CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter






Peace Be with You All!

Peace Be with You All!

As we open this new year, we revive the eternal hope anew. As believers we offer gratitude and praise to God who guided our lives with His Providence this past year. Walking along the way of pilgrimage on this earth, we try to seek the will of God in every anxiety and hope, joy and grief, success and failure, and eventually turn our eyes to the eternal life which God promised us.

Last year we witnessed and experienced many events at home and abroad. Typhoons and earthquakes attacked some parts of the earth, claiming many innocent lives and creating many victims. In parallel with the development of biotechnology, serious ethical issues have been constantly raised. And recently in Korea, the revised bill on private school reform caused a conflict. Farmers stage demonstrations against the opening of the local rice market. Similarly, informal workers also stage demonstrations calling for the improvement of poor working conditions. It seems difficult to find people who are ready to empty themselves and share what they have with their neighbors. If everyone holds firm to his or her own opinion and does not listen to others, we cannot make our society a harmonious community.

However, we believers who live following the Gospel of Christ should seek a community centered on "the other", not on ourselves. Christians should live first for God, and then for their neighbors. I sincerely hope that this year Christians can cooperate with all men and women of good will to form a community of communion where people think of others first, seek the common good together and serve each other. This is the genuine meaning of the human society which we all aspire to.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, concluding the Year of the Eucharist last October, stressed that we should give joy and hope to those living in sorrow and suffering. Following the words of our Lord, we Christians, as the salt and light of the world, should clearly manifest toward the world the mystery of the Eucharist. Christ offered his body and blood as food for us because He willed us to conform ourselves to Him. Therefore, we should spread the divine love to our neighbors and put it into concrete practices. When we truly live out Eucharistic love, our society will be more conformed to the will of God.

May God give abundant blessings to all our brothers and sisters and all people of good will.

On New Year's Day 2006
+ Augustine Cheong Myeng-cho
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea




2005 Autumn General Assem. CBCK

2005 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK Held

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea held its 2005 Autumn General Assembly from October 10 to 14 and decided as follows:

1. The bishops approved the publication of the revised Korean version of the Rites for Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass.

2. The bishops examined a draft for the adaptation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and approved the draft.

3. The bishops approved the Bylaws on Permission to Publish the Bible, which stipulate that in accordance with canon law, to publish the Bible permission should be granted by the Episcopal Conference after examination of the Biblical Committee and the Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith and that to quote The Korean Bible copyright permission should be requested apart from the permission to publish.

4. The bishops decided to send dioceses the text for a presentation ceremony of The Korean Bible: Seonggyeong which was prepared by the Biblical Committee to widely publicize The Korean Bible among the faithful.

5. To positively cope with controversial bioethical issues, the bishops ordered the Bioethics Committee and the Committee for Catechesis to jointly prepare promotion materials on bioethical issues, including the results of adult stem cell research.

6. The following reports were made to the bishops: preparation for the Second Asian Congress on Pilgrimages and Shrines (to be held at Hanmaeum Youth Center in Uijeongbu from Nov. 21 to 23, 2005). It will be jointly hosted by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants and the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants and will be  sponsored by the Archdiocese of Seoul; giving aid to North Korea by the Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People; the implementation of overseas aid by the Committee for "Caritas Coreana".

7. New officers of the episcopal conference were elected.


New President of the CBCK 
Envisions a "Young and Dynamic" Church

The Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myeng-cho, Bishop of Pusan and newly elected President of the CBCK, had a press conference on October 14, 2005 at the CBCK Building and said, "I will try to become a messenger so that the Catholic Church in Korea through the episcopal conference can promote evangelization and the common good in various areas."

Taking into consideration the aging of the general population, which is also serious in the Church, and the decrease of young Catholics, he said, "I will concentrate my efforts on making the Church 'young and dynamic.'"

In addition, he mentioned as his main tasks the building of a culture of life and the continuation of efforts for the reconciliation and unity of the Korean people.

To become a "steersman" of the Catholic Church in Korea through communion and unity of the bishops, he called on the faithful for collaboration and prayer for him "so that the bishops can exercise their mission entrusted to them by Christ, devoting themselves to the proclamation of the Gospel and the service of the Church."

