From the Editor:
The Love of Christ is Beyond all Ideologies and Human Boundaries..·
Warm greetings from Seoul! In this beautiful season of harvest that brings us fullness of life, we want to share some concerns about our society and the roles to which the Church is called. On August IS, the Korean people celebrated the 50th anniversary of liberation from Japanese colonial rule and at the same time the 50th year of division of the nation. Dazzling festivities and cultural events were held across the nation showing off the economic and political success of Korea. Korean 'people, however, marked by sufferings deep in their soul, bear the torment of the tragedy of division. In this particular time the Catholic Church in Korea is called by God to work for peace and reconciliation to bring Korean people together. The love of Christ is beyond all ideologies and human boundaries. The only shortcut to national unity is the self-effacing love of Christ. In this regard, various efforts and initiatives are undertaken by the Church on both spiritual and material levels.
With regard to the ruling of the prosecutor of Seoul, last July, not to prosecute the responsibles of the bloody masscre of Kwangju citizens IS years ago, May 18, 1980, the Church is playing a leading role to bring justice. The whole Church with clergy, religious and lay people is actively involved in the nationwide campaign to demand the government to declare the ruling of prosecutor invaljd and establish a special prosecution law related to the "Kwangju incident" (see page 7). Ths does not only intend to punish those responsible for the appalling national tragedy but to correct past injustices. Because tolerating such a bloody massacre of civilians' struggling for democracy will call forth other tragedies in the future. Taking power by violence means giving up democracy. As Christians we are called to work for justice by removing injustice from our society. For this paftjcular mission and in order to be 'ught and salt in the world" the Church is challenged to make an authentic renewal of herself from within.
Another concern of the Church in Korea is about women. Women's role in family and society is irreplaceable. Thus the Church should support women so that they can fulfill their unique role in the family and society in equality and respect. The Church' s door should be wide open to women for their participation in the Church's life. The Church should speak for women's rights and equality, and oppose unfair conditions and sufferings they endure in many patriarchal societies. Humanity will enjoy harmony of life only when women's rights and dignity are fully respected. Justice should be done to former "Comfort Women" who suffered under military sexual slavery by Japan during the World War II and those similar victims even in our time. In the Bible the ~rfection of the human being is expressed by harmony of male and female. Women should be aware of their dignity as collaborators with God, the Creator when they give birth and rllise children. As to Mary, all women are given sublime matemity with dignity and a special mission.
The Church in Korea has to be reborn in order that above mentioned wishes be realized. Then we will harvest abundant fruits of our mission.
Msgr. Dionysius Paik Nam-ik
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
Special Message of Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, Archbishop of Seoul, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of National Independence:
"Division of Nation for Half Century is Contrary to the Will of God'"''
Celebration ofthe 50th anniversary ofNational Independence ofthe Korean people from Japanese colonial rule and 50th year ofdivision ofthe nation coincided with the Solemnity ofAssumption of Mary on August 15. On this significant occasion ofKorea and the Church, Cardinal Kim issued a special message during a Mass at Myongdong Cathedral in Seoul. In the message he appealedfor true repentance for national reconciliation and stressed the importance ofsharing that requires sacrifice. Following is the full text ofthe message.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Today we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the national liberation of Korea from painful Japanese colonial rule and at the same time the Solemnity of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary. Also 50 years ago today, the agony of division of our people was begun. In addition, this is the 20th year since I became Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, capital of North Korea. All this make me indulge in reminiscences.
On this occasion I want to share my wishes and thoughts for the future of our people.
Day of Liberation from Death
The Solemnity of Assumption of Blessed Vlfgin Mary we celebrate today commemorates the Mother of Jesus, Our Savior, who was lifted up to heaven and won victory over death through Cluist. The Assumption of Mary is a symbol of our salvation and liberation from death. Therefore, on this day, the Church renews her faith in salvation and the Cluistian meaning of victory over death.
The Jubilee is a tradition of the Church since the time of the Old Testament. In the Jubilee Year Israelites offered liberation to their slaves, wrote off debts, and returned land back to the original owners. Jesus said through the words of the prophet Isaiah; "He sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and to proclaim the Year of the Lord's favor" (Lk 4,18).
Jubilee is Grace of God
The Jubilee, a year of divine grace, is a time of God' s call for humanity to a new history and to participation in that history. Today, as we celebrate the Assumption of Mary and the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial imperialism, the Church prays for and wishes our people abundant grace and blessing of the Jubilee.
