CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter


CBCK Newsletter No.3 (Summer 1993)

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1993 Spring Plenary Session of CBCK

Address of the Apost. Pro-Nundo to S. P1en. Se.s.sion of CBCK

Thwards the Evangelization of Science and Thcbnology: A Joint Message of CBCK

News from the Church in Korea

A BriefHistory of Catholicism in Korea by Prof. Cho, Kwang, Ph.D.



From the editor:

May the Spirit of the Lord Fill the World!


Dear CBCK Newsletter Readers.

  On the occasion of Pentecost Sunday I am happy to greet you who share our joy and concern through the CBCK Newsletter. I pray to the Holy Spirit who transformed the Apostles on Pentecost Day to transform our hearts and attitudes toward life so that we may take the lead in protecting life and the earth in accordance with the divine order of the Creator.
  Today, our planet is suffering a serious illness caused by indiscriminate development and the abuse of natural resources. To show how it is serious April 22 was established as "Earth Day"! The Holy Father expressed recently his concern for the destruction of life, the environment and desertification of the land in his Lenten message. In fact, these concerns will be the major issues the Vatican Pavilion will highlight at the 1993 Taejon International Exposition. Also the goal and ethics of science as that of service to the life of the world will be treated in depth in a faith perspective. We invite you to join us in this significant event for the Church and ask for your interest in the Vatican Pavilion and your prayers for its success.
 The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea held its Spring Plenary Session, March 15-18, and concerns about the necessity of education for formators of seminarians, the translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and fund raising on behalf of the Vatican Pavilion were among the major topics of the Conference. Also the Presidents of the National Committees of CBCK presented reports on the activities of their respective Committee.
  A seminar for formators of seminarians is planned for July, 1994. The participants will include all the bishops and the professors of all Catholic Major Seminaries. The first draft of the Korean translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was presented to the Bishops' Conference but publication will take some time. Regarding fund raising for the Vatican Pavilion, a second church collection was conducted on Easter Sunday but we are not sure yet whether we will be able to cover the overall cost of the Pavilion.
  Finally we invite you to join in our sorrow and prayers for Most Rev. Daniel Tji Hak Soon, called to God on March 12, and Fr. Celestin Coyos of the Paris Foreign Mission Society who dedicated 60 years of his life for the mission of Korea and was called to God on March 3, 1993. Bishop Tji who dedicated his entire life for the evangelization of local society and even experienced imprisonment for his struggle for democratization and love for oppressed people during the 70s and 80s, will long be remembered in the hearts of the Korean people.

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





1993 Spring. Plenary Session of Bishops' Conference Held

  The 1993 Spring Plenary Session of Bishops' Conference (President: Most. Rev. Angelo Nam Sou Kim, Bishop of
Suwon) was held at CBCK Conference Hall on March 15-18. In the light of the teachings of the Church, high-lighted in the recent Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, "Redemptoris Missio" , and the Apostolic Exhortation, "Pastores Dabo Vobis" , the Episcopal Conference stressed above all the importance of the pastoral and spiritual formation of seminarians as well as their formators. The Bishops examined activities of the National Committees under CBCK and searched for a new path for the Catholic Church in Korea towards the third millennium. Concerns for the proper formation of priests and religious were expressed in particular and call for formative and educational initiatives in this domain in the light of the up-coming ninth Synod of Bishops in 1994 on theme "Consecrated Ute and its Role in the Churcli and in the World" . Also they discussed preparations for the Holy See' s participation in Taejon International Exposition 1993 which will have a significant role to play in the evangelization of the modem world, cultures and the humanization of science and technology. The Bishops decided to issue a joint letter for a second church collection on Easter Sunday on behalf of the Vatican Pavilion. On the proposal of Most Rev. Victorinus Youn, the Chairman of tbe Episcopal Commission for Clergy and Religious, it was decided to hold a-week long Seminar for Formators of Seminarians by June 1994 in which all bishops and the entire faculty professors of all seminaries in Korea will participate. Attention was given to the completion of the first draft of the Korean translation of the New Catechism which was presented to the Bishops' Conference. It was decided to form a reading committee to advance its publication. However its publication is expected by Dec. 8, theiirst anniversary of the promulgation of the New Catechism by Pope John Paul II. The Conference was overshadowed with sadness by the death of Most Rev. Daniel Tji Hak Soon whose funeral was on March 15, the first day of the Session. The next Autumn Plenary Session will be held from October 11-15, 1993.






