CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter


CBCK Newsletter No.2 (Spring 1993)

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CBCK Newsletter is published quarterly by the Secretariat of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
Mailing Address : c.PO. Box 16 Seoul, 100-600, Korea
Tel: (02) 466-0123
Fax: (02) 465-7978
Publisher: Most Rev. Angelo Nam Sou Kim
Editor: Rev. pionysius Namik Paik
Associate Editors: Theresa Hwa Young Kim, Christina Chong Ae Kwon

2 Asia's Need for Christ by Stephen Cardinal Kim
4 The Recovery ofHuman Dignity Statement on Human Rights Sunday
5 A Call for Fair .Elections byCBCK
5 Message on the 3rd Caritas Coreana Sunday by Most. Rev. Ignatius Pak
6 News from the Church in Korea
8 A Brief History of Catholicism in Korea by Prof. Cho, Kwang, Ph.D.




From the editor:


New Year's Greetings!!

  I am happy to send my warmest New Year's greeting to all our brothers and sisters in the Universal Church who are receiving this Newsletter.
  During the coming year the Catholic Church in Korea plans to pursue the topic of "Christian Community Life" on the lines proposed by the Holy Father in his encyclical letter, "Redemptoris Missio". This great charter of mission is a deep reflection and studY,of the Christian community which is both the identity of mission and also its goal
  The model of small Christian community implemented in Korea is that of the local neighbors' meeting. It has become a great source of inspiration for the further development of evangelization. Korean Catholics find an archetype of Christian community in "the Christian villages" (Kyouch' on) of the days of persecution.
  The Korean Catholic Church was founded, not by missionaries, but by the spontaneous efforts of our ancestors. Despite harsh and long persecutions the Church developed through the efforts of believers who lived out their faith in Christian community life. Beginning with this issue we will present in our Newsletter a brief history of the unusual historical process which the Catholic Church in Korea went through over 200 years.
  The Holy See has decided to participate in the Taejon International Exposition (93 TAEJON EXPO) which will be held in Korea from Aug. 7th to Nov. 7th. The CBCK will help in preparing the Vatican Pavilion. Since the theme of the EXPO is "The Challenge of a New Road to Development" , the CBCK decided that "Lumen Gentium" should be the theme of the Vatican Pavilion. "Pro Mundi Vita" and "Pro C:ommunione et Progressione" will be the subthemes in order to present, through the presence of the Catholic Church, a humanization of scientific technology and an evangelization of human culture.
  We see this as an opportunity to correct prevailing prejudices that the Church was an obstacle to progress in science and technology and to further the evangelization of our culture. We would like to show how our ancestors
introduced scientific items into Korea along with Christianity through their contacts with Western Jesuit missionaris in China. We ask for your interest and support for this EXPO.

Rev. Dionysius Namik Paik
Secretary General Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea





Asian Congress on Evangelization:


ASIA's Need for Christ



The following address was given by Stephen Cardinal Kim of Seoul, Korea at the Asian Congress on Evangelization
held in Manila, Philippines, Nov. 16-20, 1992 on theme Open The Door to Christ



1. Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, these days spent in community together have been full of beautiful moments of
prayer and sharing. Now, nearly at the end of this Assembly, I am here to speak to you on "Asia's Need for Christ.' First, though, I want to think with you about "Our Need for Christ." We can only talk about Asia's need for Christ as Asians who have experienced that need in our own lives. We should also not forget that our need for Christ, as individual Koreans, Filipinos, Indians, Chinese... is no different from the need for him experienced by Africans, or Europeans, by every human person. We all need Christ, I believe, every one of us needs him. That is a matter of faith, and of experience.
  "If we go back to the beginnings of the Church, we find a clear affirmation that Christ is the one Saviour of all, the
only one able to reveal God and lead to God" (RM. 5). All of creation, humankind included, was created by God through Christ and for Christ (Col 1,16). All things have their foundation in Christ, and tend towards him. When human sin destroyed this basic order, bringing death and the ruin of nature, Christ offered himself for our redemption, gaining for all humanity the forgi veness of sins, the hope of resurrection, the promise of etemallife.
  Nearly 20 years ago, in 1974, when we, the bishops of Asia, met for our first FABC General Assembly in Taipei, we issued a statement in which we stressed that it is "only in and through Jesus Christ and his Gospel, and by the outpouring of his Holy Spirit, that the quests of our peoples can come to realization. We went on to say, "we believe that it is in him and in his good news that our peoples will find the full meaning we all seek, the true liberation we strive after, the brotherhood and peace which is the desire of all our hearts."

