards resolving this issue.

  To Resolve this Matter, I Propose the Following Points:

  First of all, the Japanese government should disclose the truth of its past, frankly admit the crimes committed against Korean women and make an apology. It should immediately withdraw its plan to "pay compensation from civilian contributions," which is an attempt by Japan to circumvent its responsibility. Japan should offer the same compensation as Germany has done. For this, Germany is working even now by punishing those guilty of taking part in the pogrom against the Jewish people during World War II and by providing full restitution to the war' s victims. But that is not all. In addition, Japan has to continuously educate it's people to ensure that this kind of crime never happens again anywhere in the world. This is the only way that Japan can wipe away the dishonor of being a criminal nation in the international community and show that it wants to make amends and accept moral and legal responsibility for its war crimes. This will be the foundation upon which peace can be built between Korea and Japan. All Catholics in Korea, including myself, hope that the Japanese government will respond to our demands with concrete action.


Sincerely,
Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan
Archbishop of Seoul
January 10, 1995

 

 

 Background: the problem of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan which occurred during 1932-1945 was not simply the individual raping of women by occupying soldiers as it often occurs during wars. It was a long-term systematic institution which was planned, designed, and enforced by the Supreme Commander of the Japanese government at that time. The Japanese imperial government established a policy to mobilize women of colonized or occupied areas by force, deceit, or kidnapping in order to use them as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers. About 100,000 to 200,000 women were taken from these Asian countries, 80% of whom were Korean. A few of them were married. These women were sent to all the areas occupied by Japan: Korea. China, Manchuria, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Singapore, India, the Philippines and were used as sex slave. Korean women were from age 11-32. Indeed, this crime is an example of the "slavery" and "deportation" which served as an integral part of the national extinguishment policies of the Japanese colonial· government in Korea during the 1930' s and 40' s.
  These women were forced to commit suicide or were killed after the cease fire. The Japanese Army destroyed most of the records concerning this sexual exploitation when they were defeated.
  Coalitions seeking justice for the victims were formed in Korea and abroad since 1990. Surviving victims in their 70' s and their advocate organizations have demanded the Japanese government to take responsibility for all crimes . against humanity as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Slavery Convention of the United Nations, and other international laws. The Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan that was formed by 22 women's organization on Nov. 16, 1990 has made it an international women's human rights issue. The Council brought the problem to the UN Commission on Human Rights in order to heighten international public awareness and solidarity and to solve it in aceordance to the international laws. The Korean Catholic Women's Community for a New World is an active member organization of the Council. - Ed -

 

 

 

News from the Church in Korea

 

• "This Year We Have to Tear Down Wall of Division"


  On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of national liberation from Japanese colonial rule and division of the nation, His Eminence Cardinal Kim, in his Lenten Message on Feb. 24, asked the faithful to make sacrifices for the nation and urged North and South Korea to find a way of national reunification. For this, "the conversion of the faithful is vital" he said.
"In order to make the 50th anniversary of national liberation a truly significant year, we have to tear down all walls of division. Christians should be determined to work for reconciliation of nation. If we are sincere about peaceful reunification we should respect and value human beings more than money or material goods by changing our mentality and life style. When we, South Koreans, know how to share with and how to love our needy neighbors, the path to reunification will not be far from us. This is a sure shortcut to reconciliation. Our needy brothers and sisters are above
all the alienated ones, foreign workers and Koreans from Yonbyon (China) who came to Korea seeking for jobs," he pointed out.
  In the meantime, Most Rev. William McNaughton, Bishop of Inch' on officially recommended his faithful to say prayers for reunification after Mass.