Easter Messages of Bishops Invite the Faithful to a New Life

The bishops ofKorea issued their Easter messages individually onApr. 11. Here are some excerpts:

  Stephen Cardinal Kim of Seoul Archdiocese called for a recovery of morality in keeping with the anti-corruption drive of the newgovemment for a 'New Korea". 'The Church, as a Sacrament of unity, has to take the lead in healing the deep wounds caused by discrimination among classes and regions. Sharing our possessions with the needy and sharing their burden are necessary to conquer the poverty which persists in our society. The Church has to proclaim the Gospel, fulfilling its mission to be the salt and leaven that transform society. A 'New Korea" can be born only from such a recovery of our moral sense," he said.

  Bishop Angelo Kim of Suwon diocese made a call, "to evangelize ourselves first in order to evangelize our
neighbors. The essence of the Christian faith is to witness to the death and resurrection of our Lord" .
  Bishop Nicholas Cheong of Ch' ongju diocese said that ''we Christians have to take the lead in constructing a new society, built on morality, so that every one enjoys a happy life" .
  Bishop Joseph Kyeong of Thejon diocese called on the faithful to practice their Christian faith in every day life, insisting that "the resurrection of Christ is neither an object of intelligence nor of archeological study but an object of faith and love. Proclaiming the Gospel is to announce the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It can bear fruit only when it is lived out in our personal life and Christ can bring victory to replace the darkness and death of our society" .

  Bishop Ignatius Pak of Andong diocese stressed that, "the death of Christ is a death by love, fOIgiveness and reconciliation. That death conquered all hatred and resistance that signifies the victory of God' s love and life. We are called to be servants of love, liberating ourselves from a belief based on materialism" .





Address of the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio, Most Rev. Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis to 1993 Spring Plenary Session ot the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea

  My Dear Brother Bishops,

  Once again it is my sincere pleasure to join you at the opening of your biannual Plenary Assembly here at the CBCK headquarters. I am grateful to you for your kind invitation. As you know, the purpose of an episcopal conference is "to promote that greater good which the Church offers humankind, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate which are fittingly adapted to the circumstances of the time and place" (cf. Can. 447). I encourage you in your efforts over the next few days, certain that the Church in Korea will certainly benefit from your hard work.
  I would like to begin today by complimenting you, both as individual bishops and as a Conference, for all the admirable things you do, not only for your dioceses and the nation, but also for the Church throughout the world. It is one year now since I came to Korea as ProNuncio, and I am deeply impressed with your commitment both to the local Church and the universal Church. 1\vo important examples of this come to my mind.   The first is the assistance which His Eminence Cardinal Stephen Kim made available to the Refugee Commission of New Zealand to pay for the transportation of the Vietnamese refugees from the .holding camp in Pusan to New Zealand. This work was done quietly and efficiently.
  The second example is the generosity of the Conference to the people of the Sudan. The Conference, via Caritas Coreana, contributed over US $59,000.00 to the Holy See for the Sudan which the Holy Fatht;r personally distributed during his recent visit. As Cardinal Sodano recently wrote to Bishop Angelo Kim : "During His visit to Sudan His Holiness assured the Catholics there of thesupport of the whole Church. Your gift enabled him to give concrete expression to that solidarity."
  There are two other points for which I wish to congratulate you. As a Conference you have worked very hard to promote the Church' s teaching conceming the value of human life in all its forms. Your recent campaign for signatures to request the Government to keep its law against abortion is an example of this and was a great success. Also, as a Conference, you exhibited admirable leadership in calling for neutrality during the most recent Presidential election. This neutrality gave strong witness to the nation of the integrity of the Church and its belief in the right of all people to self-determination.
  I also thank you for the work of the Conference concerning the Holy See' s participation at the Taejon Expo. I was recently informed by the General Secretary of his visit to Rome on your behalf, and was pleased to learn that plans are proceeding well and that so many lay people are assisting in the development of the exhibit. Since, we will be the only Church participating in Expo, these efforts are most valuable and hopefully will assist in our work of evangelization.
  Not so long ago I was nominated by the Holy Father as the first Papal Nuncio to Mongolia. In addition then to the Nunciature' s work for Korea, we will now also care for Mongolia. The Holy See and Mongolia haver set up formal diplomatic relations so I will go to present my Credential Letters to the President.   There are three Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart (Schute Fathers) in the capital, studying the Mongol language. Before Christmas, the Holy See sent a large shipment of medicines to Mongolia through the local religious superior. In the future, however, it is hoped that the Church in Korea may be able to assist, since the shipping would be less costly than from Europe and, more importantly, because of the historical and genealogical connections between the Mongolian people and the Korean people. Bishop Peter Kang of Seoul Archdiocese has already looked into the possibility of gett~~ help from the "One Heart One Body movement.
  The mission in Mongolia will require much time and patience. Nothing is going to happen over-night. However, it is not too early to begin considering how the Church in Korea, which certainly has been blessed by God in many ways, can assist in bringing the gospel to Mongolia. The ancient links between the two countries seem to insist that one day Korea will be called upon to send missionaries to Mongolia.
  I would like to ·offer you some short observations of the Holy See concerning a few areas of Church life in Korea.
  The first concerns Seminaries. Truly, Korea has been blessed by God in many ways, not the least of which is in the numerous vocations to the priesthood. The present need to open and expand more seminaries (Seoul, Kwangju, Taegu, Pusan, Suwon, Taejon, Inch'on) is evidence of this. The Holy See, of course, is pleased by this. And so, wishes to stress the importance of the pastoral and spiritual formation of the seminarians. Without diminishing the need for intellectual preparation, it nevertheless must be recognized that our priests must first and above all be holy. Here we must seriously consider the importance of appointing Professors to our seminaries who are not just academically qualified but also spiritually qualified. I would encourage all of you to review the document "Some Guidelines on the Formation of Major Seminarians" issued by the HoI, See.   Along with the Holy See s concern for the proper formation of priests. is its concern for Religious. As you know the up-coming ninth Synod of Bishops, scheduled for the latter part of 1994, will have as its theme "Consecrated Life and its ~ole in the Church and in the World" . You are encouraged, in preparation for this Synod to study once again the document "Mutuae Relationes" and to recognize the need for a greater implementation of its teachings. Formative and educational initiatives concerning Religious are needed.
  I have already congratulated you in the Pro-life campaign of the Conference. The Holy See encourages you to continue in your work for the Family and to work for a deeper understanding of the doctrine of family life. This can be done by a greater emphasis on a catechesis which will stress the spirituality of marriage and the family. Emphasis can be placed on safeguarding life from conception to natural death. Here too considered action can be taken concerning the questions of drugs, prostitution, pornography, Aids. Since 1994 has been declared by the United Nations the ''year of the Family" , it would seem appropriate to consider special programs at this time.
  Finally, I would call to your attention the vast area of social communications and the whole question of morality in the media. The arrival of television, films and, most recently, videocassetes into almost every home has opened up a whole new area of concern for the Church. The Holy See encourages you to promote Christian doctrine through the mass media and to work against the negative influences which so easily come to our people, especially the youth, through the mass media. Your efforts, for example, in promoting the coverage by local television networks of Papal ceremonies and messages at Christmas and Easter help greatly in this respect.
  I conclude these remarks by thanking you again, dear brothers, for your invitation and attention. I assure you all of my prayers for you and I wish you every success in your deliberations. May God bless you all.