Ordained a priest in 1962 and a bishop in 1990, he was appointed Bishop of Pusan in 1999 and served as the Vice President of the CBCK from October 2002 to October 14, 2005.




Message for the 24th Human Rights Sunday

Message for the 24th Human Rights Sunday (summary)

Decent Life for All

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Catholic Church, in accord with the Bible, has long taught that man, created in the image of God (cf. Gen 1:6-28), has his dignity and thus has many proper rights. Among all creatures, the human person alone knows and loves God and is called to share in the life of God. Human rights are based on the dignity of man which can be guaranteed through the respect for and realization of human rights.

Every man has absolute rights, like the right to life and the right to the protection of his dignity as a man. Especially there are the rights to an adequate standard of living including food, clothing and housing, and to just access to social services like medical care. "He has the right to …… particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services …… he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood" (Pacem in Terris, n. 11).

One of the elements threatening the right to life and hindering the dignity of man is poverty. People who are driven into absolute poverty need the institutional support of the government, lest the poverty continues from generation to generation. All the faithful and all citizens have to cooperate to drive away this poverty.

In our society the number of the aged is increasing rapidly. The aged, now retired, have contributed much to our society. Therefore, we have to recognize them as contributors to our society and not as burdens. On their part, the aged have to have the will to serve society with pride, doing their best for the development of their neighbors and themselves and especially helping fellow elders in need. We urge the government to set up a systematic policy for the welfare of the aged.

We also would like to wish peace to the people of North Korea. We truly hope that North Korean society develops into a society where human rights are respected. In particular, religious freedom must be guaranteed and practiced. Religious freedom is one of the most important criteria to measure the degree of humanization in a society.

Nowadays, we are witnessing a prevalent trend where the right to life, which is the most fundamental human right, is neglected.  In particular, we note the killing of innocent unborn children, the embryonic stem cell research carried on under the pretext of curing incurable diseases, and the infringement of the rights of women. We cannot leave such unethical situations unchallenged. An embryo is a human life. We cannot destroy a life for the purpose of research. We strongly recommend adult stem cell research as an alternative.

Secondly, there are many migrant workers deprived of human dignity, living an inhumane life even as they contribute to industrial development. This is a matter against justice so we have to address this problem.

Thirdly, there are still many people who argue that capital punishment must remain as a positive law. However, since life belongs to God, a nation cannot take it away. We have to abolish the inhumane practice of capital punishment and replace it with the life-sentence.

Fourthly, there is still the so-called "poison pill" in the National Security Law which causes social disruption. We cannot postpone the humanitarian revision of the law. The "poison pill", which has violated the human rights of many innocent citizens and ruined their family life, must be eliminated. This will contribute to building a sound and mature society.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

To promote human rights, the government must take the initiative but all, individually and in community, must make efforts to defend and strengthen human dignity and values. The faithful believing in God and following His Words must be the first to promote human rights in their everyday environment.

I wish you and your family abundant grace and the blessing of our Lord, who sacrificed His life for the salvation of human beings.

"Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me" (Mt 25:40).


December 4, 2005

+Boniface Choi Ki-san
Committee for Justice & Peace
 of the CBCK



Message for the 22nd Caritas Sunday

Message for the 22nd Caritas Sunday (summary)

"Blessed Are The Merciful!"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. Many people are complaining about the difficulty of earning a livelihood. We do not need to go far to find those who are worn out and need our care and help. The severe reality of capitalism, characterized by a wide economic gap between the rich and poor, drives us to unlimited competition. Caught in this wave, some people are responding in extremes to this reality to defend their own right to live. In the face of individual and structural evil that veils the goodness of the nature God inscribed in us, we eagerly await Jesus the Savior who will come as love and light.

2. "Homo Consumens" describes the characteristics of our time. Consumption has positive aspects as it forms and sustains the social nature of individuals and families and relates people with each other. However, sometimes the culture of consumption, imbued with hedonism and materialism, makes us ill. Without recognizing it, we are being enslaved by this prevailing consumerism. In this regard, the Church community should positively make efforts to evangelize the culture of consumption by alerting people. Christians should consume in a temperate manner and should live as stewards, caring for creation and their neighbors and avoiding unnecessary consumption. When we recognize that only God can fill our minds, giving us true happiness, joy and freedom, we can then be free from obsession with material things. "No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (Mt 6:24).