The Bible asks Cluistian believers to make a self-examination and repent of their past in order to receive the divine grace and salvation that God offers. Accordingly we are called to make personal self-examination and to repent our past to receive new grace and salvation from God.
Called to Self-examination and Repentance
The division of our nation we experience is diametrically opposed to the will of Cluist who wants love, peace and unity. Although the Korean people are not the only ones responsible for the division of Korea, keeping our nation divided for' half a century is certainly our responsibility. And this is disobeying God' s will and teachings with regard of reconciliation and unity.
In this respect, South and North Korea, which share respopsibility for the division of Korea, should make a sincere examination of conscience regarding errors and repent with a humble heart. Only then will our people be liberated from common sins and be able to realize reconciliation, peace and unity. Our true joy in national liberation will be complete only when our nation is reconciled in one Korea.
"Through Cluist, God changed us from enemies into His friends and gave us the task of making others His friends also" (2 Cor. 5,18). Our people are on pilgrimage towards the land of reconciliation and unity. As we march toward the land of promise of reunification we send our heartfelt greetings to our brothers and sisters in North Korea, especially those who share the same Catholic faith with us! With all our heart we pray Mary, Mother of God to protect them in her motherly affection and care. We pray for all of us that we become workers and apostles of the Kingdom of God, which is reconciliation and unity. We pray also that the day when brothers and sisters in South and North Korea can meet each other will come soon.
Praying for God's Blessings
I wish God's blessings and peace on all our people sharing the joy of liberation and pains of division. Called to participate in the Jubilee we have to strengthen our sense of solidarity in living out Cluistian love. In the Bible we are told to share what we have with our brothers and sisters. In the history of the tradition of the Korean people we fmd beautiful customs of helping each other. Thus we should continue to live these values in concrete way as Cluistians and Koreans. The spirit of sharing requires sacrifice. It is only through the sacrifice of ourselves that we are able to comprehend the importance of fraternal love and come to realize the will of God for peace in the world.
Sharing Requires Sacrifice
Sacrifice augments the joy of salvation and brings about reconciliation and the unity of people. Thus we have to make progress in self-examination and repentance on personal and communallevels and make efforts to overcome the causes of division among us. However, to our regret, a great deal of incidents against true reconciliation and the undermining of human dignity have occurred in our society. The abortion of unborn children is an example of this. Respect for human life is seriously challenged in our time.
Social Justice Should be Realized
Keeping old ways and attitudes of
dealing with labor-management issues,
inhuman indifference to migrant workers,
the man-made disaster of the collapse
of Sampoong Department Store,
the prosecutor's ruling to not prosecute
those responsible for the Kwangju
massacre, etc. are actions against human
dignity and obstacles to realize
reconciliation. If we truly want reconciliation
and the unity of Korea we
have first to solve the above matters in
our society according to God's teachings.
Thus the life of the unborn child
should be respected and protected, human
rights and dignity guaranteed in
labor-management negotiation, the culture
of dialogue and mutual respect
deepened and social justice realized.
Human Dignity Should be Focused
Those bereaved families in grief who lost their loved ones over night in the disaster of the collapse of Sampoong Department Store should be taken care of on a national level and justice should be done for them. The bloody massacre by the military during the Kwangju Democratization Movement in May of 1980 is a grave sin against humanity. Therefore the true picture of the incident should be disclosed without fail. Only then social justice will be realized and the spirit of righteousness of the Korean people renewed. With regard to the Kwangju incident, Korean people, especially Kwangju citizens, can forgive only when they know who are the real criminals of the massacre.
In this juncture of 50 years of nationalliberation from Japanese colonial rule new era of history is dawning for us. The new history we are called for should be a history of love and peace founded on respect for human dignity. War, which destroys our people, should never happen again in our country under any circumstances. Thus the excessive armament race, anti-life conduct such as capital punishment and confinement because of ideology or human . interest should be avoided by all means. We Catholics sincerely urge both governments of South and North to improve more in the matter of the dignity of human life and the common good of our people.
Let Us Strengthen Peace
Those who are most affected by the division of Korea are certainly the 10 million separated families in South and North Korea. In this year of Jubilee we have to make every effort to realize the reunion of separated families and lessen their agony. Our people endured 50 years of division because of mutual mistrust and hatred. The sad heritage of the history of a divided nation should be ended for good. AU Koreans of South and North should make new efforts for this. Maya new community of reconciliation and unity and eternal peace be ours for ever!
