CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter


CBCK Newsletter No.16 (Fall 1996)

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From the Editor:


  Dear Friends,
  The Bishops of Korea, after having made their Ad Limina visit last March, are now prepared to take the pastoral responsibility of leading the flock entrusted to them in the light of the teachings of the Holy Father. They are firm in their resolve to fulfill the recommendation of the Holy Father to continue their missionary efforts not only within the country but beyond, especially to Asian countries. The vast area of the Asian continent which is a golden fishing ground for missionary work, including North Korea where our compatriots live, stimulates our missionary zeal.
  The Catholic Church in Korea has made rapid growth in the past decades and the number of faithful has enormously increased but in recent years, however, this growth has eased. Considering this phenomenon as a serious problem, the Church has undertaken various studies and discussions to deal with the situation. As far as the decrease rate of Korean Catholics is concerned, we may find its root cause in social and economic areas. However this has become a stimulant challenging our missionary ardor. Our response to it will have an important impact on the building up of a mission foundation and perspective for the Asian continent.
  In order to have a meaningful Jubilee in the year 2000, the Catholic Church in Korea has committed herself to a process of educating the faithful. The Episcopal Special Commission for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 has published booklets based on the apostolic letter “Tertio Millennio Adveniente”, in order to help Korean Catholics to understand the meaning of the Jubilee and its implications and to put it into practice: “The Biblical Roots and Our Reality”, and “The Meaning of the Jubilee in the Light of the Christian Faith”, “The Practical Tasks of the Jubilee of the Year 2000”(for the promotion of faith, hope and love). This will demand a profound reflection on what the Great Jubilee, the celebration of the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ Our Savior, concretely means for us: What does the world stand for today? What does the Church stand for today? In what direction do we have to go? By such efforts and reflections, the Catholic Church in Korea wants to prepare herself for the Great Jubilee, to advance the reunification of the country and to carry out the task of the Church in Korea with regard to the continent of Asia.
  During the coming Autumn General Assembly of the Bishops, the CBCK will amend its Statutes and elect its new officers. We ask for your prayers for the success of these important tasks. May the peace and abundant blessing of God be with all of you. Thank you.


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



“South Korean Government Should Not Block Any Civilian

 Efforts to Help North Koreans”


On Aug. 15, Cardinal Kim of Seoul, on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary and the 51st anniversary of the National Independence of the Korean people from Japanese colonial rule, appealed again leaders of South and North governments for mutual trust on behalf of the reunification. The following are excerpts from his homily.


  Dear Brothers and Sisters,
  The greatness of Blessed Virgin Mary comes from her faith in God. Mary placed her faith in God and served him faithfully with humble heart. If we, as Christians who believe in God and follow Christ, had that great and integral faith we would become like Mary. Love of God surpasses all human knowledge and boundaries. God wants us to understand that love of Him and live it out in our daily lives.
  Everytime we celebrate the joy of the National Independence Day the pains and wounds of division are felt again in our hearts vividly. Everytime we celebrate it we come to reflect on ways that may help the realization of national reunification and the healing of the deep sufferings of our people.
  So-called red?reunification or armed reunification would mean self?destruction and fratricidal war. Peaceful reunification must be the only way of reunification. Indeed that is the only authentic way to reunite our people into one. However, that requires of us a change of mind and outlook, a change of thoughts and consciousness.
  South and North, first of all, should recognize each other’s existence as a state and accept the fact that we are one and the same people. The actual military confrontation is a most foolish and shameful contradiction, a most painful tragedy in the eyes of humanity. We must be aware of that. Leaders of South and North Korean governments need a genuine recognition of this reality which will demand a change of mind.
  The way to solve this problem lies not in armed confrontation but in mutual trust and open dialogue, mutual exchange and fraternal cooperation. For this end the leaders of both Korea should do their utmost to seek all possible means and ways.
  On the one hand, the leaders of North Korea should realize that they cannot do anything constructive by excluding the South Korean government and on the other hand South Korea, which is doing bettereconomically, should know how to share. The South Korean government should help those flood victims in the North who are facing starvation and suffering economically. South Korea should assist them generously with fraternal concern and companionship. The South Korean government therefore should not block any civilian efforts to help the North but encourage and facilitate them to carry out their projects.
  In this way, the South Korean government could help North Korea to shed its stiffness and hostility and lead it to the table of dialogue.
  In one word, the only way to open the path toward reunification and overcome the national tragedy can be found basically in mutual trust and fraternal concern as one people. This means that we have to practice the love of God and reflect it in South?North relations in all level. The South and North Korean people should forgive each other and forget the past as God has done for us.