3. The good God wants all creatures to live in harmony and happiness. He does not want anyone to be marginalized. As you know, this is possible when we share. Sharing does not necessarily require possessions. Sharing is a privilege given to all.

What are you doing for your neighbors while you are being unconditionally loved and cared for by God? What concrete actions are you taking for the least who need your help? The least are in all places and at all times. There are many faces of the least around us: the suffering, the sick, the imprisoned, the neglected, the victims of accidents, the jobless, the migrants who are being discriminated against, those who have lost meaning and hope in life, the children who have been abandoned and the old and the weak. With a little love and concern, we can help these people find meaning in life in this world.

In particular, on this Caritas Sunday, we can pool our love and care for our  neighbors so that the Church community can render systematic and well-planned help to the needy and marginalized. Remembering that the Advent season is a time when we are preparing to welcome the Infant Jesus who comes to us in the image of the poor and the weak, we should renew the spirit of sharing. I ask your precious sharing so that the Church community can make the best efforts to promote the common good and help our needy neighbors.

God will be more pleased when our accompanying of our suffering neighbors is not a one-time event but a constant effort. "Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father" (Mt 5:16). In the spirit of God's word, let us become instruments of our Lord by practicing the spirit of sharing and by sowing seeds of hope in the world, awaiting the Savior who will come as love and light.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy" (Mt 5:7).

December 11, 2005
On the 22nd Caritas Sunday

+ Lazzaro You Heung-sik
Committee for "Caritas Coreana"
of the CBCK




The Korean Bible 'Seonggyeong' Published

The Korean Bible: 'Seonggyeong' Published

A complete Korean translation of the Bible by and for Catholics has been published for the first time since the introduction of the Catholicism to Korea 220 years ago. On October 10, 2005, on the occasion of the opening of the 2005 Autumn General Assembly, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea held a ceremony to celebrate the publication of The Korean Bible: Seonggyeong. Among some 200 participants were Catholic biblical scholars, Korean language experts who cooperated in the Bible translation, and Protestant leaders.

The Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, the outgoing President of the CBCK, said in his welcome address, "The Bible is the word of God written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I believe that the 17 years of our efforts have also been guided by the Holy Spirit. I hope the Christian life of Korean Catholics can be vitalized and renewed by using The Korean Bible in the sacred liturgy, lectio divina, Bible studies and daily prayers. 'The Word became flesh and lived among us' (Jn 1:14). Now we must live out this Word."

Following the welcome address, congratulatory addresses were given by His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim, by the Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Chung Chul-bum, Anglican Primate of Korea and Bishop of Seoul, by the Rev. Paik Do-woong, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea, and by Rev. Min Young-jin, General Secretary of the Korean Bible Society.

Cardinal Kim said, "Now, with this Korean translation, God can come closer to us as the Word of Life. The Bible is not a simple book, but it feeds and nurtures us as the Word of Life. Therefore, we Christians take this Word as spiritual food and conform ourselves to God more and more." He also spoke of and thanked the late Rev. Joseph Im Seung-phill, who devoted his life to the translation of the Bible until his untimely death in 2003.

The Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Chung said, "I hope that this new translation can be widely used not only in the Catholic Church but also in all the Christian Churches in Korea. I also hope that with this new translation, all believers can get nearer to the Word of God and study the Bible more sincerely, thereby contributing to the growth of the Churches in Korea."

Rev. Paik said, "We cannot think of the Christian faith without the Bible. Thus, the Bible should be easy to read and understand and be close to the daily life of Christians. I think the special affection of Korean Christians for the Bible has contributed much to the rapid development of Christianity in Korea."

Rev. Min pointed out some important changes from the previous ecumenical translation, including the title of Seonggyeong itself and the changing of "Yahweh" to "Junim" (Lord).  He added, "I am sure that The Korean Bible, though translated only by Catholics, will make a great contribution to the history of Bible translation in Korea."