2. What this means is that God's love in Christ is strong and effective. As Christians, we have recognized our need
for this love, the love of God made visible in the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus. Does Asia need this love? Surely, yes! Surely, every person in the world needs this essential love which forgives, heals, and restores the dead to life. God is Love, and what person in the world does not long to encounter the absolute Reality of love? In every human heart there is a thirst for God, a dissatisfaction that keeps us searching, until our souls at last find their true rest in God.
  Asia has many different religious, cultural, and moral traditions; it has a very rich heritage which has influenced the whole world. Everyone of the great religions now found in the world began in Asia: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,
Zoroastrianism, Hinduism Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, to name only the most famous. Yet this has not made Asia into an earthly paradise. Asia is divided, divided by religious, cultural, and racial differences. To this, recent history has added new divisions as economic inequalities and differences of ideology have raised walls between, and even within nations. 1 think especially of the tragic division of our own Korean Peninsula, and of the difficult relationships between the communist Peoples Republic of China on the mainland, and the Republic of China in Taiwan.
  All these differences have given rise to tensions, even to physical conflicts, to wars, that have left deep and difficult resentments and wounds. Besides, how many millions in every part of Asia live in great poverty, or in the pain resulting from disease and from natural disasters? How many have lost all hope of living truly human lives? Who will show them a way forward or give meaning to their lives? If Asia, indeed the entire world, is to advance towards peace and reconciliation, these are questions that need to find answers.

  3. Who or what can bring this kind of peace or heal the wounds resulting from so many conflicts and divisions? What can bring about forgiveness and reconciliation? At one time, many people looked towards Marxism and Communism for the fulfillment of such hopes. With the collapse of the regimes of Eastern Europe, it has become clear that this was a false dream, betrayed by those announcing it, although certainly the idea, the ideals, of a united world, and of a just and equal distribution of wealth, have by no means lost any of their meaning. They
spring in fact from people's unfulfilled thirst for the Kingdom of God.
  I also believe that there is no way in which capitalism can heal the wounds in Asia resulting from conflict and division. If properly controlled, capitalism, with its principles of economic development, might be able to promote the economic development of the whole region, and so reduce the gap between poor and rich countries. But it, too, has no answers to our basic questions: Where did we come form? Where are we going? Why should we do good and avoid evil? Why is there suffering and death? Capitalism has no vision of humanity, no world view, no system of values, it offers no redemption.

  4. We might venture to ask whether the religions and religious cultures of Asia have any answer to these uestions? In almost every country there are forms of popular religion, to which the poor, especially, turn in times of need: Taoism in China, Shamanism in Korea and elsewhere, Shintoism in Japan. Often they have deep value for those who practice them, yet they have no universal appeal, no outreach beyond a particular area, no message of living hope for all human beings.
  It is a different matter when we tum to Confucianism or Buddhism, to Hinduism, or those other religions that have developed sacred writings and rituals which are widely studied and practiced in a variety of nations, having over the centuries until today exercised a deep influence on their moral philosophy and religious thought, these clearly reveal the depths of human existence, and facilitate virtuous living, so that insofar as they evoke a longing for eternal life they may be considered helpful for the achievement of salvation in Christ.
  The virtue of benevolence taught by Confucianism, the compassion found in Buddhism, are worthy· to be compared
with the Christian doctrine of Love. The Taoist notion of Tao, meaning "the Way" in Chinese, seems to have depths of meaning close to those of "Logos" in Christianity. Yet no one has ever said that Confucius, or Buddha, or Lao-tzu, was "true God and true Man" or "Emmanuel, God-with-us." They themselves never claimed to be that. We may see in them guides and teachers, in some ways leading us towards God, preparing the way to Christ who is the true Life.

  5. 200 years ago Catholic Christianity came to Korea. It came in a very significant way: not through missionaries
sent to teach, or because colonial powers imposed their own culture, but because Korean Confucian scholars happened to come across Matteo Ricci's book written in Chinese, "The Real Meaning of the Lord of Heaven.." Those scholars were not only deeply grounded in the Confucian traditions, they were also well acquainted with the values of Buddhism. But as soon as they discovered the Church's teaching about God, heard about and met Christ, they felt that they had at last found the way, the ·truth, the life, that they had so long been searching for. Since then, others like them have made the same discovery. I am thinking of someone called Choi Nam-sun (18901957), a prominent scholar very wellknown in Korea, who died less than forty years ago. He had penetrated the depths of both Confucianism and Buddhism. Then he became a Catholic, and wrote to explain why: only the faith of the Catholic Church is eternal and universal, he said, only it has the truth of salvation that all people seek. And that truth, of course, is the living, risen Christ.

  6. That is true everywhere, not just in Korea. Asia needs Christ, as the Holy Father has recently stressed in Redemptoris Missio 55, where he says: "I recently wrote to the Bishops of Asia: 'although the Church gladly acknowledges whatever is true and holy in the religious traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam as a reflection of that truth which enlightens all men, this does not lessen her duty and resolve to proclaim without fail Jesus Christ who is 'the way, and the truth and the life' ... The fact that the followers of other religions can receive God's grace and be saved by Christ apart from the ordinary means which he has established does not thereby cancel the call to faith and baptism which God wills for all people."

