CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter







From the Editor

Ad Limina Apostolorum of Korean Bishops

From November 26 to December 3, 2007, the Korean Bishops made their  ad limina visit to the Apostolic See to see Peter (Cf. Gal 1,18) and to strengthen the bonds of collegiality which express the Church's unity in diversity and safeguard the tradition handed down by the Apostles. During the visit, the 25 Korean bishops celebrated the Holy Eucharist at St. Peter's Tomb and St. Paul's Tomb. It was a particularly moving moment of the celebration when the hymn honoring the Korean martyrs reverberated through the St. Peter's Basilica. The bishops visited dicasteries of the Roman Curia to talk about pending issues, had an audience with the Pope and shared a heartfelt embrace of unity, and gave encouragement to Korean priests, religious, and lay Catholics residing in Rome. 
The Pope expressed special expectation and trust in the Catholic Church in Korea, calling it a healthy church which can overcome the challenges of individualism and secularism that it faces together with the universal Church. He called for the Church in Korea to be the sign of hope for the universal Church and suggested concrete ways to this end: that is, to realize the evangelization of Northeast Asia through its mission to China and its humanitarian aid to North Korea and to make the cry of faith of its martyrs echo anew in the lives of the faithful, especially the youth. At the same time each Congregation asked the Korean bishops to play a role in renewing the universal Church with the unique dynamics of the Church in Korea. Such meetings were full of significance since they acknowledged the important position of the Church in Korea within the universal Church.
The Most Rev. John Chang Yik, Bishop of Chunchon and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, said to the Pope in the audience granted to all the Korean bishops, "From a 'receiving Church' we are now called to strive to become ever more a generously 'giving Church'. We owe much in due gratitude from within and much is expected of us from without, particularly as regards Northeast Asia." The Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju and vice-president of the CBCK, said in an interview with Rai TV, an Italian broadcasting company, "The Catholic Church in Korea continues to grow in the Asian continent where the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ is not easy; this growth in itself is 'hope' for the universal Church. We are now called to share this hope with other churches." He noted with pride that "the laity who have been committed to evangelization on the spot are the hope of the Church in Korea."
The bishop president of the CBCK requested the Holy Father to consider making a visit to Korea, recalling that the two visits of the late Pope John Paul II in 1984 and 1989 lent a decisive impetus to evangelization for all Koreans. The Pope's response to the request is being watched with keen interest by Korean Catholics.

Fr. Peter Pai Young-ho
Executive Secretary
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea




2007 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK

2007 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea held its 2007 Autumn General Assembly from October 15 to 18 and decided as follows:

1. The bishops approved the Statutes of the Committee for Youth Ministry.

2. The Episcopal Conference expressed its appreciation for the first Korean Youth Day which was held in the Diocese of Cheju in August as it offered the youth an opportunity to discover anew their faith in the Church and to deepen their communion and solidarity with other believers through the liturgy and other encounters. The Conference decided to give active support to the Committee for Youth Ministry to continue such meetings of the youth.

3. The bishops reached a consensus that the so-called "Healing of the Family Tree," which nowadays does harm to the sound faith of believers, is a heresy opposed to the legitimate teaching of the Catholic Church primarily because of its erroneous interpretation of the doctrine of original sin and its false view of the afterlife which is mixed with shamanism. The bishops resolved to have each diocese counter this problem with prudence and to collect concrete cases as the first step.

4. At the request of the Korean Conferences of Major Superiors of Men and Women Religious Institutes for the Episcopal Conference to support the plan to offer programs for catechumens to visit religious houses and experience the spiritual life of religious in praying together with them, the bishops reached a consensus that faith formation should put more stress on prayer and life experience than on learning by rote. They decided to support the publication of "Guidebook of the Faith Experience Program for Catechumens."

5. Some Chairmen of the Episcopal Commissions and the Presidents of the National Committees were elected as follows:
* Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Clergy & Religious: the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou
* Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Mission & Pastoral Care: the Most Rev. Paul Choi Deok-ki
* President of the Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry: the Most Rev. Paul Hwang Cheol-soo
* President of the Committee for Canonical Affairs: the Most Rev. Jacobus Kim Ji-Seok
* President of the Committee for Social Communications: the Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil
* President of the Committee for Evangelization: the Most Rev. Paul Choi Deok-ki
* In charge of Health Pastoral Care: the Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe (also President of the Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People)

6. The bishops elected the Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon as the liaison for the Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting, a substitute for the Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi, Emeritus Archbishop of Daegu.