Rev. Oh to Receive 1996 Magsaysay Award for Public Service


  The 1996 Magsaysay Award nominee for public service, Rev.Oh Woong-jin(50), the founder of Kkottongne, was honored with the other five Magsaysay recipients at the 38th annual award ceremony in Manila Aug. 31.
  Rev. Oh who has devoted his entire life to the service of the poor was cited for encouraging “a compassion for the poor and underprivileged by personifying the commandment of God to ‘love thy neighbors’”. He expressed his impression and said “I am an imperfect man and unworthy of the award but I accept it on behalf of the all residents of Kkottongne and its 720,000 benefactors. I think that the conferment demands from me more sacrifice and service for the poor, the handicapped and elderly people.” He received US$50,000 prize. He donated US$5,500 to Pres. Ramos for AIDS victims in the Philippines and made a donation of US$3,000 towards the construction of a Korean Catholic Community Center in Manila.
  20 years ago, in 1976, inspired by an old man, Choi Gui?dong who was himself a beggar and disabled but who had taken care of 18 destitute people for 40 years, Fr. Oh began a shelter under a bridge with 1,300 won. Struck by Grandpa Choi saying “If you are strong enough to beg, that is also God’s grace” he made it the motto of the Kkottongne(Flower Village) which has grown, after 20 years, into a sprawling complex that houses some 3,000 homeless elderly, handicapped, beggars and orphans who have been rejected by their families and society. In 1989, Fr. Oh opened the 2nd Flower Village in Kapyong, Kyonggi?do, for 1,200 people and the 3rd one is planned for Koch’ang, Kyongnam province. The Flower Villages are funded by small donations from 720,000 sponsors rather than by a few large contributors because he wanted more people to become involved and learn about Christian charity and love. About 600 volunteers care for those people every day.
  “Korea may need 5-6 more facilities like these but my longing is to see a time when we don’t need these villages any more. This time will come when all Koreans share what they have with their needy brothers and sisters.
  Beggars are prod uced not through a lack of material wealth but through a lack of love.” To teach this truth I am building a ‘Training House of Love’ where people can learn to live side by side in respect, love and sharing,” he said. Besides the Village, Fr. Oh has established the Kkotdongne Bothers and Sisters of Jesus and runs two general hospitals for the poor. He is the 15th Korean to receive the Magsaysay Award and the first Korean Catholic priest. In 1987, he won the first Inchon Award, a prestigious prize given by Dong-Ah Ilbo, a South Korean daily newspaper, and in 1991 the “Tongbaek Medal”, the Order of National Merit.




Message on the First Farmers’Sunday:

Church’s Efforts to Surmount Agricultural Problem


On the occasion of the first Farmers’ Sunday, Most Rev. Ingnatius Pak, Bishop of Andong and Moderator of the Save?Our?Farm Movement, appealed to all Korean Catholic farmers and consumers to join hands together and to remember their interdependent relationship. As part of the Church’s efforts to surmount agricultural problem the Save?Our?Farm Movement was launched in 1994 and the CBCK decided to establish the Farmers’ Sunday in 1995. Since then seven dioceses have set up headquarters for the movement and actively engaged in it. Also the One Heart?One Body Movement of Seoul launched its “City and Farm Cooperative for Direct Trade of Farm Products” aimed at protecting the integrity of creation and uniting city people and farmers in one body. Following is the full text of the message.

  Dear Brothers and Sisters,
  Today we joyfully celebrate the first Farmers’ Sunday. I hopethis will be an opportunity to help us to reflect on why our Church has to be concerned about the farming community and what the Save?Our?Farm movement is all about.
  Our farming community has been weakened terribly in recent decades due to an industry?centered economic policy and now is losing even its autogenous power. Rural villages are being abandoned more and more. Young men and women are leaving and only the elderly men and women are left. Official statistics of 1993 show that the yearly average rural exodus is 400,000, families composed solely of elderly people comprises 27.8% and the effective farming force a mere 15.6% of the whole. Especially with the WTO and the opening of the Korean market to food and basic agricultural products the Korean farmers are obliged to face international competition to which they are not prepared. Since then the farming crisis has aggravated and the national production of food is worsened day by day with the decline of agriculture. In addition to that the world food crisis and side effects caused by the rampant import of farm products are seriously threatening our people’s life, especially that of farming people.
  Our Church has pointed out often that the rural and farmers’ problem is not a problem that will remain merely a farmers’ problem but it will affects all of us. So unless we solve the rural and farmers’ problem we will not be able to restore the good health of our people and of society. Therefore the Church which is a community of love and sharing, and the builder of God’s kingdom, has a duty to defend human life and serve life by actively participating in God’s creation work. At the same time the Church has to take the lead in solving the problem of farmers who are among the most alienated people in our modern society.
  In this context, with the approval of the Bishops of Korea the Save? Our?Farm Movement was born in 1994. Since then, national and diocesan headquarters of the movement were established around the country, and the Bishops of Korea decided to establish the thirdSunday of July as Farmers’ Sunday at their Autumn General Assembly of 1995.
  The priory task of the Save-Our-Farm Movement is the solidarity and sharing between city people and farmers by building true community ties up. In this movement the city and rural community, the consumers and producers are guaranteed their livelihoods in mutual sharing and trust around a bowl of rice which is the basic sustenance of our life. The relationship between city and farm is not a simple sibling relationship but that of the limbs of one body. We form one body of life and we are its parts. If we can compare the body to the branches and leaves of a tree the farm is the root and trunk. If the root is not strong enough the branches, leaves and flowers of the tree will fade and soon die. Despite the comfort and abundance we enjoy thanks to the industrial development of the modern world, human nature is getting impoverished daily and the human communities running into crisis. This is precisely because we are losing our basic source of life which is the farming community.
  It is our conviction that the serious food and environmental problems, life and health problems that we face today cannot be solved without a revival of the farming community. Therefore Farmers’ Sunday means more than a time when we try to understand the sufferings and difficulties of farmers and encourage them. We have to make it an opportunity to resurrect our farms and transform our life style in accordance with the integrity of creation. Farmers’ Sunday is not only for farmers but also for urban consumers who are in solidarity with the farmers.