7. In Christ, God is present to every person, humbly waiting for their hearts to open to the offer of his love. Christ, too, is a model of humility; for our sake he emptied himself, took the form of a servant and became like us in every way (Phil. 2). He charged himself with the world's sins, conquered death by his death, and rose to restore us all to life. The living Christ is the constant companion of every person, even the poorest, even the most sinful. A few years ago, Pope John Paul /I wrote in his encyclical Redemptor Hominis (14) these words:
  "The human person, - every person without exception, - has been redeemed by Chlist; because Christ is in a way united to every human person, - every person without exception, - even if the individual may not realize this fact. Christ, who died and was raised up for us all, - for every human being and for all human beings can through his Spirit offer man the light and strength to measure up to his supreme destiny."
  God so loves the world that he came down in order to experience it directly, and shared our life, our pains, our dying; so he became their true meaning. Christ becomes the friend, the brother of every person who suffers; "Truly he bore our infinnities and carried our sorrows" (Is. 53; Mt.8).
  Thus Cluist reveals to us the wonder of the Compassion of God. The word "Compassion" comes from Latin, it means "to share the suffering of one who suffers." In his own suffering, Christ shows us the Father, and allows us to understand that God suffers with all who suffer, because of his love for them. Pain is never sent by God; his will is that all be united with himself in eternal joy.

8. There is very much suffering in Asia! Poverty and disease, oppression and exploitation, ignorance and violence. Yet, when we see how the very poorest of our Christians come with so much love around the Cribs, the "Belen" as you call them here in the Philippines, that are set up in churches and chapels at Christmas; when we see their tears during the Way of the Cross, or as they venerate the death of Jesus on Good Friday, we realize that for them, God is really present with them in their sufferings. For the poor in the Church, God's love is experienced as the heart of their daily struggles for dignity and human lights.
  I want to read to you what the German evangelical theologian Jiirgen Moltmann has written about this presence
of Christ:

  "The Christ who loves us with a passionate love, the persecuted and lonely Christ, the Christ who suffers over God' s silence, the Christ so utterly forsaken in his dy:ng for us and for our sake, is the brother, the friend, to whom one can entrust everything, because he knows everything and has suffered whatever can happen to us, and even more." (1. Moltmann, "The Theology of the cross" in His God and Hers, 1991)
  Yes, we can entrust everything to him, when we feel overwhelmed by the thought of our own limitations and weakness; we know that "God's power is made perfect in weakness" (II Cor. 12,9). Salvation comes from the cross of Christ, not from us. Compassion also means asking "What can I do to help?" Mother Teresa has taught us that it makes all the difference to a dying person, if someone is simply holding their hand, loving them as they die. Even when there is almost nothing we can do, there is' always something we can do, to bring alive the loving presence of God to those around us.
  As members of Christ's Church, we have experienced our own need for Christ, the joy and fulfillment his Presence brings; and if there has once been a true meeting with him in our lives, we will want to echo the words St. John wrote near the beginning of his first Letter:
  "Life has revealed itself' We have ourselves seen, we witness and announce that eternal life which was ever in the Father, and has now manifested itself. We proclaim to you the things we have seen and heard, so that you may share in this treasure with us. That treasure is union with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. I am writing this to you so that we may have joy to the fulL"

  9. Christ is not far away from us, he is very near, he is never absent, even from those who do not know his name or his story. But his loving presence only comes ali ve by being recognized and responded to by each individual. Christ longs to be known. That is why the Church, why we all must speak of him to those who do not yet believe, in order to enable all people to enjoy the happiness of living in Christ, the way, the truth, the life, accepting the good news of redemption from this world. If only the Church can enable all to live united in one faith, one hope, one love, all sisters and brothers as children of the one Father, so that by love more human and more beautiful communities come into being, in peace, until at last all become one with Christ, all made like him, united in his Body!
  Catitas Christi urget nos! The love of Christ compels us!(Il Cor. 5,14). We must announce the Gospel, because by it people are brought from darkness into light, from death to life, from ignorance to sure knowledge. People need this Christ, they long to hear his Gospel; Asia is thirsting for Christ; Asia needs Christ; we need Christ.

  10. Then we must not delay; here is our most urgent task. Its name is Evangelization. The church, each one of us, must first be evangelized again and again by Christ. He must fill our hearts with the message of his love, his compassion, his life. The Church in this part of the world must become Christ-like in terms of Asia, a shining-through of Jesus. The Church is the visible sign, the sacrament, of Christ's presence in the world today. Like Christ, the Church here in Asia has to set out on a humble pilgrimage, discovering how to proclaim the good news to the poor, embrace the small and weak, heal the sick, bring joy to those in need, and take away the burdens of sin by the power of his death on the Cross.

Nov. 20, 1992
Stephen Cardinal Kim
Archbishop of Seoul





The Recovery of Human Dignity

A statement issued by The Catholic Justice and Peace Committee ofCBCK (President: Most Rev. Kyong Kap-ryong. Bishop ofTaejon) on the occasion ofthe 11th Human Rights Sunday.