Bishop Paul Hwang Installed as the Bishop of Pusan

* Bishop Paul Hwang Installed as the Bishop of Pusan

On November 21, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed the Most Rev. Paul Hwang Cheol-soo, Auxiliary Bishop of Pusan, as the fourth Bishop of Pusan. For five months following the death of the Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myeng-cho, late Bishop of Pusan, Bishop Paul Hwang has acted as the Diocesan Administrator of Pusan.
At the canonical possession of the see of Pusan on December 28, 2007, Bishop Paul Hwang said, "I think that living by abandoning oneself means living a life of love and sacrifice.…… In light of this, I think today's possession of the see is not coming into the position of power but being called to become an example of self-abandonment." He expressed his will "to be a shepherd who sincerely serves all the sheep with paternal affection."
Bishop Paul Hwang, ordained a priest in 1983, served many years as parish priest, professor, and diocesan officer. He was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of Pusan on January 17, 2006.




Ad Limina Apostolorum of Korean Bishops

Ad Limina Apostolorum of Korean Bishops

Twenty five Korean Bishops made their quinquennial ad limina visit to the Apostolic See from November 26 to December 3, 2007 and had the opportunity to have their first official audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

On the first day of their visit, the bishops visited St. Peter's tomb at St. Peter's Basilica and concelebrated Mass with the Most Rev. John Chang Yik, president of the CBCK, presiding. Some 30 Korean priests and seminarians studying at Rome attended the Mass. The Most Rev. Wenceslao Padilla, the Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, also concelebrated.

On December 1, the bishops made a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Paul and celebrated the Holy Eucharist. Almost all the Korean priests in Rome attended the Mass, along with Korean religious and lay faithful residing in Rome. Presiding at the Mass, the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, vice-president of the CBCK, in his homily urged the bishops and priests to have courage and live a steadfast life, recalling the conversion of St. Paul on the way to Damascus and his missionary journey.

The audiences for each diocesan bishop with the Pope proceeded from November 29 to December 3. Since the diocesan bishops had presented the quinquennial reports on their dioceses a few months before, they were able to discuss briefly the general situation and main pastoral challenges of their dioceses as they confirmed their collegiality and communion with the Pope.

After four days of audiences, all the bishops together had another papal audience on the last day of their official schedule. At this audience, the Most Rev. John Chang Yik expressed gratitude and joy for their being united anew in apostolic collegiality with the Successor of Peter and for the Pope's untiring pastoral care and particular affection for the Korean people and Church. He reported that the Church in Korea has made remarkable growth thanks to divine grace, the heroic witnesses of Korean martyr forebears, and the selfless zeal and sacrifice of the laity and foreign missionaries. Now it is expected to grow from a 'receiving Church' to an ever more generously 'giving Church,' particularly as regards Northeast Asia. He also proposed that the Pope consider visiting Korea, recalling that the two visits of Pope John Paul II rendered a decisive impetus to evangelization for all Koreans.

The bishops also visited various dicasteries of the Roman Curia according to their respective duties and interests, such as the Secretariat of the State, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Congregation for the Clergy, Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Congregation for Catholic Education, Pontifical Council for the Laity, Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pontifical Biblical Commission. In addition, all the bishops visited the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples where they met Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation, and discussed important issues of the Church in Korea.

Besides the official programs of the visit, the bishops also had time to meet their diocesan priests, religious and lay Catholics, to celebrate Mass at the Pontifical Korean College with Korean Catholics in Rome on December 2, and to have a luncheon at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to the Holy See at the invitation of Mr. Francis Kim Ji-young, the Korean Ambassador to the Holy See.