  Dear Brothers and Sisters,
  On this occasion of the celebration of the first Farmers’ Sunday let us reaffirm the importance of our solidarity and oneness with farmers so that we resurrect our farming community. Let us reaffirm that we are a people of the same destiny!
  The solidarity of city and farm should not remain a mere slogan but a concrete practice in our lives. Producers of agricultural products and consumers, urban community and farming community should meet face to face. They have to go hand in hand. We should not forget that our dinner table, our health, our life and the destiny of our farms depend on these hands being joined together.
  To realize this goal we need to organize consumer groups in our parishes. Here the neighborhood communities can play a central role in many concrete aspects and make a significant contribution to protecting the nature and integrity of creation. For example, they can collectively purchase healthy farm products for their dinner tables. Only through such a vibrant practice on community level can our faith and life become one and be reborn into a vital and integral Christian community. Again the concrete goal of our movement is the fraternal solidarity of city consumers and farm producers.
  Dear Brothers and Sisters,
  God is a farmer(cf. Jn 15,1). Because He is a farmer our farmers are participants in His creation. They are workers for life who plough and cultivate the land for food. As Jesus gave us his body as food the farmers toil for our food.
Again, on this Farmers’ Sunday, let us join our hands with all farmers and have a deeper appreciation of their toil and understanding of the importance of agriculture.


July 21st, 1996
Most Rev. Ignatius Pak
Bishop of Andong Mod, of Save-Our-Farm Mvmnt




Catholic Campaign to Relieve North Korean People:


To Share our Table with Brothers and Sisters in North Korea


  The National Reconciliation Committee of Archdiocese of Seoul founded on March 1st, 1995 aims at promoting the reconciliation of the divided Korea in the light of the teachings of the Church. The Committee believes firmly that true reunification of the nation is impossible without reconciliation and mutual trust and the unity of our people demands the tearing down of the dividing walls in our hearts. Among the primary activities the Committee is engaged in are the weekly Tuesday Mass for reconciliation held in Myongdong cathedral until Aug. 15th, 2000 and the School for National Reconciliation. Besides this the committee has tried, although limited in many ways, to meet its North Korean counterparts and to participate in the project to help Changch’ung Church in Pyongyang by joining forces with the Korean Catholics in the US.
  The Committee launched “2?year Noodle Sharing Campaign with Our North Korean Brothers and Sisters” on Aug. 15, the 51st year of the division of the Korean peninsula. Many dioceses and non Catholics have shown great interest for the campaign. 3 billion won(US$3,750,000) were pledged in two weeks from 132 parishes in Seoul. The 2-story noodle factory will be opened on Kwangbok street in Pyongyang by the end of September. Following is full text of the message published by the National Reconciliation Committee of Archdioces of Seoul.