"Church is a Companion of the Progress of Science"

On April 4, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea issued a joint message entitled, 'Towards the Evangelization of
Science and Technology ", calling for a generous participation in the second collection on Kaster Sunday on behalf of the Vatican Pavilion in Taejon Expo 93. The Secretariat of CBCK prepared and distributed




Towards the Evangelization of Science and Technology


  Dear Brothers and Sisters,


  The Holy See, welcoming the invitation of the Korean Government to participate in. the Taejon International E~ition
(TAEJON EXPO '93), commissioned the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea to take full responsibility for the preparation and administration of the Vatican Pavilion. The primary goal of the Church participation in EXPO '93 is to pursue the humanization of science and technology and the evangelization of human culture. Thus the  articipation of the Holy See in EXPO' 93 will be to proclaim the Gospel. The mission of the Church, on the one hand is to present a clear image and presence of the Church in the heart of life and the culture of humamty and on the other hand to establish a right relation between Church and science.
 Since the theme of the EXPO' 93 is "The Challen~e of a New Road to Development" , we decided that ''Lumen Gentium" should be the theme of the Vatican Pavilion and "Pro Mundi Vita" and "Pro Communione et Progressione" will be the subthemes. We wish to show the contribution of the Church to the pro~ress of science and human culture and how the Catholic faith was introduced to our land along with modem science. Also we would like to indicate the direction that the modem science and technology should be pursuing.
  However, considerable cost is involved in preparing and administering the Pavilion. Consequently we, the BiShops, decided to appeal to communities and parishes nationwide to hold a second collection on Easter Sunday on behalf of the vatican pavilion. We urge you to make the necessary sacrifices and trust in your generous participation and cooperation.
  Taejon EXPO '93 is a great opportunity for the Church to correct prevailin~ prejudices that the Church was an obstacle to the progress of sCience and technology. The Church has made tremendous contributions to science through monasteries and universities, and it is a fact that the modem scientific revolution was achieved through a Biblical view of nature and creation.
  Many clergy, monks and laity such as Copernicus, Pasteur, Mendel, Marconi, Chung Yak-yong and Dr. Lee Tae-kyu contributed to studies and researches while pursuing the truth in faith. The closing message of the 2nd Vatican Council to scientists, states! "We are the friends of your vocation as searchers, and companions in your fatigues."
  The progress of modem science is causin~ irreversible destruction of the environment and life by exploitmg the human desire to have more in order to be more. The Holy Father expressed in his Lenten message his deep concern for the desertification of the earth by indiscriminate development and abuse of natural resources that destroy the balance of nature. It is only right that the progress of science be for the life of the world. We, christians, have to lead in this. Since the road that leads to the future of humanity is the Paschal road that overcomes sufferings and  ifficultieS in following Christ. In order to conserve the order of creation and hops in the future, we, christians, have to make sacrifices to overcome the desire for excessive possession and selfishness.