 

 

• First Encounter of Cathol ics of South and North Korea in the US

  A first and historical encounter of Catholics of South and North Korea took place in the US when a six-member North Korean delegation of religious and scholars visited the United States, Jan. 26-Feb.6, at the invitation of American Evangelist Rev. Billy Graham who visited North Korea in 1992 and 1994. Among the six-member were two catholics, Samuel Chang Jae-ch' 01(59), president of the North Korean Catholic Association and hea of this Delegation and ichael Lee Born. They were welcomed by the Catholic Community members in Philadelphia at a Sunday Mass, Feb. 5. Mr. Chang stated, "Meeting you, we are deeply touched and our joy is immense. We want the South Korean Church to send priests to Pyongyang and Hamhung dioceses and to build and staff a church in the Rajin-Sonbong special economic zone on North Korea' s border with China." "If and when" Cardinal Kim visits North Korea, we would ask him to ordain Cha Song-gun a priest or a deacon," he went on "in North Korea there are about 3,500 catholics and 250-280 attend
Sunday liturgy at Changchung church in Pyongyang." Chang said that Cha (53), a leader of the Catholic community in Changchung is celibate and desires priesthood.

  In June and Oct. 1994, Rev. Augustine Park Chang-duk, the vicar general of the Korean Catholic COmmunity in the US, invited North Korean Catholics to US but it was not possible to go on that occasion.

  Rt. Rev. Placid Ri, President of the North Korea Evangelization Committee of the CBCK, said that the South Korean Church is prepared to respond positively to the request of North Kerrean Catholics and help them materially and spiritually if necessary.

  Cardinal Kim, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, expressed a hope at his New Year press meeting to visit the North Korea within this year if his visit can be helpful in advancing reconciliation and reunification in Korea.

 

• New Era of Missipn Launched with PBC-TV


  On March 1, Pyonghwa Broadcasting Cable TV was officially launched with 20 other cable channels across the nation. After the opening ceremony of the PBC-TV held at PBC headquarters, the inaugural programming of PBC-TV was ransmitted nationwide. Participants in the ceremony were His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, Most Rev. Paul Kim (Chairman of PBC) and Most Rev. G. Bulaitis, Apostolic Prer-Nuncio. "We hope that the PBC-TV plays an important role in the Evangelization and humanization of Korean people," Cardinal Kim said in his congratulatory address. Daily programs from PBC-TV, channel 33, will be transmitted six hours a day across the nation.

 

• President of Catholic University in Seoul Installed


  On Feb. 27, Most Rev. Peter Kang Wocril, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul took office as the first president of the Catholic University, a merger of the Catholic University of Seoul diocese and Songsim Women' s University, run by" the Sisters of Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At the inaugural ceremony that was presided by His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Souhwan and attended by 700 academics, students and distinguished guests, Bishop Kang said that the University
will focus on human-centered integral education, biotechnology and foreign relations studies. He asked for the support
and cooperation of all. Sister Kim Soo-jun was appointed as vice president of Songsim campus. Before the merger on Dec. 14, 1993, the Catholic University of a 139-year long history operated a College of Theology and the Catholic Medical College with eight associated hospitals. Songsim Women's University had 17 academic departments.

 


• 56 New Priests Ordained


  In five dioceses there were fiftysix ordinations to the priesthood during January and February, 1995. The dioceses and number of new priests are -- Archdiocese of Kwangju: 10, diocese of Pusan: 13, diocese of Suwon: 11, diocese of Taejon: 7, diocese of Inch' on: 7, diocese of Cheju: 2, diocese of Chonju: 6.

 


• Korean Foreign Mission to Reach Out to the Worid


  Jan. 6, 1995, two sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a native Korean religious institute, were sent to Lima diocese in Peru: Sr. Marianna Lee Wan-ja and Sr. Luciano Choi Jong-hi. Some 200 sisters and friends joined the ceremony including the Ambassador of Peru in Seoul, Mr. Alfredo Lamos and his wife Mrs. Isabella Lamos.
  The Korean foreign mission was started in the early 1980s and has grown steadily. Statistics released by the Seoul Office of the Pontifical Mission Aid Societies, as of Jan. 1994, indicate Korean missionaries are in 42 countries: 65 in 11 countries (Asia), 28 in 16 countries(Africa), 9 in 1 country( Oceania), 44 in 6 countries(Europe), 30 in 8 countries America). Total: 182 missionaries in 42 countries.

 

 

• "Village for Retired Priests" in Project


  Catholics here hope to build a village for retired priests this year, the first community for retired priests in South Korea, in a beautiful area of Mol-ak Mountain, Kyonggi Province.
  "The purpose of the project is to offer retired priests the opportunity to spend their rest of life in peace and joy without material worries," said Rev. Lee Kyong-jae, project director, when he made the plans public on Jan. 17.