  Dear Brothers and Sisters!
  On the threshold of the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ, we are called to reflect on the past centuries and to prepare for the coming millennium. With the end of the ideological conflict between East and West which had controlled world order for centuries, each nation in the world is devoting all its energies to its own development in a new stream of globalization. Countries that had been divided by the ideological conflict and fought against each other have been reconciled and achieved reunification. These countries are now coping with the new world order together for a better future. However it is to our regret that the Korean peninsula is the only nation left divided in the world and still suffering from the pain of division due to the Cold War legacy. While we claim globalization in outward appearance, we, divided into South and North, still slander and hate each other. This tragic reality goes against the current stream of the history of humanity and is far from the evangelical life of love and peace that we, Christians, are called to.
  The Church as the Sacrament of reconciliation and unity has the mission to commit herself to the reconciliation and unity of our nation. Hereupon, the Archdiocese of Seoul saddened by the fact that our people could not realize peace, reconciliation and unity, came to establish the National Reconciliation Committee on August 15, 1995, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of National
  Independence from Japanese colonial rule. The Committee aims to seek ways of true reconciliation, unity and solidarity among the Korean people. The Committee has engaged in various concreteactions, sacrifice and prayer so that true peace may take root in this land by the time we celebrate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ.
  To think and act while thinking of the other person and not just about oneself will give rise to true reconciliation and peace. “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets”(Mt 7,12). The Word of Jesus teaches us the way to achieve true love and peace.
  Dear Brothers and Sisters!
  Recently we heard through the media and the witness of defectors, that people in North Korea suffer greatly from starvation. They are our blood brothers and sisters. Nevertheless here in South Korea we suffer from obesity while they suffer starvation and death. Many other countries such as the USA and Japan are more interested in sending them relief food than we are. The Holy Father also made donations to the North Korean people to help their food shortage and urged the Church in South Korea to express them concrete fraternal concern and affection.
  The news that people in North Korea are suffering from hunger is the Lord’s voice calling us to repentance of our conflict and hatred. It is also a call to fraternal love. The Psalmist teaches us; “If you would listen to his voice today, do not harden your hearts”(Ps 95,8). The Jubilee year is a time of joy when the debt of sin is remitted. God made the Jubilee laws and said, “You shall not cheat one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God”(Lv 25,17). God also said, “Don’t prevent the poor from making a living or keep them waiting in their need”(Si 4,1). If we who are of the same race remain indifferent to their hunger while people of different countries show them fraternal love, that conduct will hurt them profoundly. Such behavior could be interpreted as the actions of a people who do not fear God. Some argue about the relevance of economic help to NK because it threatens our national security. Others claim that the collapse of the North Korean regime is imminent and so “there is no reason to delay reunification by helping them out”. Whatever reasons there may be, what we, Christians, have to consider is human life. Human life takes precedence over any ideology and any political system. Being indifferent to our brothers and sisters is simply unjust and far removed from the Gospel. The Scripture says, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink.”(Ro 12,20).
  The greatest commandment of God’s Law is to love the Lord with all our heart, and to love our neighbors as ourselves( cf. Mt 22,37?40). Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven(Mt 5,44?45), “Just as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me”(Mt 25,40), and “If you have love for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples”(Jn 13,35).
  We have to be concerned about the urgent situation of our Northern brothers and sisters who are on the point of starving to death. Sharing our dinner table with them is our duty. However, sharing is not giving to others just what we have left over. Our Lord tells us that “It pleases me...... when you share your breadwith the hungry”(cf. Is 58,6?7). In addition, the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity of the Second Vatican Council teaches us that “The exercise of such charity must rise above any deficiencies in fact and even in appearance...... The freedom and dignity of the person being helped should be respected with the utmost delicacy ...... The demands of justice should first be satisfied, lest the giving of what is due in justice be represented as the offering of a charitable gift”(Apostolicam Actuositatem No.8). All the goods, talent, and time which we are having now are something entrusted to us by our Lord. We have to share them with our neighbors. We are all managers but not possessors. We have a duty to share them with our neighbors according to the command of the Lord.
  The Korean Catholics in the USA have actively committed themselves to a relief campaign for the flood victims in NK. They plan to build a noodle factory as a means of helping them with their food shortage. Rev. Augustine Park Chang?duk from Newark diocese was in Pyongyang last July to consult on this matter with the North Korean authorities. The factory will begin with three noodle machines. One machine will produce 6,000 dishes of noodles per day, each weighing 150 grams. The necessary wheat flour will be purchased from China. The production cost for 90 dishes of noodles, enough to feed one person for a month will cost about 4000 won in Korean money. These days, an average person spends 5,000 won for a normal lunch which is more than one month’s food expenses for one North Korean person.
  From the first centuries of the Church, the tradition of sharing has been her own inalienable duty and right(cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, No.8). Our forefathers in the faith kept this tradition even amidst severe persecution. Following this tradition, the National Reconciliation Committee of Seoul Archdiocese joined the Korean Catholics in the USA in preparing to share their tables with their North Korean brothers and sisters. All Catholics are warmly invited to participate in this project.
  This movement starts with both the attitude of fulfilling our Lord’s commandment of love, and with the spirit of repentance of the division and enmity, the attitude of strengthening the ties necessary for the reconciliation and unity of our people. On this basis of a spirit of repentance and love, each Korean Catholic is cordially invited to donate 0.2% of their monthly income for two years to assist the project. This means that those who earn 500,000 won shall donate 1,000 won, and 2000 won for those who earn 1,000,000 won. Then these donations will turn out to be bread of life for our brothers and sisters in North Korea and treasures in heaven for us. In addition to that, this sharing will break down the wall of distrust and enmity which existed in the past, and help to accomplish the reconciliation and unity of our nation.
  The Scripture teaches us that “If someone is in need, don’t put off giving to him”(Si 4,3). There can’t be any reason or cause to put aside a food shortage which oppresses our northern brethren. It is an urgent and imminent task for us Christians. It is not just their problem, it is our problem as well.
  In this month of August, remembering both the joy of the liberation of our nation from Japan and the pain of division, we all have to reflect sincerely on the division of our nation and thesufferings of our northern brethren. Thus we have to take an active part in the movement seeking out repentance and love, reconciliation and unity.