  Dear Brothers and Sisters,

  It is in this spirit of sacrifice we call on you to cooperate in the special collection for the Vatican Pavilion. We pray to God to grant abundant blessings to all of you and your families.

April 4, 1993
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea




I . Theme of the Thejon Expo , 93:The Challenge of a New Road to Development

Subthemes: Traditional and Modern Science and Technology for the Developing World Towards an Improved Use and Recycling of Resources

Duration: Aug. 7, 1993 - Nov. 7, 1993
Location: Taejon, Korea
Area: 90 hectares


II. Theme and Plan ofThe Vatican Pavilion (18m x 18m)

1. Theme: Lumen Gentium
   Subthemes: - Pro Mundi Vita
                        - Pro Communione et Progressione

2. Emblem of The Vatican Pavilion

  The Emblem of the Vatican Pavilion shaped by Human Eye with the Earth in its apple and the Mobious' Strip symbolizes that Science and Faith are Companions who lead Humanity to the True Light.

3. Basic Concept

  To pursue the humanization of science and technology and evangelize human culture by presenting a clear image and presence of the Church in the heart of the life and culture of humanity. To establish the correct relationship between Church and Science. To present to the world the contribution of the Church towards progress in science and technology throughout the centuries. To show how the Catholic faith was introduced into Korea along with modern science. Finally, to indicate the direction that modem science technology must pursue for the common prosperity of humanity and to illuminate problems of the scientific world in the light of a faith that respects the whole of life.
  The Vatican Pavilion will be based on the design of Saint Peter' s Square. Works of art and items of interest will be exhibited around the corridors.





• News From the Church in Korea


• Catholics in Korea Exceed Three Million and Clergy Two Thousand

According to the statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea issued by CBCK, the growth rate of Catholics for 1991-1992 showed a 4,9% increase (143,000). This is 1.38% lower than 1990-1991. As of January 1993, the total number of Catholics in Korea reached 3, 066,733 or 7% of the total population of Korea (43,859,844). On the other hand, the number of non-practicing Catholics is 758,337 (24.7% of total number of Catholics). However this is the first year Catholics exceeded 3 million and clergy 2,000, with 160 newly ordained priests in one year.




• Korean Translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is Expected to be Published This Year


  The Catechetical Pastoral Institute (Director: Rev. Lee Sang-hoon) has completed the translation of the New Catechism and presented the first draft to the Catechetical Committee of CBCK at the Spring Plenary Session ofthe Bishops' Conference.
  The Catechetical Committee (president: Most Rev. James Kim) formed a Reading Committee with Msgr. Florian Cheong, Rev. Philip Woo, Rev. Linus Lee, Rev. Joseph Kim and Rev. Zezegou Robert. The Committee expects it will be published by Dec. 8, 1993, on the occasion of its first anniversary of the promulgation by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.



• Merging of Migration PastoraI Ministries for Korean Catholics in the U. S. and Canada

  An agreement was made between Most Rev. Augustine Cheong, President of the Migration Pastoral Committee in
Korea and Most. Rev. Theodor Edgar McCarrick, President of the Migration Pastoral Committee in the U.S., to unify pastoral work for Korean Catholics residing in the U.S. and Canada. On March 31, Archbishop McCarrick of Newark diocese visited Seoul to discuss the pastoral care of 70,000 Korean Catholics in the U.S. and to find better ways for mutual cooperation between the two countries. Rev. Augustine Park of Orange, New Jersey diocese,. was appointed Vicar General as of April 7.
  Until now the apostolate has functioned on diocesan level and priests were sent on the initiative of bishops.
  "Training in language and culture will be necessary for the priests before taking on their ministry, especially for those working with second generation Korean-Americans". Archbishop McCarrick stated. The present situation of Korean Church overseas, as of the end of 1992, is as follows: 98 churches and 128 mission posts in 50 countries; total number of Korean Catholics: 88,120, Priests: 111 (Korean priests: 87, foreign priests: 24, permanent deacons: 7), Religious sisters: 79 from 20 Religious institutes. 43 of whom are on mission in the U.S.


• Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Celebrate 70th Anniversary of Mission in Korea


  On May 14, the occasion of the 70th anniversary of their mission in Korea, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers (Reg. Sup.: Rev. Gerard E. Hammond M.M.) celebrated the Eucharist at Reunification Tower on Odu Mountain, near DMZ. Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers' Foreign Mission Society of America, founded in 1911 by Revs. Thomas Price and James Walsh, first came to Korea on May 10, 1923, at the request of the Holy See for Pyongyang Province mission. With the establishment of the Praefectura Apostolica of Pyongyang in 1927, the Maryknoll Fathers played an important role in promoting the Korean Catholic Church. They contributed to the society in many ways by developing catholic press and publications and founding periodic such as "Catholic Study" and "Catholic Choson" . In 1942, during World War II, 32 Maryknoll Fathers were deported to the U.S. by the Japanese government but returned to Korea with the defeat of Japan. Since then their involvement in Korea has given an impetus to the development of the Catholic Church and played an important role in the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Holy See. During the Korean War a number of Maryknoll Fathers were kidnapped by North koreans and died on the "Death March". Most Rev. Patrick Byrne who was the first Maryknoll missionary in Korea was one of these victims. Presently Most Rev. William 1. McNauthton is Bishop of Incho' on diocese and 31 Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers including 3 lay Maryknoll assoCiates are involved in parishes and social services such as the Sacred Heart School for Blind People in Ch' ungju, the Leprosy Hospital in Sorak Island.


• Can Sex Education Be a Response to Anti-life Culture?

"What did I do for love, life and family? What should I do for them? These are questions each of us has to answer to", stressed Rev. Father Casimir Song Yol Sup, Under. Sec. of CBCK and Exec. Sec. of the Family Pastoral Committee, returning from the Congress on Love, Life and Family sponsored by Human Life International, in Houston, Texas, Apr. 14-18. "Can sex education be a response to the rampant worldwide phenomenon of anti-life culture and the actual indiscriminate practice of abortion? The answer is No! A sex education without moral values can only distort the view of sex. Even the expression 'sex education' is inadequate. We've rather to say 'education on sex ethics' or 'chastity education' . The answer can be found only in faith and love," Far. Song said as he recalled the Congress. ''By every means, we have to educate people on the reality of the physical and mental consequences of contraception and abortion which lead to destruction of genuine value of marriage and family", he emphasized. In July 1993, the Family pastoral Committee of CBCK (pres. Most Rev. Thomas Stewart, S.S.c.) conducted a nationwide Signature Campaign Against Abortion (see CBCK Newsletter, First Edition p. 3 & 4) which has played a considerable role in raising the social consciousness of Korean people on the concept and value of human life. About I,SOO,OOO people signed during the Campaign. Korea is a country renowned for abortion with about 1,500,000 abortions every year. "The Pro-life movement is a movement to save oneself and family" , he emphasized. In July 1993, the Family pastoral Committee of CBCK (Pres. Most Rev. Thomas Stewart, S.S.C) conducted a nationwide Signature Campaign Against Abortion (see CBCK Newsletter, First Edition p. 3 & 4) which has played a considerable role in raising the social consciousness of Korean people on the concept and value of human life. About 1,800,000 people signed during the Campaign. Korea is a country renowned for abortion with about 1,500,000 abortions every year. "The Pro-life movement is a movement to save oneself and society. Protection of the foetus is the work of God, the Creator of life" , Fr. Song reaffirmed his commitment to pursue the Pro-life campaign and education of youth, in solidarity with all the people from other nations he met at the Congress.


• Catholic Medical Center Launches Campaign to Assist in Birth of a Third Child


  The Catholic Medical Center (CM.C.), adopting 1993 as the "Year of Protection for Human Life and Love", has launched a Pro-Life Campaign. Plans for the campaign include: assisting those having a third child and a campaign against anti-life research and studies destroying the dignity of human life such as test-tube insemination, termination of pregnancy, abortion and mercy killing.   CMC will offer the same benefits to parents having a third child as those offered by the health insurance system for two children. This is expected to make considerable impact on the present regulation in the Korean health insurance system that excludes all medical benefits for a third child.
  CMC considers that the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs' exclusion of medical benefits for a third chifd inhuman and unfair. "All expenses involved in this plan will be provided by our Human Life Protection Funds" , a CMC official said. CMC is also planning to open a special counselling center aimed at providing ongoing counselling for the protection of human life.