  Today we aI5peal for human rights, more than for anything else, as we commemorate the 11th Human Rights Sunday. Our society is driven by the dream of an advanced economy. However, the very process by which the economy grew has severely polluted the environment and seriously violated human dignity.
  This damage to the human and natural environment has resulted from the degradation of morality stemming from belief in the unlimited power of money. The Anti-Life mentality is shown in cases of abortion, burglary, robbery and sexual violence against women.
  Human rights are basic and inviolable because they have been given by God and the human person, created in God's image, is sacred. However, violations of human rights show that our society is being swept along with a lack of moral order and legal consciousness. We stand at a crossroads at which we are called to restore the moral order and build a more human and healthy society. Our national reconciliation can be built only on a renewed emphasis on respect for human lights. In this, we each have our individual responsibility.
  1. The right to life must be respected. It is the most basic right and the foundation of all other rights. If it is not protected, all calls for other human rights are false and futile. 1,500,000 fetuses are killed each year because of government permissiveness and a false ethical view. This reflects a 'culture of death' , the result of a perverted sense of values.
  As we recall that the purpose of all laws is to promote the respect of human beings, we insist on the immediate reorganization of harmful laws and false systems, including the Mother and Child Health Law that contributes to damaging the right to life. We strongly demand the withdrawal of the Revised Bill of Criminal Law, Art. 135, which actually legalizes abortion.   We must also bring about a change of social consciousness so that human life from the moment of conception until natural death is respected.
  2. The rights of women should be respected. It is true that some progress has been made towards equality and equal opportunity for women through changes in the civil law. However, in reality things have not changed as ancient conventions and traditions continue in families, society and even in the Church where there is clear discrimination made between men and women.
  This kind of sexual discrimination demands a change of consciousness before changes of law or systems. First of all, a healthy family culture must be built as a basis for mutual respect of women and men. Practices such as making sex a tool, sexual violence, human traffic and abortion of female fetuses which destroy respect for women and create an inhuman society must quickly be brought to an end.
  3. The rights of political prisoners should be respected. From 1987 until recently, even though it is believed that the democratization of our society has progressed, a great number of political prisoners are still undergoing infringement of their human right in prison. This fact is truly regrettable. The present reality in that those who, following their consciences, want to work for national reconciliation and unity are deemed to violate the National Security Law and must go to jail. This is a regrettable situation in a country where freedom of conscience is protected and guaranteed by the Constitution. While emphasizing that conscience has to be protected, with the political prisoners together we must all try to heal the pains of this time.
  4. The rights of workers must be protected. The situation of to million workers is improving, but we cannot deny that still in many places workers are treated inhumanly in poor working conditions and receive psychological damage. No matter what the circumstances are. workers cannot be used as tools of production nor degraded for economic profit.
  The basic legal rights of workers - the right to organize, right to collective bargaining and right to collective action - have to be guaranteed in practice as well as in law. Further, labor conditions must not be centered on production but on the human being.
  The growing presence of foreign workers is a recent phenomenon in our society to which we have to pay attention. As many as 100 thousand foreign workers have left their homelands in search for a better life and came to Korea. The discrimination they suffer in a foreign land must be removed quickly. Above all their basic rights must be protected and we urge the Korean government to establish laws and procedures to protect their just human rights.
  5. As we point out that these basic human rights are inviolable we cannot ignore the responsibilities this implies. In the name of freedom no one has the right to kill innocent fetuses and in the name of protecting one's own rights one cannot violate or ignore another's rights. Our rights bring responsibility.
  On the occasion of this 14th Presidential election, we take a very important decision for our future in the new millennium. We must understand the meaning of rights and responsibility correctly. Only by doing so, can we start the long journey to a mature democracy, correct our invel1ed value system and recover our failed ethics and humanity.
  We need to find a leader who will not be canied away by government authority or plutocracy. We need a sense of democracy that is not carried away by bonds of regionalism or school ties. We need to believe that our vote can make an impact on the future of our country. If these things are done, then human rights can be guaranteed, a spirit of participation promoted, selfishness of regionalism and class overcome and a just democratic society built.
  Finally, on this Human Rights Sunday we must repent of the ways, knowingly or unknowingly, we have participated in this 'culture of death' and our negligence with regard to the reconciliation and unification of our divided nation. Regretting our indifference towards North Korea, as if "the half church were the whole church" , we particularly think of our brothers and sisters in North Korea.
  While hoping for unification, we have to reconcile ourselves first with God, our family and neighbors and then with our brothers and sisters in North Korea. We have to advance the day when. in North and South, basic human rights are guaranteed and a matured human love based on mutual respect will flower. During Advent as we prepare for the coming of the Lord, we pray that the Lord of peace, gladly born in Bethlehem, will grant a wise political leader to this peninsula and that the Lord of love and unity will come among us.