August 4th, 1996
The N. Reconciliation Committee
Archdiocese of Seoul




··· Teachings of Scripture and the Church Related to the Campaign ···


  Scripture and Church invite us to help our brothers and sisters in North Korea who are in great need. In this light we understand that supporting them is a Christian duty.
  “Bring water to the thirsty, meet the fugitives with bread, o inhabitants of the land of Tema”(Is 21,14).
  “It pleases me ...... when you share your bread with the hungry”(Is 58,6?7).
  “Do not refuse the poor a livelihood, do not tantalize the needy. Do not add to the sufferings of the hungry, do not bait a man in distress. Do not aggravate a heart already angry, nor keep the destitute waiting for your alms”(Si 4,1).
  “Give your bread to those who are hungry, and your clothes to those who are naked. Whatever you own in plenty, devote a proportion to almsgiving; and when you give alms, do not do it grudgingly”( Tb 4, 16).
  “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink”(Pr 25,21; Ro 12,20).
  “You shall notcheat one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God”(Lv 25,17).
In such words Scripture exhorts us to help the hungry and it blesses forever those who help them.
  “If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and the gloom be like the noonday for you.”(Is 58,10).
  “Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor”(Pr 22,9).
  “If you have love for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples”(Jn 13,35).
  “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...... Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me”(Mt 25,34,40).

  Christ also exhorted us to love one another. Inviting us not to retaliate, He said “Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you”(Mt 5,42).
  Today we decided to join the movement to help our Northern brethren in accordance with the command of Jesus Christ. This decision is supported also by the teaching of our contemporary Church. No. 8 of the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity of the Second Vatican Council prescribes that “the tradition of sharing is her(Church) own inalienable duty and right. (...) The freedom and dignity of the person being helped should be respected with the utmost delicacy ...... The demands of justice should first be satisfied, lest the giving of what is due in justice be represented as the offering of a charitable gift”.
  We have the saying in Korea, “Even a half of a bean grain has to be shared with the one who has nothing to eat”. Now, this is time to practice the exhortation of Our Lord and the teaching of theChurch by reviving the good morals and manners of our nation.


● News from the Church in Korea

● Symposium to Commemorate 150th Anniv. of Martyrdom of St. Andrew Kim Tae?gon Held
Academic symposium to commemorate the 150th anniversary of martyrdom of St. Andrew Kim Tae?gon, the first Korean priest, was held with theme “Life and Spirituality of St. Andrew Kim Tae?gon” on Sept. 21, at the Myongdong Cultural Center. Key note speech of Rev. Andrew Choi, director of the Research Institute for Korean Church History, of theme “Study of St. Andrew Kim Tae?gon and Meaning of Exaltation” was followed presentations on the Church Historical Context of the Martyrdom of St. Andrew Kim Tae?gon” by Prof. Choi Kwang, “Faith and Tradition of the Family of St. Andrew Kim Tae?gon “ by Lee Won?soon, “Life and Activity of St. Andrew Kim Tae?gon” by Dr. Ch’a Ki?jin and “Spirituality of St. Andrew Kim Tae?gon” by Rev. Cho Kyu?shik from Catholic University in Seoul


● The Fourth Annual Conference of ASEACU Held in Seou
The Forth Annual Conference of ASEACU was held in Seoul, Aug. 23?27, with 56 presidents from 37 Catholic Universities in seven Asian countries attending. An effective collaboration and exchanges between Catholic Universities was emphasized in order to overcome the challenges they face in modern world.
At the conference which had as it’s theme “The Responses of ASEACU Institutions to a Rapidly Changing World” the participants focused on an integral education of humanization based on Biblical values, the promotion of social leadership of CU graduates, the leading role of CUs in the realization of the equality of the sexes, and exchanges and collaboration between the CUs. In respect to education on gender equality it was told that if the Church really means to make a meaningful contribution, this problem must be addressed within the Church first.”
Lee Soo?song, Prime Minister of Korea, said in his congratulatory address that the role of a university “is not limited to producing intellectuals but has also to creating competent people of authentic and lucid values that can lead humanity,” and he added that “the highly valuable discussions and opinions of the conference will be a precious guiding light for the Korean Education Ministry also.”


● A Written Petition for the Canonization of Eight Korean Martyrs Submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
The Preparatory Committee for the Canonization of the Korean Martyrs of Suwon submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, June 7, a written petition for the canonization of eight Korean martyrs including Father Zhou Wenmo, the first missionary priest from Beijing who arrived in Korea in 1775, and Paul Youn Yu?il. The history of each of the eight martyrs will be forwarded to the Congregation through the Apostolic Nunciature in Seoul.
The eight martyrs concerned are from the two major persecutions:Ulyu persecution in 1775 and Shinyu persecution in 1801.
Rev. Dominico Youn Min?ku, the executive director of the Preparatory Committee, said that there won’t be any problems in obtaining the go?ahead sign from the Apostolic See because their martyrdom was a fact. The Committee will soon initiate a translation of the martyrs’ life stories into English.