Message for 2007 Biblical Week

The Word as Seed and Lamp

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets" 
(Mt 7:12)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In this autumn harvest season, we come to celebrate Biblical Week. This year Biblical Week will be an even more important opportunity to meditate on and practice the Word of God. This is because the themes of the VII General Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation to be held in July 2008 in Tanzania, Africa and of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held in October 2008 in Vatican City are both related to 'the Word of God'. From this we see that the Church has a new understanding of the importance of 'the Word of God' and urges the faithful to pay attention to it.
Both meetings are oriented toward the goal of realizing what kind of value and significance the Word of God retains for the world. In a concrete way, it is to reflect on how deeply the Word of God takes root in the lives of the faithful who live in society. Particularly, the theme of the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops underlines the practical aspect of how efficiently and positively the Word of God must bear fruit in the life and mission of the Church. It recalls to the faithful that their mission is to live for the world to the extent that they are nourished with the bread of life from the table both of the body and the word of Jesus Christ (Cf. Dei Verbum, 21).
Keeping pace with these concerns and proposals of the Church, the Biblical Committee of the CBCK determined the theme of 2007 Biblical Week as "The Word as Seed and Lamp." The seed is the word of life spread on the soil of our hearts, and the lamp refers to the light of the word shining in the world. The parables of the sower and of the lamp in chapter 8 of the Gospel according to Luke effectively show us such meanings.
First of all, the Word is compared to the seed (Lk 8:4-15). In order that the seed takes root in the ground and grows well, it is necessary for each of us to make fertile the soil of our own heart. Thus the seed of the word will fall on good soil, and when it grows, it will produce fruit a hundredfold in our lives. Then the Word is compared to the lamp (Lk 8:16-18). The lamp is light. As light cannot be concealed but rather should be placed high so that those who enter into the house can be enlightened, those who listen to and practice the Word should play a role in shining light to all who are in the dark. That is, if a person receives the Word and therefore carries this light in himself, he should shed his inner light to other people so that they can also enter into the house of the Lord. As Jesus said, those who hear the word of God and act on it become one family with Jesus (Cf. Lk 8:21).
The Word, faith, and life are three elements for reading the Bible, which are inseparably related to one another like the mystery of the Trinity. This means that we receive the words of Sacred Scripture as the revealed Word of the Lord, deepen our faith through the Word in the liturgical life of the Church, and concretely put our faith into practice in the life of community.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
If we receive and approach the Bible or the Word of the Lord in this way, we can hear His calling in the Word. Through the Word, the Lord reveals himself, illuminats us, and calls us. When the Lord calls us through the Word, we should respond to it in our particular situations.
"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets" (Mt 7:12).
Let us reflect on how we can receive and deepen this word. Let us move on, desiring and praying that we may make the light of the Word widely radiate among our neighbors.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I pray sincerely that the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is always present among us in "the word of God which is living and effective" (Heb 4:12), may be always with you.  

November 25, 2007
On the Solemnity of Christ the King

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





Message for the 26th Human Rights Sunday (summary)

Human Dignity is the Highest Value

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Man, created in the image of God as His child, is a most precious being from the moment of conception to the moment he goes back to the embrace of God. On the occasion of Human Rights Sunday, it would be helpful for us to reflect on the situation regarding the defense of life and human rights.
Our society has tried to heal the past wounds in the field of human rights and in fact has made progress to some extent. Still, however, in many sectors human dignity is violated and basic rights are neglected.
First, since the dignity of human life is not valued sufficiently, the lives of the poor and vulnerable are not properly protected in our society. The increase in suicides, ever present abortions, research on human embryos, and the evil law of the death penalty all degrade human life by reducing it to material level and damage the value of human dignity. There are not a few children who are abandoned by divorced parents and consequently are not loved and protected properly. In this reality where the lives of the poor and needy are threatened, it seems still necessary to defend human dignity and realize justice.
Second, we must strengthen our efforts to protect weaker members and minorities of society and abolish the institutions and practices which discriminate against them. Given the increasing number of immigrant workers and inter-cultural families in our society, we should accept the reality of our society as a multi-national and multi-cultural one and amend the laws and institutions which are discriminative or unfavorable to them. Our society cannot hold onto a past of a racially homogeneous nation but we must recognize that we are all the people of God and welcome others as the children of our one God, our brothers and sisters.
Third, we cannot be silent about the human rights situation in North Korea. True efforts for the reconciliation of the Korean people should include defending the human dignity of our North Korean brethren as well as giving material aid to them. We should struggle to improve the human rights situation and to make  freedom of religion and of missionary activity recognized in North Korea.
The improvement of the aforementioned situation of human rights is the duty of us believers. The lack of respect for human dignity is primarily attributed to political policies. Hopefully, in the coming presidential election on December 19, 2007 a person will be selected who will pursue the common good, improve policies, laws and institutions for respecting human rights, will promote education for social justice and awareness in human rights and will try to spread the culture of life.
On this Human Rights Sunday, I would like to convey my sincere respect and gratitude to all those involved in the work for human rights and I wish you all the peace of our Lord.