  "Unlike monastic orders who live in community for life, most diocesan priests have to live alone when they retire and they have similar worries and problems to other people," Father Lee said. The village will be comprised of small individual houses for priest residents so they can continue their prayer lives and spiritual service to people at prayer centers which are
already in the area.
  Some 150 Catholics formed a committee to implement the project with Rev. Lee as director. The facility will be open not only to the retired priests but also to any priest who wants to come to rest in the peaceful surroundings.

 


• "Tearing Down Walls Between ReI igions"


  A so-called "Inter-religious Dialogue Camp" was held Feb. 6-9 at Christian Academy House in Seoul. The Dialogue Camp for youth of diverse religions was initiated by Rev. Kang Won-ryong, a Presbyterian minister, to create opportunities for interreligious understanding among young clergymen by overcoming religious exclusivism.
  This year, the 30 young Catholic, Protestant and Buddhist participants focused their attention on such problems as the environment, ecology and education.
  Besides the main program, free sharing about, their respective religions and liturgies was very enriching. Catholic participants presented the " Washing of Feet Ceremony'" and those from Won Buddhism prayed for the repose of the dead in a "Self-Emptying Ceremony".

 


• Inter-Rei igious Sol idarity Blossoms at St. Lazarus ViIIage


  A joint birthday celebration for leper patients in St. Lazarus Village took place at Aaron House Feb. 9. The celebration, in which over 120 lepers and supporters participated, was marked by inter-religious solidarity. Rev. Lee Kyong-jae, the director, gave special recognition to Mother Park Chong-soo, 58, a senior Won Buddhist nun and deputy chairperson of the support group for the Village, for her 20year long dedication.
  Mother Park, widely praised for her philanthropic outreach that breaks down religious barriers, has worked also for the 400 in-patients at Sacred Heart Mercy Hospital in Sanchong and those at St. Mary' s Clinic in !ri. Her services are extended to the handicapped at St. Benedictus Training Center for the Disabled in Gonjiam and the House of Angeles. House of Sharing, a nursery run by the Anglican Church in a poor neighborhood in Seoul, was just become a beneficiary
of Mother Park's generosity. Her charity mission reached abroad to children in the Himalayan enclave of Ladakh in India. Schools were built with the funds she raised among inter-religious groups and businesses.

 


• Prison Pastoral Committee to Launch Pol ice Pastoral Ministry

  The Prison Pastoral Committee of Seoul Archdiocese(Dir. Bishop Andrew Choi), for the first time in the Korean Church, introduced a police pastoral ministry for about 30 police stations and police departments. The prison apostolate that focuses on prison inmates and released prisoners said that 80% of believers who work in the police department don' t practice their religion because of the lack of religious instruction. The committee will form sponsors' associations and introduce police chaplaincies to each police department. There are 260 police department bureaus with 90,000 policemen.

 

• Jesuit-run Sogang University to Extend "Privi leged Admissions"


  More than 110 handicapped students were admitted into universities through the "privileged admission" system for the disabled, which was introduced for the first time this year. These students gained admission for the 1995 academic year with six universities including Jesuit-run Sogang University which have set additional freshmen quotas for the disabled.
  Sogang University, which extended " privileged admissions" to 23 handicapped students this year, decided to expand the favor to students from under-privileged classes of society, beginning next year. The Jesuit school will allot a quota of extra freshmen for the urban poor, teenage breadwinners and those from rural areas, in the spirit of love for the alienated." In selecting the beneficiaries of the favor, the school will also put a greater emphasis on applicants' virtues, morality and filial piety rather than on their academic ability, a school official said. Like all Korean students seeking university seats, disabled students are judged on their scores on the government-administered Academic Aptitude
Test and high school transcripts. However, under the privileged admission system, the handicapped students competed for seats only among themselves.