● Korean Religious Women Sponsor Mass for Reunification
The Association of Major Superiors of Religious Women(AMSRW) in Korea, as a follow?up on their 1995 annual meeting with its theme, “Women and Unification”, sponsored a Mass for Peaceful Unification of Korea on Aug. 13, 1996 at near the DMZ, on a hilltop across the North Korea. About 400 religious women delegates from around the country participated in the Eucharist. Ritual dance and music were performed by Sisters of the Daughters of St. Paul while Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Caritas Sisters made symbolic offerings of a map of reunified Korea, bread made from Korean wheat and wine from Bukhan Mountain.
Rev. Kim Pyong?il said in his homily that “reunification can’t be achieved only by human efforts and political logic. We have to entrust it to the hand of God.” Sr. Beata Kim Eun?son, the chairperson of the Committee of Unification and Evangelization of Korea of the AMSRW said that the prayers of the Korean religious women for the reconciliation will be followed by a campaign for the relief of flood victims in North Korea.


● 2,490 Korean Clerics Since St.Andrew Kim Tae?gon, the First Korean Priest
The number of priests ordained in Korea since Saint Kim Tae?gon, the first Korean priest ordained in Shanghai, China, on Aug. 17, 1845, and martyred on July 5, 1946, in Seoul, stands at 2490. According to the survey made in July 5, 1996 by the Catholic Shinmun, between 1845 and 1983, 1,145 Catholics were ordained priests in Korea. Since 1984, when 103 Korean Martyrs were canonized, there have been 1,345 priests ordained. This indicates that the number of priests in the last 12 years is greater than the number of those from 1845 to 1983.
Since Saint Andrew Kim’s martyrdom, the Catholic Church in Korea produced one native cardinal, 30 bishops and 2,459 priests. In addition to these about 100 were ordained abroad. “The Genealogy of the Korean Clergy,” will be completed soon to mark the 150th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Andrew Kim Tae?gon. The survey shows that Seoul Catholic University has produced 1,414 priests; the Kwangju St.Kim Tae?gon’s major seminary 619 priests; Taegu major seminary 244 priests.


● Catholics Continue to Oppose Against Nuclear Plants Construction
On July 19, the Kwangju district court sentenced three anti?nuclear activists to prison terms for actions protesting against the Yonggwang nuclear power plant. Fr. Augustine Pak Jae?wan, parish priest of Yonggwang, and two other activists received 18?month jail sentence for violating Assembly and Demonstration Law during a protest rally on March 12. The judges said that the defendants’ protest against national policy to protect their right to survival was legitimate, but that this did not give them the right to break the law.
Upon this occurrence the Kwangju Archdiocese Priests’ Council met without delay and unanimously decided to oppose the government’s plan to build two more reactors at Younggwang which already has four in operation.
The Kwangju clergy rejected the judges’ verdict, saying in a statement that “even if it is a national policy, we have a duty to block it when it is anti?humane and against the right to survival of local people and the environment.” Most Rev. Victorinus Youn, Archbishop of Kwangju had presided at the council meeting July 15 at which the archdiocese officially adopted a position against the government plan. (See related story CBCK Newsletter No.14, p.7)


● ¡fiMini Cell ?? to Share the Pain of Prisoners of Conscience
A three-day campaign for the release of prisoners of conscience took place on the ground of Myongdong cathedral beginning on Aug. 8th. Hundreds of leading figures including some Catholic priests participated in the campaign organized by the Catholic Human Rights Committee of Seoul with 14 other human rights groups and adopted a ‘1996 resolution to free prisoners of conscience’. Twenty?one people selected from various walks of life including Rev. Lee Yong?woo from Ch’angdong parish in Seoul wearing blue?colored prisoners’ uniforms and with their hands tied with rope, spent a day in the seven single booths or ‘mini cells’ installed in front of the Cathedral to experience and share the pain of prisoners of conscience. “Some 400 prisoners of conscience, who were put behind bars by the Fifth and Sixth Republic governments led by ex?presidents Chun Doo?hwan and Roh Tae?woo are still in prison,” they said. A prayer meeting for the abolition of the National Security Law, a silent parade on Myongdong street, a drawing contest for children of prisoners of conscience, and a singing contest and photo exhibition were also held.
Meantime, members of Catholic, Buddhist and other human rights groups protested at the Indonesian Embassy in Seoul, Aug. 2, against the recent crackdown on democratic movements in that country. Fr. Matthias Kim Seung?hoon, head of the Catholic Human Rights Committee and Ven. Jinkwan of the Buddhist Human Rights Committee were among them. “Korea is still suffering from a similar experience viz, the Kwangju massacre in 1980. The Indonesian government should recall the lesson of history that ruling powers who have oppressed people and fired on their own people have eventually collapsed. People should learn from history.” Fr. Kim said.