After the congratulatory remarks, the President of the CBCK presented The Korean Bible to Cardinal Kim, Protestant representatives and Mr. Im Se-gang, father of the late Rev. Joseph Im Seung-phill, as a token of gratitude.

The Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju, President of the CBCK Biblical Committee, offered thanks to all those who collaborated in the translation and publication of The Korean Bible.

In the process of translation, The Korean Bible gave priority to faithfulness to the biblical text to overcome the limits of the previous ecumenical translation which was easy to read and understand but sometimes deviated from the biblical text. Through dozens of meetings to read through and compare the translation with Hebrew and Greek texts and to refine Korean expressions, the translators and editors tried, on the one hand, to make The Korean Bible faithful to the biblical text and, on the other hand, to deliver the word of God in refined style of contemporary Korean language.





Message for 2005 Biblical Week

Message for 2005 Biblical Week (summary)

Newness of the Word:
The Living and Abiding Word of God (1Pt 1:23)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the midst of this harvest season we celebrate Biblical Week. For Korean Catholics, this year's Biblical Week is more meaningful and more filled with gratitude because the Catholic Church in Korea has published the first complete Korean translation of the Bible for Catholics, The Korean Bible: Seonggyeong. For this reason I took as this year's theme "Newness of the Word: The Living and Abiding Word of God (1Pt 1:23)". "All the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture" (Dei Verbum, n. 21), by reading the living and abiding word of God. Now we should be born anew following the image of "the Word who became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (cf. Jn 1:14), by virtue of the "imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God" (1Pt 1:23). We should be reborn among the least, the suffering, the forgotten and the marginalized, all those who need our love and concern. This is the "newness of the Word" we will experience through The Korean Bible.

Here I would like to briefly explain how The Korean Bible was published because, I believe, you can better understand this new translation when you understand the process that was used in producing the book.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea decided to set about the new translation of the Bible because of criticism that the existing Ecumenical Korean Translation of the Bible, by attaching too much importance to the natural style of the Korean language, deviated far from the biblical text and had lots of incorrect and very free translations. Thus, the CBCK held a meeting of Bible experts in 1988 and appointed the late Rev. Joseph Im Seung-phill as the Executive Secretary of the CBCK Biblical Committee and formed a translation team that was given exclusive charge of the Bible translation. After the first translation, the committee revised the draft through dozens of meetings by comparing it with the Hebrew and the Greek texts and by refining Korean sentences. From 1990 to 2002, all parts of the Old and New Testaments were published one after another, in 28 separate volumes, to collect various comments and criticisms from the faithful and to use them for the ongoing translation work. In 2003, a committee and a working team were organized to compile the separate books according to consistent principles. In this stage, they also invited experts in the Korean language to read it through and make suggestions. In the autumn of 2004, a survey and a public hearing were held to gather and consider more opinions from various levels within the Church. In June 2005, the compilation committee finalized the translation after examining the suggestions of the experts in Korean and the transliteration of some proper nouns.

In this way the Biblical Committee followed accurate interpretations, not any individual's private opinions, carried out proofreading and polishing with the guidance of many experts, and collected various opinions over ten years by publishing the volumes separately. Therefore, The Korean Bible can properly be called the fruit of common work within the Catholic Church in Korea.

The 2005 Spring General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea adopted The Korean Bible: Seonggyeong as the official Catholic Bible in Korea.  We now have come to have a complete Korean translation of the Bible, the first since Catholicism was introduced to Korea more than 200 years ago.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

What we have to do now is to read, meditate and live out The Korean Bible to make it a "Book of the People". Hopefully, this new Bible, along with its new expressions, can make us meditate and experience the newness of the "Word". In particular this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's proclamation of Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum. This dogmatic constitution says that "the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life" (n.21). It also cites the saying of St. Jerome that "ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ" (n.25). How happy we will be if we can gain new strength from the word of God through The Korean Bible! How happy if we can meet Jesus Christ anew!