The 50th anniversary of liberation demands political leaders of South and North to sit down face to face without condition and discuss the future of the Korean people and the settlement of peace on the Korean peninsula. Thus our Church asks them to engage sincerely in heart-to-heart talk from the perspective of national self-esteem and common good, and for the genuine future of our nation, dismantled of all ideological and political self interests. What we want is to see is one Korea of peace and democracy where human life and dignity are respected and cared for. Two thousand years ago, a humble virgin of Galilee sang Magnificat, a song of liberation(cf. Lk 1,46). Blessed VIrgin Mary asks us to follow her example in order to accept salvation and sing the Magnigicat of victory with her.
With Humble Heart
In this Jubilee Year of national liberation, following the example of Mary, we are called to make efforts to sing a song of. true liberation and salvation, with self-emptying humble heart and mind. Then a "new heaven and earth" will be opened before us where will be no more weeping, no more grief (ct. Rev.21,1-4). We pray once again for God's blessings and through Blessed VIrgin Mary's special intercession for Korean people of South and North Korea.
August 15, 1995
Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-wan
Archbishop of Seoul
"Japan Should Recognize its Past and Make Apology"
In a press interview with Dong-A Daily on Aug. 12, Cardinal Kim asked Japan to resolve war-related problems. He also urged South and North government leaders to work for the genuine common good of the Korean people and to end their authoritarian past.
"Japan must not distort the historical facts of the past and must admit all damages it caused to Korea and other Asian countries" he said.
"Japan should make a sincere apology for sin it committed against these people and ask forgiveness. Only then Japan' remarkable economic realization will become omething meaningful" he remarked. He also urged Japan to "punish duly all assailants and resolve wartime problems on the governmentallevel including comfort women' s cases and to make state level compensation to all these victims" . He continued: "Only when these and the other conditions are realized can good neighborly relations between Korea and Japan be established and maintained.' He also said that "Korean people should learn to look at Japan in an objective way rather than treating them with hostile sentiments. Overcoming past obstacles with Japan in a genuine way is possible only when Korea becomes more human and a contributor for the good of the world." He continued that "Japan should write historical truth related to World War II in their history text books so that Japanese students can learn correctly about history."
Addressing the division of Korea, Cardinal restated his desire to visit North Korea anytime, even tomorrow if the occasion is presented. With regard to reunification he said that "North Korea will engage in reunification efforts when South Koreans realize the value of mutual trust and understanding in love between North and South Korean people by dismantling a sense of sur; eriority over furth Koreans."
Message of Archbishop Paul Ri Moun-hi in Sakhal in:
Archbishop Paul Ri Moun-hi, President ofthe Catholic Bishops' Conference ofKorea visited Sakhalin to mark the 50th anniversary of Korean national liberation from Japanese colonial rule and concelebrated a memorial Mass for Korean victims on Sakhalin Island with Bishop Peter Toshio Jinushi of Sapporo. Archbishop Ri said, in his message, that "only self-emptying love for others can bring us fullness oflive and enrich humanity. " Bishop Jinushi presented a message of the president of the Bishops' Conference of Japan, Archbishop Stephen Fumio Hamao of Yokohama, in which he expressed regret for errors committed against Koreans by Japan during its 36year occupation of Korea.
The following are excerpts ofthe messages.
"May God Grant Eternal Peace to our Brothers and Sisters"'"
Gathering in front of the small memorial monument erected on Sakhalin, we pray for everlasting peace for our Koreans who passed away in this foreign land, as this stone monument tells us. We offer this Mass for the souls of our ompatriots who died, longing to return to their homeland. May our prayer console their souls...
When Japan was defeated in World War IT and its colonial rule over Korea was ended in 1945 the road for Koreans to return to their homeland was blocked by the sea and the high wall of the division of Korea which was impossible to leap over. This situation was a painful reality for powerless people who had no one to whom they could turn.
The dearest wish of those who died here was to live happily with their loved ones in their homeland. Only self-emptying love for others can bring us fullness of life and enrich humanity. However, Japanese imperialists imposed participation in the war on Koreans. Uncountable Korean young men and adults were brought here by Japan for forced labor. When the war ended in 1945 these Koreans, even though they were brought here in Japan's name, were deserted in this Russian land because they were not Japanese. They might have asked God so many times why they should endure so long all these sufferrings caused by Japanese colonial rule.
Who could understand the heartrending agony of these people? Nobody knows how many people were brought here and died.