December 9, 2007

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




Message for the 24th Caritas Sunday

"Whoever loves God must also love his brother" 
(1Jn 4:21)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. Today people are living in a global village. In this narrowed world, however, the wave of globalization has brought about the polarization of wealth in the logic of economic neo-liberalism. Even though every area of daily life enjoys abundance and wellbeing, many people are still suffering material and spiritual poverty. According to statistics published by the UN, one out of six people in the total world population suffers "absolute poverty" (i.e. living on less than one dollar a day) and eight million people are dying of poverty each year.
2. The Catholic Church in Korea designated the third Sunday of Advent as Caritas Sunday. The Advent season is the time of grace when we reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation of God who came into the world to save humanity.  We reflect on our life and prepare ourselves for the second coming of the Savior.
Jesus said, "Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me" (Mt 25:40). St. John also said in his letter that love for neighbors is the way to encounter God and that we cannot see God if we close our eyes to our neighbors (Cf. 1Jn 4:20). Therefore, during the Advent season, we can meet the Lord above all through concrete acts of charity.
Jesus showed the mercy of God equally to sinners who are marginalized and criticized in society and to the materially poor as well. Jesus accepted all as children of God in need of the divine mercy and salvation, including the chief tax collector Zacchaeus, the woman caught in the very act of adultery, the crippled, the lame and the blind who were discriminated against in society, lepers who were regarded as suffering punishment from above, and those who had an unclean spirit. Therefore, the Christian charity is to follow Jesus and proclaim and practice the unconditional love and mercy of God to neighbors afflicted with all forms of suffering. Jesus said, "All will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13:35). We should let all people experience the love and mercy of God through our acts of charity or sharing of love and should invite them to salvation.
3. Charitable work essentially refers to the work that expresses love to neighbors. For the Church, the spouse of Jesus, the practice of love is one of the reasons for being. Therefore, charitable work is the duty and at the same time the inalienable right of the Church. To share the mercy and love of God with poor neighbors does not mean giving them what is left over. Pope St. Gregory the Great said, "When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice" (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.2446). The Second Vatican Council also stresses that the giving of what is due in justice must not be represented as the offering of a charitable gift (Cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, n.8). It also suggests the correct attitude of charity, "It is altogether necessary that one should consider in one's neighbor the image of God in which he has been created, and also Christ the Lord to Whom is really offered whatever is given to a needy person. It is imperative also that the freedom and dignity of the person being helped be respected with the utmost consideration" (Cf. ibid.).
4. As we see in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Cf. Lk 10:29-37), charity and love of neighbor demand from us a universal love for all those poor whom we happen to meet. If we turn our eyes to our neighbors, we can meet many brothers and sisters who need our love, concern and help. In them we should recognize the face of Jesus and manifest the love of God by the concrete practice of love.
Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world after the Korean War. However, it is now marching into the ranks of advanced countries, changing from a receiving country to a giving country. However, we still find many poor neighbors who lack the necessities of life or basic services, such as housing, medical care, education, food, and clothing, and who suffer from illnesses. In particular, our North Korean brethren face chronic economic difficulties and also a serious food shortage caused by the floods this summer.
The Advent season is the time to prepare ourselves to welcome our Lord with joy. The Lord came to us as a lowly and weak infant. Let us welcome and love the coming Lord by loving our neighbors who need our help most.
"Whoever loves God must also love his brother" (1Jn 4:21).