December 12, 1992
The II th Human Rights Sunday
The Catholic Justice and Peace Committee of Korea





Most. Rev. Angelo Nam Sou Kim, president ofCBCK, mnde theiol/owing Statement on Fair Presidential Elections
to a press conference held in the conference roomofCBCK, Seoul, on 1 Dec., 1992.



  Dear Brothers and Sisters,
  December 18 is our pr.esidential election day. Weare living in a time of great change, both nationally and internationally, following the collapse of ideological walls. This is a time for us to achieve genuine democracy and to advance the reunification of our country. In this epoch-making time we, the members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, urge all of you to choose our national leader carefully. We also wish to remind you of our appeal, "Let's create a right culture of election" , issued on the occasion of our last general election.
  First of all, we have to recognize the fundamental principle stated in our Constitution which says, "the sovereignty of the Republic of Korea is in the people and all power comes from the people' (Const. art. I). We need to examine our own political consciousness before making any cynical criticism of our political reality. In the so-called democratic elections to date we have had complaints of cOlJUption and vote buying even to the point that we had doubts about the legitimacy ofour government
  However, we who ourselves are caught up in inter-dependencies of a family, regional 'or educational nature, cannot overlook our own contribution to this short-sightedness. Frankly admitting our mistakes and failures we must try to hand on to our descendants a worthy precedent through the authentic practice ofour sovereign right to vote.
  The distrust that dominates our political world comes from the failure to keep promises made unrealistically by candidates and politicians who were hungry for power and victory. We are seriously concerned about the absence of pledges to respect human rights and sovereignty of the human in a society which views economics as its main priority.
  We urge the government authorities to remain neutral in supervising the voting process and ballot - counting in order to eradicate illegal behavior and political distrust.
  We call on those working in the area of mass media to fulfill their responsibility to promote a fair election by providing authentic information and sharing diverse opinions.
  We urge all voters, especially the young, to use their right to vote as a sovereign member of the nation on behalf of
the common good.
  We urge all believers who are waiting for the coming of our Savior, to join in our prayer for the achievement of reunification and democracy in our country so that God's will be fulfilled and the land overllow with justice and peace.
  We pray to God to grant Jove, peace and blessing to all of you who are committed to realizing a fair election in accordance with his Will.

Dec. 1, 1992
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea



Message on the 3rd Caritas Coreana Sunday

'Overcome Hunger by Changing Our Way oflife"

  What does genuine human progress mean? Is human progress moving in the light direction? These have been important questions for those who think. The Church is concerned about them because she wants human progress to conform to the will of God, in the light of the Gospel. This has been the key point of social teachings in the Church. From the material point of view, progress is plentiful abundance. From the cultural point of view it is a political system based on human respect and economic development, leading to an equal di'tribution of wealth. From the spiritual point of view, a ociety respecting moral values is considered as the ideal of human progress. All of these are necessary conditions for human progress and gauges ofgenuine human progress.
  Neveltheless the subject and principal agent-of development or human progress is neither money nor technology but human beings themselves. Therefore what the Church wants for humanity is that people live as children of God so that they, liberated from sin and injustice, achieve integral progress. As Pope John Paul n says in his Encyclical letter, "The Church's mission consists essentially in offering people an opportunity not to 'have more' but to 'be more,' by awakening their consciences through the Gospel" (Redemptoris Missio 58). Here he stresses integral development as a means of forming con ciences.
  Living in accordance with one's conscience, as today's first reading from the Prophet Zephaniah tells us, is to "obey God's. commands", "do what is right" and "humble yourself. ''The just are those who will do no wrong to anyone, neither tell lies, nor try to deceive" (Zeph. 2, 3; 3, 12-13). The Beatitudes, today's Gospel, are the biblical norms for the orientation of conscience. Those who live in accordance with their conscience are those who know they are spiritually poor, who moum, who are humble and whose greatest desire is to do what God requires. They are those who are merciful to others, pure in heart, work for peace and follow Christ in his teachings.
  Without the promotion of conscience there is no true human development. Let us look at ourselves and around us in the light of conscience. Can famine disappear from the world without the 'haves' changing their way of life and their mind? One sufferer in Africa can survive one week with 1000 won in our currency. Human development in accordance with our conscience doesn't mean it is all. right if only I and my country areOKToday we need to realize that genuine progress means development of the integral person and mankind. On this Caritas Sunday let us resolve to transform our life style. Let us cut back on our need to have and listen to the cry of the poor in the world. Otlierwise their cry will reach God. ''Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor, the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!" (Mat 5,2).

Jan. 31, 1993
Most Rev. Ignatius Pak
President of Caritas Coreana

'* Along with his message, Bishop Pak sent to dioceses and parishes nationwide, posters and videotapes on the situation of those suffering from famine in Africa, calling for support. Most Rev. Angelo Kim, President ofCBCK, visited the Nunciature last Dec. 22, to submit to Mons. James Green, Secretary, a sum of 93,330, 400 won ($117, l60'(lO) collected by Caritas Coreana for Somalia and Sudan.