Innocent people are victims of such people who ironically claim to be champions of humanism. There are still people who ignore the fact that selfishness leads humanity to ruin and to the desire to control the world. How should we interpret this? There may be no need to recall such a sad history of the sinful past. Yes, those who passed away remain silent and their burning anger is vanquished before the face of God of mercy. The war is ended and 50 years have passed since then. But we still miss freedom and love.
We, children of Mary who had been assumpted to heaven from the earth, are people who believe in eternal life. Our faith tells us that life in this world is not all, but it is connected to the other world for remuneration. We have a vision of resurrection after death. For this reason we are able to love others as much as we love ourselves, to sacrifice ourselves for our neighbors. In addition, mutual love and union with God, true liberation and salvation are possible.
The Holy Eucharist we celebrate reveals our union in love; each of us becomes one with Christ. Such a unity makes possible unity between various groups of people; Korean residents in Sakhalin and Russians; Japanese and Koreans; those who died here and their families, relatives, friends etc. All of them become one heart and live together. This is a miracle of love and the mystery of the salvation of Christ we experience. Certainly it is a providence of God that we experience liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial slavery on this very day of the Assumption of Blessed Vlfgin Mary, Mother of God, and today we celebrate Eucharist, the sacrifice of salvation, together with Most Rev. Jinushi, Japanese priests, nuns and laity.
We thank God of etemallove and peace, who calls humanity to reconciliation. Now it is time that people of South and North Korea, Russia, China, Japan and Sakhalin to get together and cooperate with each other in solidarity of love. Let us pray that God grant us everlasting peace in this world and the world to come.
Aug. 15, 1995
Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi
Archbishop of Taegu
President of the CBCK
Please Forgive Atrocity ofthe Japanese People···
Dear Friends in Christ!
Before I deliver the message of Archbishop Stephen Fumio Hamao of whom I am the delegate, let me say a word to all of you gathered today here in front of the memorial monument of Korean victims on Sakhalin Island to commemorate Korean victims. First of all I am grateful for this opportunity to concelebrate the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist with His Excellence Archbishop Paul Ri Mounhi, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea. As a member of the CBCJ, I want to ask with all my heart your generous forgiveness for all sufferings, agonies, and grief caused by Japanese during the colonial rule. In 'this way let me participate in your irn.rnense pains and sufferings. While listening to the heartbreaking message of Archbishop Paul Ri, I felt helpless to express the agony, suffering, and grief that surged from depth of my heart. I feel that I lost my words'"
I do try to understand the immense agonies of those Koreans who were compelled into forced labor and inhumane life by the Japanese imperialists. When the war ended they were deserted in Sakhalin while Japanese people returned to their land. In addition to that, they were accused by the Russians as collaborators of Japan during the war. They had no one to whom they could appeal for help in their sufferings in such a difficult situation. I feel painful when I think of all their tears and agonies.
As a Japanese I do ask, in front of this memorial monument, for sincere forgiveness from you and from all those who already passed away in this foreign land and for all errors and sins we committed against Korean people. I do offer a sincere apology from the depth of heart. The Catholic Church in Japan should make an honest examination of conscience and ask forgiveness for the fact that she did not point out and denounce the evil of war and the anti-gospel current Japan pursued. We do ask apology that our Church ignored the continuing sufferings of so many people when the war ended and she did nothing about it.
Most Rev. Peter Toshio Jinushi
Bishop of Sapporo
Dear Korean Residents in Sakhalin!
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of the World War II we need to review carefully scars still remaining from the war. During the 36 years that Japan colonized Korea, about 50,000 Koreans were brought to Sakhalin for forced labor by the Japanese colonial government.
The fact that when the World War II ended in 1945 many Koreans were left abandoned in Sakhalin is a sorrowful and painful history for us Japanese. We are very sorry to hear that you, Korean residents in Sakhalin, have been accused and suppressed by the Russians as collaborators of Japanese imperialism and also that you have suffered from the fact that your family members are separated and live dispersed across North Korea, South Korea, Japan and Russia.
We do not know what kind of efforts the Japanese government will make to solve these problems. However, as believers of the same faith in Christ and members of the Church community, the Catholic Church in Japan will do her best to solve the Koreans' problem in Sakhalin in close collaboration with Churches in Russia and northeast China.
Most Reverend Archbishop Paul Ri Moun-hi of . Taegu in South Korea and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, came to visit Sakhalin in person to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the World War II and commemorate Korean victims of the war. On this occasion I have asked Bishop Peter Toshio Jinushi of Sapporo to be my delegate since I cannot attend the gathering personally.
I thank you with Archbishop Ri for this opportunity to communicate.