● CBCK Publishes Documenta Catholica

The CBCK issued the first edition of the “Teachings of the Catholic Church (Documenta Catholica) on July 1st. The Korean version of official documents of the Catholic Church aims first ofall to spread the Church’s authentic teaching within Korea and to help the faithful as well as others interested in their search for truth.
“When we make the official teachings of the Catholic Church our own and learn from them, when we are shaped by the authentic teachings of the Church, when we practice them faithfully and live in accordance with them, then we will be able to fulfill our important mission in the universal Church,” said Most Rev. Paul Ri, president of the CBCK.
From 1982 up to the present, the official documents of the Church were published in the Bulletin of the CBCK, a bi-monthly publication.


● Korean Religious Women Sent to Mongolia for Mission
The Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres of the Taegu Region sent three of their Sisters to Mongolia as missionaries.
On July 22nd, a Mission-Mass for the three missionary Sisters was offered by Most Rev. Paul Ri, Archbishop of Taegu, at the chapel of their provincial house in Taegu and the next day they departed for Mongolia. The Sisters are Srs. Josepha Kang, Lia Lee and Theresa Shin. This is the first mission for Mongolia by a religious institute in Korea. Mongolia is known as one of the countries where the presence of the Catholic Church is insignificant.
The Sisters will work in a clinic and in the education of children for now. “We are ready to send more Sisters if necessary depending on future needs of Mongolia” said Sr. Angela Lee Sun?gum, the provincial superior. “This is a call of God to give back some of the abundant graces that the Korean Catholic Church has received from Him. For myself, I’m trying to respond to it very simply” said Sr. Kang who already had volunteered herself for mission in Central Africa.


● Relevance and Location of Ordination Ceremonies
“The days of ordination ceremonies in sport arenas are over, giving way to ordinations in smaller settings that reflect the early Christian spirit of community,” this was announced following the ordination of 31 priests from Seoul archdiocese held in four separate churches on July 5th, the feast day of St. Andrew Kim Tae?gon, the first Korean priest and martyr.
From 1989 to 1994, the archdiocese of Seoul held ordinations in large stadiums such as the Olympic Stadium, mainly because of large number of candidates and guests. The events came to be seen as a sign of the Korean Church’s rapid growth. But since 1995, the annual ordination ceremonies have been spread into four community? based events as a result of reflection that the Church has become too large. This year, Cardinal Kim ordained 12 new priests at the Myongdong cathedral downtown Seoul, while the three Auxiliary Bishops ordained priests at different parishes.
In the past the Church held ordinations on a day the stadium was not occupied, and the day had no relevance to the Christian calendar, Fr. Nereus Kim, vocation director of Seoul archdiocese,said, “the stadium mentality shows that the Church was also influenced by the military culture of ex-presidents Park, Chun and Roh, with its emphasis on display and now the time has come for the Church to return to the source of its original spirituality and christian community participation.”


News in Brief


● An inter?religious unification night was held at Wonmi parish, Puch’on, on Aug. 14th, to mark the 51st anniversary of National Independence Day. Over 1,500 Catholics, Protestants and Buddhists participated in the event. A number of famous singers and dancers performed and letters from elementary students to their North Korean counterparts as well as paintings and posters with unification themes were displayed.

● The Church has made a quick and effective response to the needs of the victims of the heavy storm that buffeted both sides of the Korean peninsula on the last weekend of July. It inundated rice paddies, roads, railways, factories and houses in Kyonggi and Kangwon provinces. 86 people died or missing and 13 parishes were seriously hit. Cardinal Kim and Bishop Ignatius Pak of Andong visited some areas and consoled the victims. In Seoul a second collection was taken up for the victims on the Sunday following the disastrous weekend.

● The late Sunday Mass for business people and tourists initiated in some parishes in Seoul has been given a very positive response. Pongch’on parish which introduced the late Sunday Mass at 9:00 p.m. had some 100 in attendance composed mostly of those who work late in various businesses and especially in the distributive services. “Those faithful who never showed up to Mass are coming to Church now... I hope this will help workers to continue their faith life.” said Fr. Kim Tae?song, the parish priest of Pongch’on.

● Cardinal Kim of Seoul appealed for Casper Park Nohae, a well known labor activist and poet who is serving his 6th year in jail on charges of violating National Security Laws for organizing the Social Labor League(Sanomaeng) and writing poems related to the liberation of workers. On July 12th, the Cardinal sent a personally written petition to Pres. Kim Young?sam on his behalf and said “I do believe Park Nohae has had enough time to reflect on his past. I could confirm through his wife and his brother, Rev. Park Ki?ho that he is ready for a new life of service for the common good of Korean society.”

● On Aug. 20th, the diocese of Ch’unch’on had the joy and honor of having four brother priests with the ordination of Fr. Oh Sae?min(29), the last of four sons of Maria Lee Chun?son(74) in Kangnung, Kangwon?do. He followed his three older brother priests: Revs. Thomas Aquinas(54) Oh, John Bosco Oh(44) and Clemens Oh(32). Father Oh’s family has been Catholic for eight generations.