 

• Inter-faith Sol idarity Drive to Donate Organs


  Leaders from three major religions met together to form a joint movement of solidarity to donate organs. They were represented by Rev. Oh Tae-sun, director of the One Heart One Body Movement of the Catholic Church, Rev. Park Jin-tak from the Organ D0nation Movement of· the Protestant Church, and Venerable Pob-jang from the Buddhist Headquarters of Offering Life to Buddha.
  The religious leaders agreed to work in solidarity beyond differences in religion in the spirit of philanthropism to raise awareness of the importance of donating organs to save people' slife. One Heart One Body Movement has an ongoing program to encourage Catholics to fill out organ donation cards and it has concentrated on blood and eyeball donations, Fr. Oh said:

 

• "Community of Life" -- 90 Small Christian Communities Successful

  "The Community of Life" that was originally initiated in 1988 in Andong diocese as a two-year course for social service as developed to a tightly inter-connected and cooperative organization between farming and city areas. Organized on a 5-10 family group level, they gather once a month to study, share and evaluate their life. Farm communities produce organic healthy food and communities of consumers in cities buy them collectively. ''This solidarity helps us both spiritually and mClterially," a member of the farming area said.

  Members of small communities in cities make soap, collect milk packs, conduct campaigns to reduce garbage, promote eating fresh vegetables and not to use synthetic detergents. "The Community of Life" is considered as a model for many other similar movements. In Andong diocese there are 90 such communities which are coordinated by the Community Headquarters.

  In the mean time, Card. Kimurged people to buy Korean-grown produce and help Korean farmers to compete internationally, especially smaller farmers who are overwhelmed· by cheaper foreign agricultural imports allowed under GATT.

 

News in Brief

 

 • "Catholic Center for Elderly Peopie" that was opened in Mokpo in February will offer daily service, meals, medical cares to 150 elderly people in need and will provide home service for those who are immobile. Home service will include meals, cleaning, bath and laundry. About 3,000 old people are reported to be in need of such immediate services.

 

 • The Korean Catholic Church closed 1994 Year ofthe Family by publishing "The Family H91y Hour Bulletin" to promote a pro-life spirit based on the social teaching of the Church. It offers a year' s worth of prayers, Gospel readings, dialogue texts that families can pray together on the first Thursday of every month. First printing of 30,000 copies of the bulletin were all sold out.

 

 • "Women' sHouse" , dedicated for alienated women from society because of their material and spiritual poverty, celebrated its 15th year of service, Dec.1994. The ''women's House" offers shelter for single mothers and beaten women, training programs for professional house-keepers and operates day-care center for children. Over 2,000 women and 800 children were served in its 15 years of operation.

 

 • On the Feast of Holy Family, Dec. 29, 1994, 330 Catholic couples of all ages renewed their conjugal vows in a special ceremony held at Myondong cathedral. Among them was also an old couple of 82-year-old husband with his 76-year-old wife.

 

 • Masan diocese opened a ten weekends course of re-education for lay pe0ple. The program includes studies on the Bible, Ecclesiology, Church History, basic doctrines of the Catholic Church, Family Psychology and general catechism.

 

 • Fr. Song Iu-sok from Inch' on diocese was elected as Asian representative of the MBW (Movement of Better World) at its 5th Asian Meeting held in India, last February. "In many ways, parishes in Korean Church are at a turning point that demands self-reflection and new vision. MBW can be auseful tool in this," said Fr. Song who has been involved in the movement since 1977.

 

 

 

"Their Situation of Constraint Should Not be Exploited"

Statement Concerning the Human Rights of Foreign Workers

 

"The nwst imporlllnt thing is that the person working away from his native land, whether as a pennanent emigrant or as a seasonal worker, should not be placed at a disadvantage in"comparison with the other workers in that society in the matter ofworking rights. Emigration in search ofwork must in no way become an opportunity for financial or social exploitation. As regards the work rellltionship, the same criteria should be applied to foreign workers as to all other workers in the society concerned. The value ofwork should be measured by the same standard and not according to the difference in nationality, religion or race. The situation of constraint in which the emigrant may find himself should not be exploited. "(Laborem Exercens, no.23)

 

 

  Since the beginning of the new year we have heard " cries of distress" (Ex. 3:7) from the Nepalese workers here in Korea. Although, for the moment, the situation has subsided, the outcries of the foreign workers could erupt again at any time. We cannot pretend to not understand their urgent pleas because, at one time, our brothers and sisters also experienced the hardships of survival in a foreign land (cf. Ex. 23:9). While the Church has already expressed deep
concern over the human rights violations of foreign workers who are members of our society, the Church also sincerely appeals to all Korean people, especially government authorities and employers, to consider the following points as their
" duty imposed by human solidarity and by Christian charity" (populorum Progressio. no.87).