November 20, 2005
On the Solemnity of Christ the King

+ John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju
Biblical Committee
of the CBCK



News from the Church in Korea

News from the Church in Korea


● Seoul Archdiocese Establishes Committee on Life and Celebrates the "Day of Life"

The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, issued a letter on September 30 and explained the need to establish a diocesan committee on life and requested generous contributions from the faithful for raising a fund amounting to 10 billion won.

He explained that this is the best way to defend the dignity of life, saying, "We should discern if the scientific studies and progress serve the people in a true sense and correspond to the order of creation."

"Following the example of the love Christ showed to the suffering sick, we will positively support medical studies to alleviate the suffering of the sick, especially those with incurable diseases," he added.

To this end, he requested generous contributions from the faithful for a fund which will be used mainly for the research on adult stem cells and the application of the research to clinical treatment.

Those designated to this committee include bishops, priests, professors and a lawyer. The Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul, was appointed as its chairman.

Along with the establishment of the diocesan committee on life, the Archdiocese celebrated the "Day of Life" on December 4, 2005, Human Rights Sunday, to proclaim widely the dignity of life and contribute to the building of the culture of life. The day featured various events, including "Mass for Life," a musical concert for life, a ceremony for promising the donation of human organs, lectures on life, a campaign for collecting signatures of those favoring the abolition of the death penalty, and the opening of a publicity booth promoting life.

● Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate

The CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue held a commemoration ceremony at the Franciscan Education Center in Seoul on October 27, 2005, to mark the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II declaration on the relation of the Church to non-christian religions.

Many representatives from other religions in and out of Korea participated in this ceremony to reaffirm the spirit of interreligious dialogue and cooperation presented in Nostra Aetate.

The most interesting part of the ceremony was the "Prayer for Peace" participated in by the religious representatives. Mr. Igal Caspie, the Israeli Ambassador to Korea, and the Rev. Lee Haeng-rae, Imam of the Korea Muslim Federation, were among the participants.

Nostra Aetate, which affirmed that "The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions [Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions]" (Nostra Aetate, n.2), paved a new way to interreligious dialogue. This was the "first step" with an open attitude toward other religions and it serves as the basis for on-going interreligious dialogue and cooperation.

Ven. Hyun-go, the representative from Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, said, "The cause of the pains like war, conflict and hunger stems from the prejudices which do not tolerate difference." And he asserted that "The message of peace may be communicated to the people as we gather here to pursue the common value in the name of our respective religions."

● 10th Anniversary of "Social Doctrine School" and the Publication of the Korean Translation of Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

The "Social Doctrine School" of the Seoul Archdiocese celebrated its 10th Anniversary at the Seoul Catholic Center on Nov. 5, 2005. A party also  celebrated the publication of the Korean version of Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

The Social Doctrine School was established in 1995 to promote the knowledge and practice of the social doctrine of the Church among the Catholic faithful. Until now 1,890 people have attended the Social Doctrine School and they have organized an alumni association to continue their efforts to promote the understanding of the social doctrine of the Church. Most of them are now lay leaders in the Church.

The Rev. Remigio Lee Dong-ik, who presented a paper at the symposium, said that "At the beginning there was skepticism about the necessity of the Social Doctrine School but now there is a vast consensus for it. And I am sure that it has contributed much to promote the social consciousness of the Catholic faithful." He added, "Society changes. Nevertheless, it is necessary for the Church to teach the eternal truth. We may find the answer to the problems of the present society, if we can understand the social doctrine of the Church in accordance with God's salvific plan in the history of redemption, with love and benevolence."

The Korean version of Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is the first translation into a local language published in Asia. His Eminence Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino, the president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, expressed his appreciation for the prompt translation of Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church in his congratulatory message sent to the Most Rev. Boniface Choi Ki-san, president of the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace. Many guests celebrated the events, including the Most Rev. Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, and the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju and the first principal of the Social Doctrine School. 

● II Asian Congress on Pilgrimages and Shrines Held in Korea

The Second Asian Congress on Pilgrimages and Shrines was held in Korea from November 21 to 23, 2005 under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, in collaboration with CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants and the Archdiocese of Seoul. The theme of the congress was "Pilgrimages and Shrines, Gifts of God-Love in Asia Today." It aimed at promoting evangelization focused on shrines in the multi-religious and multi-cultural setting of Asia.