December 16, 2007
On the 24th Caritas Sunday

+ Lazzaro You Heung-sik
Bishop of Daejeon
Committee for "Caritas Corea" of the CBCK





News from the Church in Korea

* The Second Catholic Ecological Award

The CBCK Committee for Environment (President: the Most Rev. Boniface Choi Ki-san) held a ceremony for the Second Catholic Ecological Award at the auditorium of the CBCK on October 5, 2007.
In the greeting Bishop Boniface Choi said, "Amid looming disaster caused by constant environmental destruction, we the faithful need to take the initiative in preserving the environment. I hope the Catholic Ecological Award will be an opportunity to inform the public of the necessity of environmental protection."
The Special Commission for the Island of Peace in the Diocese of Cheju (Chair person: Rev. Daniel Kim Chang-hoon) was awarded the Grand Prix. Against the plan of government authorities to establish a naval base on Jeju Island, the above Commission read the signs of the time and presented an ecclesial vision of eco-irenology to all the people and the faithful in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church.
Ms. Agnes Gwak Hong-sun from the Biadong Parish of Kwangju was awarded the Special Prize, in recognition of her long time commitment to share the faith with the local society through 'Doesali' (i.e., to revive) movement which seeks for the solidarity between the urban and rural communities and 'Anabada' (i.e., to save, share, exchange, and then recycle) movement in harmony with the order of creation.

* The Republic of Korea to Become 
an 'Abolitionist in Practice' Country

A Ceremony for Declaring the Republic of Korea an 'abolitionist in practice' country was held at the Press Center in downtown Seoul, on October 10, 2007, in the presence of many people who have been involved in the movement to abolish the death penalty, including leaders from other religions, government officials, politicians and so on.
The Republic of Korea is likely to be an 'abolitionist in practice' country on December 29, 2007, because it has not executed anyone for ten years. The last execution under the death sentence was on December 30, 1997.
In the congratulatory address read by the undersecretary of the CBCK, H.E. Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan said, "I am deeply moved by the fact that Korea is becoming an 'abolitionist in practice' country." In addition, he expressed his appreciation to the government and all the people who have endeavored to protect life in the hope that Korea can make strides toward a country which respects life and human rights as supreme values.
In his keynote address, Mr. Kim Dae-jung, former president of Korea, recalling his experience of having been condemned to death by the military regime in 1980, said, "Today's ceremony for declaring Korea as an abolitionist in practice country is the most significant moment in the history of the human rights movement in Korea."
Mr. Ahn Kyong-whan, Chief Commissioner of National Human Rights Commission, affirmed that the right to life is sacred and an act of taking human life is a crime against humanity. He expressed his hope that Korea will celebrate the abolition of capital punishment next year.

* The Seventh Ecumenical Forum for Christian Unity

The CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue (President: the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong) and the Protestant Committee for Christian Unity of the National Council of Churches in Korea (General Secretary: Rev. Kwon Oh-sung) held "the Seventh Ecumenical Forum for Christian Unity" at the auditorium of Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul on October 11, 2007 with the theme of "Christian prayer."
It is significant that this forum treated prayer which is one of the remaining  obstacles to ecumenism in spite of interreligious efforts for mutual understanding and respect. 
In his congratulatory address, Bishop Hyginus Kim said, "The aim of this forum is not to find our differences and criticize them, but to learn from each other and grow together. Especially, I hope Catholics will learn something from the dynamic methods of Protestant prayer on this occasion." 
The Rev. Shin Kyung-ha, President of Council of Bishops of the Korean Methodist Church, also delivered an encouraging message, saying "It is time for the Korean Protestants to go beyond the effort to realize unity within the Protestant world and to promote solidarity and cooperation with Catholics and Orthodox more actively."
Fr. Pocas Dominico Kim Ki-hwa, professor of spiritual theology at the Catholic University of Korea, made a presentation with the theme of "Traditional Catholic Prayer" and explained, "One of the traditional Catholic prayers is meditation on the Bible, through which we can encounter Jesus who is present in our real life. The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the most perfect form of prayer in the Catholic tradition." 