  1. The Justice and Peace Committee of the Catholic Bishop' s Conference of Korea published a document on July, 29, 1993 entitled " Basic Human Rights of Foreign Workers" along with a statement entitled, "Do Not Neglect the Stranger,
For You Were Once Strangers Yourselves." The Church denounced the miserable conditions of foreign workers whose most basic rights have been shockingly trampled as a result of their "illegal status" , and while warning of the dangers of an "economy-first mentality and of actions that show contempt for human life," the Church urged the government to improve these conditions. The Church continues to take an interest in foreign workers and hopes that their problems will be justly corrected.

 

  2. Although the government at fITst seemed to respond with interest to the Church' s requests, with time it became clear that it was only interested in stopgap measures. The Industrial Trainee System for Foreign Workers is a perfect example of this. When criticism over the abuses of foreign workers' rights heightened, both from overseas and from within the country as well, the government hurriedly responded by saying in November, 1993, that henceforth all foreign workers coming to Korea would be granted legal status (prior to this, foreign workers were brought into the country illegally). Subsequently, the Ministry of Justice, in an effort to expand the foreign work force, set up the "Korea International Training Cooperation Corps" and set a quota of 20,000 foreign workers to be allowed into the country in 1994. The Church, however, while worried about the full implementattion of this system, has closely observed its development
with the expectation that there would be improvements and that foreign workers' rights would be guaranteed. We regret, however, that our expectations have been crushed and that, if anything, the situation has worsened.

 

  3. From the very beginning of this system' s implementation, the government has been unsuccessful in its aim of controlling the influx of foreign workers, it has merely exacerbated the problem further. What is called the Industrial Trainee System for Foreign Workers is an immoral system put into place simply to supplement the shortage of factory
workers. The problems of this system have now become as severe as the problem of "illegal status" of foreign workers. Despite their working over 12 hours per day, industrial trainees receive only US $210-260 per month, and because this is considered as training allowance and not a legal wage, they have no recourse for filing a grievance if they don' t
get paid. Also, even in cases when they are injured while on the job, because of their trainee status, foreign workers are not entitled to any industrial accident compensation they don' t dare to even think of exercising their rights. Their passports having been confiscated, they have no alternative to the various forms of violence inflicted upon them but to loathe their existence in this foreign land; they are not even guaranteed the minimum of being able to occasionally leave the factory grounds. There are so many of these kinds of cases that it is difficult to keep count of all of them.

  4. We can only humbly bow our heads before God who reproaches us: 1f a stranger lives with you in your land, do not molest him. You must count him as one of your own countrymen and love him as yourself. For you were once strangers yourselves in Egypt. I am Yahweh your God." (Lev. 19:33-34). Thus, all Catholic foreign worker counselling offices denounce the injustice of the Industrial Trainee System for Foreign Workers, and have pointed out in a written statement to all concerned government offices the inhumane aspects of this system. Their claim is based on their experiences with foreign workers over a one-month period between November and December, 1994. Rather than setting in place policies to
truly rectify the situation, the government only makes repeated announcements that the foreign workers basic allowance
will be raised to the level of minimum wage of Korean. The issue of foreign workers' unfair treatment finally came to a head on January 9, when the trainees began their sit-in protest. Here we cannot help but point out the government' s idleness in their handling of this situation, in addition to their lukewarm reaction to Church efforts to do so.

  5. We sincerely appeal to this government which resolutely holds high the banner of "Globalization." What an embarrassment all this is before the rest of the World! Indeed, what is "Globalization?" The process of Globalization must begin fIrst by shedding light on the darkest and most shameful places within society and sharing our love with those who are the least of society. "All the pe0ple and above all the public authorities must treat foreign workers not as mere tools of production but as persons, and must help them to bring their families to live with them and to provide themselves with a decent dwelling; they must also see to it that these workers are incorporated into the social life of the country or region that receives them," (Gaudium et Spes, no.66).