• Plan for A Joint Rehabilitation Center for Blind People in China


  Catholic Blind Missions of Korea (CB.M.K.) will open "Yonbyon Hasang Rehabilitation Center for Eyesight Defective People" in Killim Provence in China August 1993. This will be a joint rehabilitation center in cooperation with China in a self-governing Province of Koreans in China. The Center will introduce effective projects and programs including braille education system, massage, acupuncture and computer education.
  "The geographic closeness of Yonbyon with North Korea and the large number of Koreans there inspired this project. The possibility of cooperating with North Korea in projects for eyesight defective people is our future plan" , a CBMK official said. They are also planning to establish a regular school for blind people and an ophthalmic hospital including a welfare rehabilitation center for handicapped people. This Center will be administrated by a joint board of directors from the two countries.


• Private (non-governmental) Prisons under Consideration

  At the regular meeting of the National Committee for Prison Apostolate (Dir.: Rev. Kim Woo-song), Apr. 13-14, attention was given·to the subject of private prisons. From a Christian perspective it is believed that, "One cannot expect criminals to recover their human integrity in the present correctional system which is centered solely on social isolation and punishment."
  The aim of the Committee is to practice love and faith. Humaita in San Jose dos Campos in Brazil, a Catholic Church-run private prison opened in 1984, is a model for those who are in search of a new correctional system. Humaita has admitted over 520 long-term prisoners so far without armed prison guards or handcuffs.
  In Korea, the prison correctional system is such that it teaches the criminals more about crime. The Catholic Prison Apostolate is inspired and encouraged by the experiences and results of the private prisons in Humaita (Brazil), Guatemala, . Ecuador and Peru. "The National Campaign Against Capital Punishment, launched by the Committee on May 30, 1992 (ct. first ed. of CBCK Newsletter p. 6), will be reinforced this year" , they announced.


• "Korean Catholic Women's Community, For a New World" Founded


  Catholic Women in Korea have been dispersed for many years in various fields of Church work as they practiced the belief that "Faith comes through works" (James 2:17). Now they have come to realize their own needs as women. Women who have been reflecting on women' s role in the Bible and in history, founded Korean Catholic Women's Community, for a New World Apr. 17, 1993, at the Catholic Women Students' Center (AF.I.) in Seoul.
  The founding members are catholic women who hope to commit themselves to follow the footsteps of Christ in order to accomplish a New Heaven and a New Earth (cf: Rev. 21), that is a new world on earth. The opening Eucharist was attended by about 200 women from all walks of society. The Cornmunity will study and reflect on women's theology in the Church and commit itself to women's issue such as "Comfort Women", Korean Women drafted by Japan for military sexual slavery during W.W II (cf: CBCK Newsletter N.2, p.7). The efforts of the New Cornmunity will be devoted above all to bringing about justice for women created in the image of God. According to statistics 70% of 3 million of Korean Catholics are women.


• "Japan is Responsible for the 'Comfort Women so This is a Japanese Problem"- A message of Msgr. Shirayanagi Seiichi, Archbishop of Tokyo


  As the 'Comfort Women's problem is becoming a heated issue between Korea and Japan, Msgr. Shirayanagi Seiichi, Archbishop of Tokyo, in a message on March 20, reaffirmed the position of the Episcopal Conference of Japan vis-a-vis the World War IT and its consequences. He reiterated the position of the Japanese Bishops' statement made in 1986 on the occasion of a meeting of Asian bishops recognizing the responsibility of Japan for World War IT and asked for forgiveness for War crimes against the Asian people. He called on the catholics of Japan for understanding of the sufferings of victims of Comfort Women, drafted forcibly for military sexual slavery by Japan and for recognition of the responsibility of Japan. He stated that "the problem of 'Comfort Women' is a problem for the Japanese people as well as for the Catholic Church in Japan and urged the Japanese government to recognize the historical facts and to offer apologies and due reparation to the victims. He called in particular for spiritual and financial support for those former comfort women who started legal proceedings in Japanese courts.
  Meanwhile, the Catholic Peace and Justice Committee of Seoul Archdiocese (President: Rev. Choi Yong-rok) issued an open letter to the Japanese government, March 25, callit;lg for a sincere selfexamination, official apology and adequate reparation for all unsolved problems and victims of the war crimes of w.w.IT: compulsory military draft, forced labor, 'Comfort Women drafted for military sexual shivery, A-bomb victims and Koreans who were abandoned in Sakhalin Island.