Some 90 participants from 14 Asian countries, mostly rectors of shrines and directors of pilgrimages, reached a consensus on the need to renew the meaning of shrines as the "center of evangelization which promotes the concrete values of the gospel" even as secular challenges are becoming more and more serious.

The three-day congress consisted of lectures, workshops, Mass, communal prayers and a cultural performance. Lectures were given by the Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun, Bishop of Cheongju, the Rev. Renzo De Luca, Rector of the Japanese Shrine of the 26 Martyrs at Nagasaki, and the Rev. Devasia Mathew Mangalam, Rector of the Shrine of Fatima at Calcutta in India.

At the end of the congress, the participants resolved "to make use of these God-given centers to evangelize, promote life and dignity of people, strengthen family life, continue to dialogue with other religions, work for Christian unity and foster spiritual life and commitment of our people to God's Kingdom in response to God-love expressed through shrines."

They also adopted the final document (draft) and confessed together that shrines are the true school of faith to reveal the presence of the Word Incarnate. They also proposed to form national and regional associations of shrine rectors and pilgrimage directors for the sake of evangelization in Asia, which can also contribute to the promotion of human dignity and the culture of life, a deepening of spirituality, and Christian unity and interreligious dialogue.

Concluding the congress, His Eminence Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, said, "The encounter between cultures and Christ can be realized through the experience of God. This congress gave us a new perspective of evangelization in Asia by sharing the experiences of God who is present among us."

● 2006 Pastoral Letters of Diocesan Ordinaries Issued

As the new liturgical year of the Church began with the first Sunday of Advent on Nov. 27, 2005, the archbishops and bishops of the Catholic Church in Korea issued their Pastoral Letters for the year 2006.

The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said, "We have to overcome the deteriorating modern trend of contempt for life and purify the corrupt world with a religious life of Eucharist." He added, "Small Christian Communities and parishes must provide families with practical support to make each of them a true community of love since family pastoral ministry is the basis for all pastoral activities."

The Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi, Archbishop of Daegu, said, "Nowadays we are aware of the sharp decrease of younger Catholics as the de facto rate of increase of the Catholics in Korea stagnates." He asked the faithful to do their best especially for the evangelization of the youth, saying, "We have to urge the youth to live a life bearing witness to the true meaning of the Word of God by engraving it on their mind."

The Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju, urged the faithful to come together in the family to pray, study and serve since "a family is the greatest field of evangelization and education." He added, "We have to exert our efforts to make the Word of our Lord incarnated in our daily life by reading, transcribing and meditating on the Bible always anew."

News in Brief

On October 6, the Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man, CBCK Executive Secretary, was awarded the 9th Catholic Academic Award, for his book entitled The Kingdom of God. He said at the ceremony, "'The Kingdom of God' is the essence of Jesus' mission and of His proclamation of the Gospel. It is also the essential mission and first challenge for us Christians to seek. Prayer is the most prominent instrument to realize the Kingdom of God." The Catholic Academic Award was instituted by the Catholic Times in 1997 to commemorate the lay theologian Yang Han-mo.

The Catholic Cyber Pastoral Office of the Seoul Archdiocese opened an initial formation course for catechumens on the internet on October 25 (http://veritas..ne.kr). While taking the course composed of 50 units, catechumens should attend Mass 20 times or more and obtain an affirmation of attendance from their parish. On completing all the units, they will receive a cyber certificate and can be baptized by presenting the certificate to their parish.

On December 3, the CBCK Episcopal Special Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization held the first judicial inquiry for the cause of beatification of the Servant of God Thomas Choe Yang-eop, priest, to investigate the life, virtues and reputation of sanctity as a Servant of God. The first session included the reading of the postulator's petition, presentation of nomination letters, reading of the decree of "Introduction of the Cause and Constitution of the Tribunal," oaths of all those concerned, and presentation of materials of evidence.

As the private school reform bill was passed by the National Assembly of Korea on December 9, the Catholic Church in Korea, along with other religious and private school operators, expressed resolute opposition to the revised private school law to the point of calling on President Roh Moo-hyun to veto the bill. On December 14, Catholic educators and leaders held an ad-hoc meeting and issued a statement in the name of the CBCK Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs and the Federation of Catholic Educational Foundations in Korea. "The revised private school law fundamentally undermines the founding spirit of the private schools and threatens the autonomy of all private schools, religious or not," it said.