News From· the Church in Korea


• Seoul Archdiocese Offers to Pay the Moving Cost for 180 Vietnamese Refugees


  The Refugee Camp for Vietnamese, located in Jaesong I dong, Pusan, was closed for good with the departure of 150 refugees to New Zealand, last December. The refugees had been living there for more than IS years waiting for a solution. Two years ago the government of New Zealand stated it was willing to welcome some 180 refugees from the Pusan camp but could not take responsibility for the moving costs.

  The R.M.S.The R.M.S., a civilian organization for refugees, tried to find benefactors to provide the necessary funds but failed. Cardinal Stephen Ki.rn, on hearing of their frustration, promised to help them but found there were political and diplomatic problems besides the fmancial. However, with the help of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and R.M.S., Cardinal Kim finally found a solution. Seoul Archdiocese paid 36,210, OOOwon ($45,455.00) for the first group of 30 refugees on Sep. 19 and again for 150 refugees on Dec. 24, 1992. The total amount of money provided by Seoul Archdiocese came to 149,330,000 won ($187,459.00).

• Ordination of 49 New Priests


  In six dioceses and one religious order (Clerical Society of The Most Holy Trinity of Mirinae), there were forty nine
ordinations to the priesthood between Jan. 29 and Feb. 6, 1993. The number of new priests in each dioceses is as follows

     Diocese of Inch' on : 3 (Jan. 29)
     Archdiocese of Kwangju : 13 (Feb. 4)
     Diocese of Cheju : 2 (Feb. 6)
     Diocese of Pusan : 4 (Feb. 6)
     Diocese of Chonju : 6 (Feb. 6)
     Diocese of Suwon : 10 (Feb. 2)
     Religious : I (Feb. 2)


• 267 New Seminarians


  A total of 356 candidates succeeded in the entrance examination to the six Catholic universities throughout the country: 73 for Seoul, 52 for Kwangju, 60 for Taegu, 29 for Pusan and 119 for Suwon, 23 for Taejon. Out of them, 267 students applied for priesthood: 60 for Seoul, 28 for Taegu, 20 for Kwangju, 29 for Pusan, 28 for Suwon, 23 for Inch'on, 20 for Chunch' on, 9 for Wonju, 14 for Ch'ongju, to for Masan, 3 for Andong, 13 for Chonju, 5 for Cheju and 23 for Taejon.


• Inauguration of Catholic


  University of Taejon The Catholic University of Taejon (President: Rev. Kim Young-kyo) became the 6th Catholic University in Korea when inaugurated on March 2. On the same day it welcomed its ftrst 23 seminarians.

  The diocese of Taejon (Bishop: Most Rev. Kyong Kap-ryong) carried out the project of building its own seminary according to a 3-year plan beginning in 1991. Other dioceses joined in the task through their prayers and material support.


• Seoul Archdiocese Holds LUMKO Program Seminar to Promote Small Christian Communities

  "Realization of the spirit of Vatican II is the key point of LUMKO," explained Fr. Oswarld Hirmer, a leader of Basic Christian Communities in South Africa. He had been invited by Seoul Archdiocese to direct a seminar for thirty-three priests and leaders, including Cardinal Kim, Dec. 7 - 13, 1992.
  Seoul Archdiocese plans to introduce SCCs as part of its drive for Evangelization Towards the Year 2000. It saw the LUMKO program as great help in understanding the concept of SCCs and in evaluating their feasibility in the Korean context. The participants admitted that "often we are not sure of the why and hows of SCCs" . Seoul Archdiocese has committed itself to studying the program to fmd an inculturated form of SCCs, for Seoul and Korea. This initiative of Seoul Archdiocese on SCCs is expected to give impetus to other dioceses and to serve as a'model.
  Five key points of the seminar were Sharing the Gospel, the base of SCCs, Christian communities of lay people, breaking off from clergy-centered communities, - Orientation for a new leadership, - What are SCCs and how to form them, - Self-development of SCCs. The participants continue to meet every third Thursday for Gospel discussion and a sharing of their experiences.


• Challenges for a New Life: The Association of Major Superiors of Religious Women in Korea Studies the Religious Identity of Nuns

  At the 25th general meeting of AMSRWK, last November, Religious superiors reflected in the light of the Gospel on the reality of Religious life today. A survey had been made among 1348 Sisters across the nation on various areas touching their life as Religious.
  The question of their identity emerged as a key concern. In a secular and materialistic society personal affirmation seemed to depend on productivity. There was also concem that their life might be following the middle class val~es of Korean people.
  51% of those surveyed said the most urgent task is to redefine religious identity as a life of prayer, simplicity and poverty. An option for the poor and the social pastorale were also pointed out as important tasks.