• First Korean Missionary Sisters Sent to Russia


  The Sisters of the Korean Martyrs sent two sisters, Sr. Ha Thomas and Sr. Yoo Agnes, on mission to Russia on Apr. 16. "It is indeed a difficult mission but we are going with faith in God and the courage of our ancestors and the first missionaries who came to our country" , the two young missionary Sisters said with a big smile at their departure.   The Sisters of the Korean Martyrs have missions in Japan, Mexico, Germany, U.S. and Spain. Also the Franciscan Friars (Minis. Provincial: Rev. Xavier Yoon, O.EM.) announced that they are getting ready to send missionaries to Russia.


• Concerns on Abuse of Brain Death for Organ Transplants

  On March 4, the Korean Medical Association of Korea (president: Dr. Lee Jae-yoo) issued a "Declaration on Brain Death" and announced the criteria for determining "brain death". While accepting organ transplantation from patients in such a state, it voiced its concern that official recognition of both brain death and organ transplantation is effecting social ethics. Despite its clear statement that strict protection and respect for human life are assured, the official policy also urges the stopping of meaningless medical treatment to prolong life. Concerns have been raised that this may lead to a mjsuse of brain death on behalf of organ transplantation. The government policy for the determination of brain death solely relies on medical considerations which promote organ transplantation.
  On the assumption that "the determination of brain death by modem medical science, when it is rightly applied, could be scientific and objective" , Rev. Choi Ch'ang-moo (Rector of Catholic University of Seoul and Prof. of Ethics) pointed out that, "If brain death is intended to be used for the effectiveness of organ transplantation it can raise questions of social ethics. And he said that there is need to clarify social ethics in relation to equity between the organ donor and its receiver and fulfillment of the desire of the scientific medical technology world in order to have spontaneous donation of organs based on a right determination of brain death.
  Rev. Soh Byong-wook (Prof. of Moral Theology, Catholic University of Taegu) stressed the moral implications of such conduct saying that, "If the recognition of brain death is related to organ transplantation, its conditions should be even stricter. A clear understanding is required that the recognition of brain death is not linked to the question of organ transplantation" as one wants.


• Sharing the Problems and Joys of Foreign Workers: A Museum Visit and New Year's Celebration for Nepalese Workers


  For foreign workers, most of whom are illegally in Korea, the Foreign Workers' Labor Counselling Office (Exec. dir.: Ms. Lydia Paik) recently sponsored a cultural tour of the National Museum to promote cultural understanding and friendship. About 80 foreign workers from Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh visited the National Museum under the guidance of the staff of the Office on March 14.
  On April 11, New Year's Day in Nepal, about 500 Nepalese gathered at Myongdong Catholic Cultural Center to celebrate. Performing their folk songs and dances was a good opportunity to introduce Nepalese culture to the public.
  "Legal protection of the rights of immigrant workers is very urgent. The UN Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families should be ratified and implemented. Korea is the only country charging fines to illegal workers when they want to leave Korea or are expelled. A legal solution to protect their right to a just wage and compensation for occupational accidents, violence, insults and long working hours are areas the Catholic Church must give attention," Lydia Paik stressed.




  The Earth' s Future? What will be the greatest concern of the third millennium? Have you ever asked yourself that question?
  Probably for many people "Environment Pollution" will come to mind. The environment will soon be a life and death problem and is directly connected with God' s plan of salvation, the salvation of humankind.
  The Earth is not only ours but als the place our descendants and other forms of creation will live in. 
   If the Earth cannot be saved from waste, polluted water, nuclear materials and poisonous gases, our proud cultural heritage, economic growth and ideology will have no meaning.

Let Us Remember Earth Day on April 22

  Earth Day was started on April 22, 1970, at the proposal of a U.S. Senator to cross national boundaries and to raise consciousness of humankind s solidarity.
  Earth Day is the day we protect our beautiful mountains and rivers. On Earth day we reduce waste and useless synthetic detergents. Earth Day is the day to protect nature destroyed in the name of economic development. It is the day to take precautions in order that this doesn' t happen again.
  On this Earth Day we hope that the faithful, under the guidance of Church' s teaching, will take the opportunity to join the ranks of the environment movement. We as Christians are called to join in making a world in which God can rejoice.