The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea

The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea 33 34

Saint Yu Tae-chol Peter (1826 ~ 1839)

Yu Tae-chol Peter was only 13 years old when he was martyred. His father, Yu Chin-gil Augustine, was martyred, but his mother would not become a Catholic, and tried very hard to hinder her son from practicing his faith and to force him to offer sacrifices to the ancestors. His mother and his sister asked Peter why he would not obey his mother. Peter gently replied that it was not proper to obey his mother and disobey the Heavenly King and the Father of all creatures. In other matters, except faith, Peter obeyed his mother faithfully and tried not to offend his family.

When the persecution broke out, Peter had an ardent desire to be a martyr. Deeply moved and impressed by the heroic example of his imprisoned father and other martyrs, young Peter could not control his emotional love for God and gave himself up to the government authorities in July of 1839. After interrogations the judge found out that Peter was the son of a Catholic family and put him in prison. Peter was taken to the court. The judge tried every means to have Peter deny God. Peter was persuaded, threatened and tortured, but would not deny God.

One day a prison guard hit Peter hard on his leg with a long tobacco pipe, and a piece of his flesh was torn off. The prison guard said, "Do you still believe in God?" Peter answered, "Yes, I certainly do. I am not afraid of being hit." The prison guard threatened to put a burning charcoal into Peter's mouth. Peter opened his mouth and said that he was ready. The prison guard could not bring himself to put the charcoal into Peter's mouth. All those in prison admired his courage. One day Peter was beaten so severely that he fainted. After his fellow inmates helped him recover consciousness, he said, "Don't worry. I will not die because of this pain."

Peter was interrogated 14 times and was tortured on 14 different occasions. He was whipped 600 times and beaten with a cudgel 45 times. His whole body was covered with wounds, his bones were broken and his flesh was torn off. But it is truly miraculous that young Peter always had a happy, smiling face. His courage can truly be called a miracle. His love of God seemed to change his face and ridicule the torturing adults. Peter took a piece of flesh falling off his shoulder and threw it to the prison guard. Everybody around him was surprised and embarrassed. No one could believe that a young boy of 13 years of age was so severely tortured, but there were at least ten witnesses who testified to Peter's tortures and courage.

The government officials wanted to beat Peter to death, but courageous Peter did not die. So he was strangled to death in prison on October 31, 1839 at the age of 13.

Yu Peter is one of the greatest martyrs of Korea. He is a model for all Korean children. Korea is very proud of the youngest of its 103 martyrs saints.

Saint Yi Barbara (1825 ~ 1839) 

Yi Barbara was born in Chongpa in Seoul. She was only 15 years old when she was martyred. She lost her parents when she was a child, and lived with her aunts, the martyrs Yi Yong-hui Magdalene and Yi Chong-hui Barbara. It can be said that Barbara lived in this world only to love God and die for him.

According to the record of the Holy See, Barbara was taken to the police station and was severely tortured.

Barbara was taken to the higher court, and was urged by the judge to deny God and was tortured. The judge thought that she was too young to be punished and sent her back to the police.

There were three boys with Barbara in the same prison cell. They were encouraging one another. In the meantime Barbara contracted typhoid fever. This disease caused a great deal of pain for the Catholics in prison. It was easily contracted in prison due to the unhealthy environment in the crowded and narrow prison cells. Barbara suffered for about a week, and died in prison in Seoul on May 27, 1839, at the age of 15.

List of Articles
No. Subject Datesort

CBCK Newsletter No.46 (Spring 2004)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.47 (Summer 2004)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.48 (Fall 2004)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.49 (Winter 2004)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.50 (Spring 2005)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.51 (Summer 2005)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.52 (Fall 2005)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.53 (Winter 2005)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.54 (Spring 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.55 (Summer 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.56 (Fall 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.57 (Winter 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.58 (Spring 2007)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.59 (Summer 2007)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.60 (Fall 2007)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter

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