* Ban on the Healing of the Family Tree

The Most Rev. Paul Choi Deok-ki, Bishop of Suwon, issued a "Pastoral Exhortation on the Healing of the Family Tree" on November 14, 2007.
In the exhortation he said, "It is not true Catholic faith to say that posterity inherits the sin of its ancestors and that this sin might cause unhappiness in one's family." He continued, "Man cannot inherit human sin. Since human sin is totally individual, anyone who argues that the sin of an ancestor affects the life of his or her posterity must be embracing a heresy which is totally against the grace of the Sacrament of Baptism." He also put emphasis on the doctrine of the souls in purgatory as a traditional Christian teaching and said, "The Church prays and celebrates Holy Mass for those souls. So the faithful have to offer prayers for the dead fervently and dedicate themselves to the life of faith according to the true teaching of the Church."
This pastoral exhortation was one of the measures in accord with the decision of the 2007 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK. The bishops decided that every diocese should deal with this problem of 'healing of the family tree' prudently and collect concrete cases.

* The 13h Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting

The 13th Korean-Japanese Bishops'  Exchange Meeting was held from November 13 to 15, 2007 in the Diocese of Sapporo, Japan. The theme of this year was "Martyrdom in Korea and Japan."
Along with the Most Rev. John Chang Yik, president of the CBCK and Bishop of Chunchon, 13 Korean Bishops were warmly welcomed by 14 Japanese Bishops, including the Most Rev. Peter Takeo Okada, Archbishop of Tokyo, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ).
On November 14, 2007, a commemoration Mass was celebrated for both H.E. Stephen Fumio Cardinal Hamao, late President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and the Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myeong-cho, late Bishop of Pusan, at Kitaichijo Cathedral of Sapporo, Japan. Both passed away recently. Cardinal Hamao played an important role in initiating this annual meeting of Korean and Japanese Bishops and Bishop Augustine Cheong also contributed much to the good relations between the Churches in both countries. He actually set up a sisterhood relationship between the Diocese of Pusan and the Diocese of Hiroshima, Japan.
In the morning of the same day, Dr. Lee Won-soon, Professor Emeritus of Seoul National University, presented a paper entitled "Persecution and the Church." The Most Rev. Francis X. Mizobe Osamu, S.D.B., Chairman of the CBCJ Special Committee for Promoting Canonization and Beatification, presented two papers dealing with "the Development of the Process for the Beatification of 188 Japanese Martyrs" and "the History of the Persecution of the Church in Japan." In the afternoon, the bishops went into group-discussions on the matters presented by Dr. Lee and Bishop Mizobe.
The Japanese bishops expressed their hope that the spirit of the past martyrs could inspire modern men and women in their faith, stressing the great meaning of "the Beatification Ceremony for the 188 Japanese Martyrs" which will take place on November 24, 2008 in Nagasaki, Japan.
The Korean bishops pointed out the need for reflection on the way to live the spirit of martyrs of the past in today's world where almost no one suffers persecution because of his or her faith but where many Christians are lively engaged in political and social activities.
The next meeting will be held from November 11 to 13, 2008 in Korea.

* The 10th Catholic Network 
for the Reconciliation of the Korean People

The CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People held the Tenth Catholic Network for the Reconciliation of the Korean People from November 8 to 9, 2007 at the St. Mary Education Center in Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, with the theme "Christian Life and the Aid to North Korea."
In his keynote address Rev. Paul Han Jeong-gwan, Secretary of the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, said, "Aid to North Korea based on love will be a cornerstone for the rebuilding of the Church in North Korea and the mission for North Korea." He pointed out that "We have to examine the previous efforts of the Church for North Korea and begin to set a plan for a new direction and initiatives."
Dr. Kim Jeong-su, Director of Humanitarian Assistance & Cooperation of the Ministry of Unification, sees the cause of the humanitarian crisis in North Korea in its economic stagnation. His prognosis is that there will be a serious problem with a drastic food shortage in North Korea next year because of the flood disaster in August 2007.
Rev. John Baptist Kim Hun-il, Secretary of the CBCK Subcommittee for Aid to North Korea, said, "Aid to North Korea has both the obligatory aspect of living Christian love and the practical aspect of healing and settling the national conflict." He asserted, "To help the North Koreans means to practice our faith courageously by going ahead with reconciliatory gestures."