April 18, 1993
Catholic Justice and Peace
Committee of Korea


A Brief History of Catholicism in Korea [2]


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

Characteristics of the Early Korean Church

1. Context ofAcceptance of Catholicism

  In 1784, Catholicism was introduced to Korea. The reason for its spontaneous acceptance without the assistance of foreign missionaries was a consequence of the social changes at that time. For Korea, the 18th century was a transition period leading to a new era with significant innovations and reforms in socioeconomic thought. Commerce, manifacture and mining had been developed in the country which, up till then, had been an agricultural society in which the traditional class system was beginning to collapse due to the challenge of the common people.
  The world of thought was also changing. NeoConfucianism still dominated thinking. However, some scholars
were convinced that Neo-Confucianism was unable to promote social progress and sought a new way of thought that could transform and lead the society. Thus they turned to Practical Thought which was a revision of Neo-Confucianism on the lines of Early Confucianism.
  The scholars of the Practical Thought had an alternative idea of thought which could speak for the ordinary people and would launch a new type of people-centered society. Also the people were open to traditional belief and "heterodox" thoughts such as Buddhism which the ruling class considered as "Profane Thought" and rejected, and sought to launch a new religious movement. The ruling class.condemned these ideas as heretical and tried to stop them but they spread widely.
  In this process of social and cultural change, some intellectuals as well as the common people spontaneously took up the study on Catholicism, accepting and practicing it.

2. Social Characteristics of the Believers

  In the early Korean Church there were two categories of people who accepted Catholicism. Those in the first category were Confucian intellectuals of the school of Practical Thought. They were critical of Neo-Confucianism and wanted to replace it with Early Confucianism. From their study of Catholic books published in China by Jesuit Fathers they saw Catholicism as a new interpretation of the Early Confucianism and Came to embrace it with faith. They believed and practiced it to complement what was lacking in Early Confucianism. These noble intellectuals were the people who became the founders and leaders of the early Korean Church.
  On the other hand, ordinary people had their own approach to Catholicism. The Church leaders translated Catholic books from Chinese into Korean and published them as block printing. That allowed the people who didn't know how to read Chinese characters to read the books and learn from them.
  Unlike the Church leaders of that time, the common people understood the fact that the Catholic belief was different from Confucianism. They accepted Catholicism as a way to challenge the unjust social system based on the Confucianism of the ruling class. For them Christianity was not just good religious news but also good social news.
  These two categories of people pursued different ways as the Church developed. Catholics from the nobility were reintegrated into Confucianism when they were forced to reject their new religion following the government' s decision to persecute Christianity seen as dangerous to the social order. Those who thought that Christianity was radically different from Confucianism continued their unswerving belief in Catholicism. Soon the leadership of the Church was formed of people who had abandoned their privileged status in order to keep their faith, and could no longer claim those privileges and lower class people who had no rights to claim any privileges.

3. Characteristics ofComprehension of Catholicism

  The Catholic faith introduced the Korean people to monotheism for the first time. People who believed in the highest being from ancient times could easily come to'believe in a trinitarian God. Koreans had a deep faith in a Creator who made the world and governed it but had no concept of a Mediator. So they felt closer to God the Father than to God the Son at the beginning. They were deeply touched by an understanding that all human beings were created in the image of God and therefore are equal and precious. From such an understanding of God they came to a new outlook on humanity and society, pursuing the equ3lity of all human beings.
  When we study the books they read we can see that they knew all the basic doctrines of the traditional Catholic faith and practiced various religious devotions. However they were under the influence of their own traditional culture when it came to practicing their Christian faith. In Korean traditional culture three observances are highly esteemed: loyalty to the king, filial piety to parents and chastity of women. People were taught that it was worth sacrificing their lives for these ideals.
  In line with this thinking, Korean Christians wanted to offer their loyalty and filial piety to God rather than to the king who was a human being. They sought to be faithful to God with the loyalty of a woman who observes chastity of mind and body. It was the cultural background of Korean martyrs who got the strong faith that enabled them to give up their lives for God.

List of Articles
No. Subject Datesort
110 CBCK Newsletter No.1 (Advent 1992) Aug 20, 2009
109 CBCK Newsletter No.2 (Spring 1993) Aug 27, 2009
» CBCK Newsletter No.3 (Summer 1993) Aug 27, 2009
107 CBCK Newsletter No.4 (Fall 1993) Aug 27, 2009
106 CBCK Newsletter No.5 (Winter 1993) Aug 27, 2009
105 CBCK Newsletter No.6 (Spring 1994) Aug 27, 2009
104 CBCK Newsletter No.7 (Summer 1994) Aug 27, 2009
103 CBCK Newsletter No.8 (Fall 1994) Aug 27, 2009
102 CBCK Newsletter No.9 (Winter 1994) Aug 27, 2009
101 CBCK Newsletter No.10 (Spring 1995) Aug 27, 2009
100 CBCK Newsletter No.11 (Summer 1995) Aug 27, 2009
99 CBCK Newsletter No.12 (Fall 1995) Aug 27, 2009
98 CBCK Newsletter No.13 (Winter 1995) Aug 27, 2009
97 CBCK Newsletter No.14 (Spring 1996) Aug 27, 2009
96 CBCK Newsletter No.15 (Summer 1996) Aug 27, 2009

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