• The Ministry of Education Approves Religious Text Book Published by Catholic Church


  From March 1993, thirty five High Schools under the Catholic Educational Foundations will use a religious text book published by the Association of Catholic Educational Foundations (President: Most Rev. Paul Ri, Archbishop of Taegu). The flfst Catholic religious text book to be approved by the Ministry of Education is expected to make a significant contribution in transmitting the basic principles of Catholicism and in forming the integral personality of young people. The book's publication coincide.s with a plan of the Ministry of Education to include religious courses as cultural subjects from 1996.
  Besides Catholicism, the book covers Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, Shamanism and Korean folk beliefs. "Inspired by Vatican Il we tried to present the universality of the Catholic faith, so that youth can learn the authentic doctrines of the Catholic Church and cultivate a healthy religious mind," said one of the editors.


• Korean Catholic Church Denounces Pres. Bill Clinton for Change in Abortion Regulations


  The Family Pastoral Committee of CBCK (President Most Rev. Thomas Stewart, S.S.c., Bishop of Ch' unch' on) expressed its concern on President Clinton' s action on behalf of abortion rights. On Jan. 22, 'the 20th anniversary of Roe and two days after his inauguration. Pres. Bill Clinton eliminated some restrictions on abortion counselling and medical research using fetal tissue. He also permitted abortions at military hospitals and said he would review a ban on the French abortion pill RU-486.
  The Freedom of Choice Act, which would limit the restrictions states could place on abortions, has become a top priority. Although the bill had been proposed before, it would have faced a certain White House veto under the Republicans.
  The Family Pastoral Committee of CBCK denounced these changes as a serious violation of both divine and natural law. It stated that, "Clinton killed the spirit of the law. Allowing abortion is not something that can be handled at the national level. Anti-life law violates both divine and natural law. In a democratic country like the United States, denying the fact that an unborn child is a full member of the human community constitutes an act of killing the spirit of democracy."  CBCK urged the Clinton government to return to the spirit of respect for human life as soon as possible.


• Fr .Im Bok-man Returns to Homeland After 50 Years Spent in China

  The priests of Chonju diocese concelebrated a welcoming Mass for Fr. 1m Bok-man (82, Paul), a fellow Chonju priest who returned to Korea last Dec. 29 after spending 50 years in China. There was also a reception for Fr. Mun Kyu hyon who wa5 released on parole last Dec. 24. Fr. 1m, born in 1910, was ordained priest in 1935 and sent to China as a missionary in 1942. He was the first missionary priest from Chonju diocese. Most of his time there was spent in jailor hiding. From 1954 to 1962 he did forced labor in a prison farm in Heilung Province. From 1963 to 1970 he dedicated himself to pastoral work but was reimprisoned in 1971 on the charge of doing underground religious activities. Released in 1981 he preached in Harbin going from house to house. In 1986 he lived in Soran in Killim Province. Most Rev. Lee Byong-ho, bishop of Chonju, praised the two returnees saying, "the life of these two priests will lighten our lives like a torch" .


• Demand for Japan to Give a Fair Compensation to "Comfort Girls"


  The Catholic Women's Association for Democracy (President: Ms. Yun Soonnyo) called upon the Japanese government to make an official apology for the sexual atrocities done to Korean women during the Second World War. On the occasion of 4th Mass of the Women's Association, offered for the "Comfort Girls" victims on Dec. 29 at Ahyon Church, they adopted a five-point statement in which they called for: - The Korean govemment to take positive measures - A fair compensation for the victims and their families in accordance with International Law - The building of a commemorative tower - The inclusion of the full story of the 'Comfort Girls' in Japanese history text books - An inquiry into the truth of facts and punishment of the criminals.
  Historians say that as many as 200,000 women, mostly Koreans, were rounded up and forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers as the Imperial Army swept through East and southeast Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. Tokyo formally acknowledged last year the Japanese government's role in the recruitment of the women but said there was no proof they had been coerced and saw no need to pay compensation to survivors. Japan has also insisted that a 1965 treaty, normalizing relations with South Korea, settled all problems relating to its harsh 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean peninsular. The Foreign Ministry reported on Feb. 6, 1993, that a total of 450 Korean "comfort women" have rep()rted to the government that they were forced to provide sex and labor to the Japanese army during World War II. The government will conti nue to recei ve reports from victims or their relatives to get a full picture of the inhumane and barbarian system Japan imposed during World War II.


• Lunar New Year's Celebration for Foreign Workers


  "Today Muslims, Hindus and Christians became friends and danced together. Neither Saddam Hussein, Khomeiny nor Bush could bring us together as friends like this," said one of the participants.
  A special Lunar New Year's celebration for foreign workers was held on Jan, 22-24. Organized by the Foreign Workers' Labor Counselling Office (Exec. Director: Ms. Lidia Paik) it included a banquet, music, dancing and entertainment. It was animated under the leadership of Ms. Lidia and Br. Tzuneo (Little Brothers of Jesus) in a very warm and friendly occasion.
  Among the foreign workers, Filipinos have Sunday Mass in Tagalog in Jayang dong, Kuro-3 dong and Ansan churches. Illegally employed workers from Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, China and the Philippines number about 60,000 including 42,965 who have reported to the government, according to a recent report ofthe Labor Ministry.