* Message on the Problem of 
"Julia Kim (alias Julia Yoon) in Naju"

The Archdiocese of Kwangju issued a message on the problem of "Julia Kim in Naju." With this message the Archdiocese of Kwangju reaffirmed that everything which had been practiced by Julia Kim and her followers in the name of Catholic faith was totally wrong and had nothing to do with the Catholic Church, as the Archdiocese had continuously said in its notifications on this matter, issued in 1998, 2001 and 2005 respectively.
This Archdiocesan message condemned the priest who testified in favor of Julia Kim in a documentary program about "Julia Kim in Naju" aired on November 13, 2007, on MBC, a Korean TV station. Actually this program showed that what Julia has done amounts to a religious fraud.
The Archdiocesan message ended with the teaching of our Lord Jesus about our brother who committed sins against us, citing Matthew 18:15-18.
Julia Kim (her autonym is Yoon Hong-sun) has never followed the admonition of the Archdiocese of Kwangju, and she still alleges openly that she receives messages from St. Mary ("private revelation") and performs "miracles." What makes the matter worse is the fact that one priest of the Archdiocese of Kwangju has continued to help Julia Kim until now although he was officially suspended from his ministry by an Archdiocesan decision of June 12, 2007. Such a situation has caused much disappointment for both Catholics and non-Catholics in Korea. They demand more rigorous measures against Julia Kim and her followers.

* 2008 Pastoral Letters of Diocesan Bishops Stress Sharing with Neighbors and Sanctification of the Family

Marking the first week of Advent on December 2, 2007, each diocesan bishop issued his 2008 pastoral letter and urged the faithful to take the initiative in sharing what they have with their neighbors and to sanctify their families. The bishops also called the attention of the faithful once more to the importance of missionary efforts to bring the Good News to their neighbors who have not yet heard about Jesus Christ.
In his pastoral letter entitled "Family Is a Base for Life," H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said, "Most of all, the noble right and value of the family, which is the basis of respect for human beings, must be clearly proclaimed and recognized to create a social environment in which the value of life is fully respected." He reiterated that "continuous efforts are needed for the abolition of the so-called 'Mother-Child Health Law' and capital punishment, for the prohibition of human embryo cloning, and for the promotion of natural family planning."
In his pastoral letter entitled "The Word Incarnate Lives in the Midst of Us" the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju, said, "Let us renew the image of our community and manifest the mystery of the divine incarnation through the faithful implementation of the three-year development plan of the Archdiocese until 2010." 
The Most Rev. John Choi Young-soo, Archbishop of Daegu, exhorted his faithful to pay attention to the Archdiocesan Synod, the construction of a church to mark the centennial anniversary of the Archdiocese, and the publication of the "Chronology of the Archdiocese of Daegu," and to render their sincere cooperation for these projects which are meant to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Archdiocese of Daegu.
With the archbishops all other bishops together recognized that it is most important for the Church to care for marginalized neighbors if she is to serve the world as light and salt. They hoped that the faithful would have an interest in the restoration of the order of creation through environmental protection and pastoral care for the youth who are the future of the Church.



News in Brief

In 2008 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of Cheongju, the Synod of Cheongju launched its outreach 'to neighbours, to the world'. The Diocese of Cheongju held an Opening Mass for the Synod of Cheongju and began its first plenary session at Naedeokdong Cathedral of Cheongju on October 1, 2007. The nine-month synodal journey consists of four plenary sessions and a closing session: the second plenary session is to report the results of discussions on the agenda; the third plenary session is to vote on propositions; the fourth plenary session is to present final propositions; the closing session will be on June 22, 2008.


The Catholic University of Korea established the "Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Graduate School for Life," the first graduate school for bioethics in Asia. With the official approval of the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development on September 20, 2007, the graduate school started to receive the first applications for admission. Thirteen professors from various fields of study from moral theology to medicine will teach the students in two departments, the department of bioethics and the department of life culture. The courses are not just for the education of would-be experts who can contribute to the establishment and development of bioethics in Korea. The school also aims at the formation of the general public, including politicians, lawyers, journalists, and medical staff members concerned with bioethical matters. 