  We appeal to employers and to all people of good will. Give heed to their "cry of distress" and show them  ompassionate love. Welcome the foreign workers here in our land as brothers and sisters. They are people who share in our work with us. We need the warm humanitarian love that enables us to share what we have with others (cf. Matt. 20: 1-16). Despite their urgent cries, however, nothing has changed. The government has not accepted proposals for fundamental changes in the Industrial Trainee System nor has it guaranteed to protect their rights and wages in accordance with the Labor Standards Law.


  6. The infringement upon the rights of foreign workers in effect pushes our society backward. Therefore the Church. which "considers it her task to ensure authentic progress of humanity and society," (Laborem Exercens, no.1) and in accordance with Church's Teaching, the ILO Conventions, and Korea' s Labor Standards Law, demands of the government the following points:

 

   First, all foreign workers must be covered under the Labor Standards Law, and they must be guaranteed the protection of the status,· rights and adequate income that are their due as workers.

  Second, all foreign workers who have been injured while on the job must be entitled to benefIts granted under the Industrial Disaster Insurance Law. Under current laws, relevant medical care is not possible.

 

  Third, the immoral aspects of the Industrial Trainee System, which are already well documented, must absolutely be abolished.


Jan. 23, 1995
Pastoral Commission for Labor of Archdiocese of Seoul

 

 

 

 

 

  Background: In 1993, a crackdown of the government on illegal foreign workers caused great consternation among small factory owners who depended on them for the socalled "3-D (dirty, dangerous and diffIcult) jobs." Under pressure of labor shortage, the Labor Ministry and Economic Planning Board legalized importing low-skilled, low-wage laborers from ten selected countries as "foreign technical trainees." In June, 1994, some 2,000 workers entered South Korea as "trainees," and 15,000 more by end of the year mostly from China, Nepal, Vietnam and the Philippines. More than 50,000 foreigners, most of them admitted with tourist visas, have taken jobs here illegally.
  According to conditions set down by the F¢eration of Small Businesses, job trainees are to receive the equivalent of US$21O-260 per month with 44-hour work a week. But many of these "trainees" have claimed they received no training, no compensation for industrial accidents, were forced to work long hours on production lines in poor working conditions, received. no salaries after six months of work and had their human rights abused.

  On Jan. 9, 13 Nepalese workers started a week-long sit-in protest outside Myongdong Catholic cathedral, under freezing temperatures; claiming their rights and demanding the Korean government to end the slavelike treatment. Card. Kim met with the 13 protesters individually saying that as a Korean, he was sorry for the ill-treatment they had suffered. Presently about ten Catholic Foreign Workers Labor Counselling Offices are opened across the nation. Above is the text of the statement on the human rights of foreign workers released by the Pastoral Commission for Labor of Seoul Archdiocese, following the Nepalese protest. - Ed -

 

List of Articles
No. Subject Datesort
17 CBCK Newsletter No.17 (Winter 1996) Aug 27, 2009
16 CBCK Newsletter No.16 (Fall 1996) Aug 27, 2009
15 CBCK Newsletter No.15 (Summer 1996) Aug 27, 2009
14 CBCK Newsletter No.14 (Spring 1996) Aug 27, 2009
13 CBCK Newsletter No.13 (Winter 1995) Aug 27, 2009
12 CBCK Newsletter No.12 (Fall 1995) Aug 27, 2009
11 CBCK Newsletter No.11 (Summer 1995) Aug 27, 2009
» CBCK Newsletter No.10 (Spring 1995) Aug 27, 2009
9 CBCK Newsletter No.9 (Winter 1994) Aug 27, 2009
8 CBCK Newsletter No.8 (Fall 1994) Aug 27, 2009
7 CBCK Newsletter No.7 (Summer 1994) Aug 27, 2009
6 CBCK Newsletter No.6 (Spring 1994) Aug 27, 2009
5 CBCK Newsletter No.5 (Winter 1993) Aug 27, 2009
4 CBCK Newsletter No.4 (Fall 1993) Aug 27, 2009
3 CBCK Newsletter No.3 (Summer 1993) Aug 27, 2009

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