• Foundation of "The Society of Little Jesus". a Religious Community for Disabled People

  The Society ofLittle Jesus (Superior: Rev. Song-gu Park), a new religious family for disabled people, was officially established on Dec. 8, 1992 at a celebration of the Eucharist attended by hundreds of clergy, friends and guests. Most Rev. Peter Woo-il Kang, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul Archdiocese, was the main celebrant at the Mass.
  Nine novices are engaged in a 2-yearformation program in conformity with Canon Law. The main purpose of this newly born community is to offer equal opportunity in the religious life to disabled people who are denied the possibility of religious life in existing communities because of their physical handicap. Of the nine novices (four women and five men), two women and one man are physically disabled. persons. Rev. Song-gu Park, the founder and superior of the Society of Little Jesus is one of the novices. '1 wanted to be trained with the other novices for a better, understanding of the disabled people for whom I want to dedicate my life," he said.



A Brief History of Catholicism in Korea [I]

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

The Dawn of Catholicism in Korea

  1. Foreword

  Korea, since its foundation some 3,000 years ago, has preserved its own unique history and culture. Geographically Korea is situated on a peninsular between China and Japan and it has developed ties with these countries through cultural exchanges. The traditional religions of Korea were Buddhism and Confucianism though many Koreans practiced shamanism alongside these two religions.   In the 17th century Catholicism fIrSt became known in Korea. By that time, Catholicism had already spread in China and Japan and Koreans who had contacts with these two countries knew of its existence. Chinese versions of Catholic books were transmitted to Korea from the 17th century. From reading and studying these books a few of the Korean literati got the idea of putting Catholicism into practice. One of them, Peter Yi Seung-hun, went to Beijing to be baptized and on his return to Korea he founded a Christian community. This was in October, 1784. Because of this incident we can affirm that the Korean Catholic Church was founded, not by European missionaries, but by the spontaneous efforts of Korean themselves.
  The Church developed through the efforts of Korean believers. Those who led the Church at the beginning belonged to the noble class. However, from the begirming, the door of the Church was open to people from all walks of society. Soon the leadership and the majority of faithful were composed of non-privileged people who were oppressed by the ruling class of that time.
  The Korean Catholic Church from its early days was persecuted by the government. The reason for this was because the government considered Catholicism to be opposed to Neo-Confucianism which was then the guiding ideal of government. The principle of equality which Catholics pursued was judged a dangerous belief that contravened the social hierarchical system. Further, the contacts with foreigners which Catholics made without the permission of the government were considered as criminal acts. The newly born Church, seeking communion with the universal Church, was keeping contact with the Vicar Apostolic of Beijing and by 1831 it become a mission of the Paris Foreign Mission Society.
  About 10,000 of the faithful died as martyrs in persecutions that lasted for more than a hundred years. Among them 103 martyrs, including Rev. Andrew Tae-gon Kim, were canonized by Pope John Paul Il in 1984.
  By 1882, tacit consent was given to freedom of religion for Catholics and this freedom was officially guaranteed in 1895. Since then the Korean Catholic Church has had the opportunity to serve its people and society despite a later period of restriction under Japanese colonialism.
  The full development of the Korean Catholic Church began in 1945 with liberation from Japanese rule. After independence, Korea became divided into two nations: the Republic of Korea in the south and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north. Korea became a place of ideological confrontation and, eventually, war. Despite this the Korean Catholic Church enjoyed remarkable growth. Its contribution, in the spirit of the Council Vatican II, to the search for justice, peace and democracy in Korean society was highly appreciated.
  By the end of 1991 the number of Catholics amounted to 2,923,000 and its growth in number of faithful, priests and religious continues.
  In Korea, the confrontation of ideology between communism and capitalism is still a reality. Also efforts·to overcome poverty and to promote economic development have gone side by side. Thus we can say that Korea is a crossroads where East-West problems and South-North problems meet. This is the social situation in which the Korean Catholic Church is now situated.
  The Korean Church is also finding its place in the national culture. Originally Korean culture stood apart from Christianity. For this reason there was conflict between Church and culture when Christianity was fIrSt introduced. Today the Catholic Church is trying to reconcile itself with its own culture and fmd a harmony between the two. Thus the Korean Catholic Church is active in living out its faith in the modem world.
  For these reasons the historical experience of the Korean Catholic Church is worth analyzing and introducing to the world Church. I plan to present eight articles in this Newsletter which will describe the characteristics of the historical process that the Korean Catholic Church went through over 200 years.

List of Articles
No. Subject Datesort

CBCK Newsletter No.5 (Winter 1993)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.4 (Fall 1993)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.3 (Summer 1993)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.2 (Spring 1993)

  • Aug 27, 2009

CBCK Newsletter No.1 (Advent 1992)

  • Aug 20, 2009

CBCK Newsletter

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