A Brief History of Catholicism in Korea [15]


by Cho, Kwang, Ph.D.
Prof. of Korea University
Department of Korean History

The Catholic Church in South Korea after the Korean War (1)

1. Context of the Times
  Since the armistice of the Korean War was made in July 1953 the division of the Korean peninsula had been further reinforced. Both South and North Korea had endeavored to overcome the War damage and consolidate their respective social systems. In this context the urgent task of the South Korean society was the overcoming of the War damage while coping with the ever possible “threat” of a north Korean invasion of the South. However South Korea was not able to overcome the War damage by itself and found it necessary to accept economic assistance from foreign countries.
  Directly after the armistice, a theory that was widely developed in South Korean society was that the South needed a strong leadership in order to cope with the threat of invasion by the Communists and the absolute necessity of foreign assistance in order to restore war damage. As a consequence of this, President Rhee Syngman’s government placed emphasis on anti?communist and pro?American political line and kept continuing to cling tenaciously to power even during the post?War period. In this context his dictatorial regime was strengthened more and more. However the illegitimate and dictatorial regime of Rhee was collapsed by the Democratic Revolution of April 19th in 1960.
  A government led by the Democratic Party was formed as a result of the April 19th Democratic Revolution and John M. Chang was elected Prime Minister. The new government led by the Democratic Party’s political power was given a heavy responsibility of realizing the democratization and industrialization of the country while overcoming war damage. To meet these goals the Democratic Party strived hard and made great efforts. However their efforts were ruined by the military coup in May 16, 1961 led by Gen. Park Chung?hee. These social and political situations since the armistice in 1953 up to the military coup in 1961, had made indeed a considerable impact on the development of the history of the Church in South Korea.


2. Growth of the Church in South Korea
  In this period that the South Korean society was recovering social stability, the Church in the South gradually restored Church facilities destroyed during the War and developed missionary activities in order to heal the spiritual wounds and overcome the disastrous consequences of the War. In this context number of Catholic organizations emerged and the catholics committed themselves generously to various activities. The Catholic Conference of Korea which was established before the Korea War in 1948 became vigorously engaged in activities with renewed spirit.They created opportunities for new progress not only in direct mission but also in indirect mission by reinforcing educational and medical works as well as publications and social welfare works.
  Since the armistice, various new religious institutes came into existence in South Korea to assist in mission. Their activities made substantial contribution to the growth and maturity of the local Church. The cease fire also was a good opportunity for all the domestic religious institutes as well to grow and develop fully. In this way, the activities of the religious institutes made rapid development in the South Korean society.
  In the background of the development of the Church in South Korea in the 1950s we must note the commitment and dedication of various kinds of apostolic organizations and devotional associations. Among these the Legio Mariae was the most typical one. Indeed we can say that the contribution made by the Legio Mariae consisted of the successful inducement of the participation of the faithful in the mission and activity of the Church unlike the existing associations which were limitted on their (centered on?) individual devotions. Indeed the Legio Mariae movement made a considerable contribution to the growth of the Church in South Korea and today it has as many as 260,000 active members. Also the J.O.C. which was introduced in 1957 played a significant role in the Korean society in the future that had moved toward full industrial development.
  During the Korean War the Church in South Korea had developed active relief work for war victims with the support of the humanitarian aid of foreign Churches and this was pursued even after the cease fire. However the foreign relief gradually diminished and the Church here had to rely on her own initiatives and efforts. For instance the Church launched the Credit Association in 1952 in an effort to overcome the extreme poverty of the faithful which was a direct result of the War and maladministration. Gradually it helped to strengthen the faithful’s willpower and self?support and developed into a credit organization run by and for ordinary people. Today it has developed into one of the most important banking organizations in South Korea. Besides this other kinds of works and training and vocational schools were areas in which the Church was interested and actively engaged in.
  Because of these efforts, the Church in South Korea has had remarkable growth. By 1953 the number of Catholics in South Korea was 170,000 but by 1961 it reached 500,000. Since the armistice the annual rate of increase has been 16.5 percent. 1958 was a special year when it recorded a 24.18 percent increase. Among them there were also the so?called “rice christians” meaning those who became Catholics because of the influence of the welfare work of the Church. However the phenomenon that is worth noting is that among the new Catholics were a number of intellectuals and middle class people who played a leading role in the society of that time. That was the beginning of the Church in South Korea becoming a middle class Church. However through this phenomenon the relative importance of the Church in South Korea in society could be enhanced.
  In the 1950s, the expansion of the Catholic faith was evident from the fact that the Church was present in all the county seatsincluding isolated islands. Also a noticeable progress was made in the field of education. It was at that time that the Catholic University in Seoul introduced the medical department which had provided important medical manpower to the Korean society. Also the Sogang Jesuit University in Seoul and Hyosong Women’s University in Taegu were founded in that period as well as many other intermediary educational foundations.


List of Articles
No. Subject Date
20 CBCK Newsletter No.20 (Fall 1997) Aug 27, 2009
19 CBCK Newsletter No.19 (Summer 1997) Aug 27, 2009
18 CBCK Newsletter No.18 (Spring 1997) Aug 27, 2009
17 CBCK Newsletter No.17 (Winter 1996) Aug 27, 2009
» 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
10 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

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