Rev. Joseph Cheong Dal-young, Professor Emeritus of the Catholic University of Daegu, won the 11th Catholic Academic Award acknowledging his work, German Mysticism in the Middle Age. The award ceremony took place at the Franciscan Education Center in Seoul on November 22, 2007. In his address of thanks, Father Cheong said, "Nowadays there are many people who have a deep interest in oriental and Asian thought and philosophy. The main reason for this interest is the mystical elements in them. In such a situation I felt the need to write this book to inform the readers of German mysticism in the Middle Ages." He explained that the mystical tradition of Christianity means the mystical union of God with man, which the Greek church fathers called "theosis," and the Latin fathers "deificatio." 


The CBCK Committee for Social Communications held a ceremony for the 17th Catholic Mass Communications Awards on December 11, 2007 at the Coste Hall of Myeongdong Cathedral of Seoul. The first prize was awarded to the Dongnyeok Publishing House which in trying to read the signs of the times has made efforts to search out and publish good books in the fields of the humanities and architecture since 1977. Besides, it has contributed to the establishment of a complex of publishing houses in Paju, northwest of Seoul.





The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea

St. Ignatius Kim Che-jun 

Ignatius Kim Che-jun was a grandson of Pius Kim Chin-hu, who was martyred in 1814, and the father of Father Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean priest, who was martyred in 1846. Ignatius led a very devout Catholic life as long as he lived. When his son was selected by the missionaries to be sent to Macao to study for the priesthood, Ignatius realized the danger that his whole family might face by sending one of the family members abroad. It was a brave action on the part of Ignatius.
Ignatius was accused by one of his sons-in-law and was arrested by a group of police led by the traitor Kim Yo-sang. According to a witness, Ignatius was strong enough to resist several men, but he allowed himself to be arrested with no resistance.
Ignatius was treated as a criminal against the state, not only because he was a Catholic himself, but because he allowed his son Andrew to go to Macao against the state law. Witnesses do not say what kind of tortures he received, but he must have undergone much more cruel tortures than others. Ignatius denied his religion under the tremendous, overpowering tortures. Despite the fact that he denied his religion, he was not released from prison, because his crime of having allowed his son to go abroad could not be forgiven.
The Catholics around him in prison tried to convince Ignatius that he would never be released even if he denied his religion. They persuaded him to change his mind, withdraw his apostasy and profess his faith again to the government officials.
The Apostle Peter denied the Lord three times, but he repented. Ignatius too rose again and went on to die as a martyr. He appealed to the higher court and withdrew his apostasy. He was severely beaten on three occasions, but this time Ignatius was strong and courageous.
Ignatius received the crown of martyrdom. He was beheaded outside the Small West Gate on September 26, 1839, with eight fellow Catholics. He was 44 years old when he was beheaded.

St. Perpetua Hong Kum-ju

Perpetua Hong Kum-ju was born outside the city of Seoul. She was a powerful woman in character, intelligence, manner and language. She grew up in the home of her grandmother. She married a pagan man at the age of 15 but  managed somehow to practice her religion. Her husband died early, and she left her husband's home with her son and lived in Minari-kol. Her son also died soon after. The owner of the house where she stayed, Philip Choe, taught her the catechism anew, and Perpetua prayed so fervently that she frequently wept during her prayers. People admired her charitable activities and said that she helped others like a servant.
Perpetua used to say: "I want a red garment, because I want to be a martyr." She was arrested, and was tortured and commanded to deny God and reveal the hiding places of the Catholics. But she did not even moan. The policemen twisted her legs, and then stripped her and hung her from the prison ceiling to beat her, but she remained calm. Three days later she was sent to the higher court and severely beaten on her legs on three occasions, but she did not succumb to the judges. She almost died of fever in prison, but she recovered very quickly and served the other inmates unselfishly. Everybody in prison regarded her as their elder sister.
Perpetua was beheaded outside the Small West Gate on September 26, 1839, at the age of 36 with eight other Catholics.

List of Articles
No. Subject Datesort

CBCK Newsletter No.65 (Winter 2008)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.64 (Fall 2008)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.63 (Summer 2008)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.62 (Spring 2008)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.61 (Winter 2007)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.60 (Fall 2007)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.59 (Summer 2007)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.58 (Spring 2007)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.57 (Winter 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.56 (Fall 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.55 (Summer 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.54 (Spring 2006)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.53 (Winter 2005)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.52 (Fall 2005)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.51 (Summer 2005)

  • Aug 27, 2009

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