Most Rev. Fumio Hamao
President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan
• • • Background and Problem ofSakhalin • • •
Inter-governmental negotiations are underway to seek a solution to the problems, facing Korean residents on the Far
Eastern Rusian island of Sakhalin.
Currently, the total number of Korean residents on the island amounts to 36,000, including those Koreans brought by the Japanese colonial government to the island for forced labor and their offspring.
Seoul has held a series of talks with Tokyo and Moscow to ensure repatriation of first-generation Koreans. As 31,500 out of the 36,000 Koreans hold Russian nationality, it is indispensable for Korea to hold talks with the Russian government.
In Nov. 1993, Korea and Japan agreed in a summit to seek ways to ensure their early repatriation in consideration of their advanced age. In Jan. 1994, the two countries launched a jbint survey on the current situation of ethnic Koreans.
Seoul and Tokyo will start a pilot project to repatriate Koreans wishing to return to their fatherland. The Japanese government'has set aside 3.23 billion yen to build 500 apartments and a rehabilitation center accommodating 100 people on the condition that Seoul offers land for the facilities.
The Korean government believes that Japan should make greater contributions because the ethnic Koreans are victims of its colonial rule.
• News from the Church in Korea
• Fi rst Charismatic Seminar Held in North Korea
A charismatic seminar was held for the first time in Changchung church in Pyongyang, North Korea.
According to Rev. Augustine Park Chang-deuk of New Jersey,who made 12day visit to Pyongyang Aug. 11-22, a charismatic seminar was held in Changchung church, Aug. 21, with 13 Catholic community leaders in Pyongyang including Chang Jae-ch' 01, president of the Association of North Korean Catholics and Cha Song-keun, chief leader of the Catholic community. Rev. Park heard confessions, and some 130 Catholics took part in a baptismal renewal ceremony during Sunday Mass on Aug. 20. "The faith of North Korean Catholics, and their efforts and struggle to keep the faith were confIrmed including the weekly catechism study in Changchung church" , said Rev. Park. He celebrated two Sunday Masses there and read a special message from Cardinal Kim on August 15. Rev. Park said that the Cathobcs want to propose the opening of a catechetical institute in Pyongyang.
• "Peace Prayer" of St. Francis Adopted by South and North Korean Catholics
The National Reconciliation Committee of Seoul Archdiocese announced Aug. 29 that Catholics in North and South Korea agreed to adopt the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi as a common prayer for national reconciliation.
The agreement was made when Rev. Augustine Park Chang-deuk met Chang Jae-ch' 01 in Pyongyang during his August visit. Accordingly the Seoul Archdiocese decided to say the Peace Prayer of St. Francis at the weekly Thesday Mass for national reconciliation of Korea at Myongdong Cathedral, as the official prayer for reconciliation. Rt. Rev. Placid Ri, president of the North Korea Evangelization Committee, expressed his desire to keep the existent prayer for national reconciliation but, said that when North and South Catholics meet together, the Peace Prayer of St. Francis may be the most appropriate one.
• Statistics of Catholic Church in Korea Shows "Red Signal"
According to the statistics of the Cathobc Church in Korea published by the Catholic Conference of Korea on Sept. 15, the total number of Korean Catholics reached 3,338,918 or 7.5% of the Korean population, as of the end of 1994 with an increase of 128;914 from 1993 to 1994. The report fIgures show: male: 1,343,827 (4.0% increase), female: 1,985,104 (3.4% increase). As the statistical chart indicates, from early 1980 to 1994 increase rate of Korean Catholics has decreased 0.3% every year. Would it mean that in 11 years from now the increase rate of Korean Catholics will drop to "O"? The "red signal" requires Church' s reflection, thorough analysis of causes and over-all reconsideration of evangelization activities.
• CBCK to PubI ish Commentary on Pastora I Directory
The Commentary of the Pastoral Directory of the Catholic Church in Korea was pubbshed by the CBCK. The Commentary, written by Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong, President of the Canon Law Committee, has a total of 840 pages and is divided into six parts: The People of God; Liturgy and Sacraments; Pastoral Care; Missions and Associations of the Faithful; Society; Provisions of Korean Civil Law relating to Canon Law. It contains 256 pastoral directives. The Pastoral Directory is the revised version of the Directorum Commune Coreae of 1931 and is the fIrst Pastoral Directory in the world approved by the Holy See as the local canon law of a mission country in accordance with the new "Codex Iuris Canonici'" published in 1983. It was approved at the 1992 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK, promulgated on Easter Sunday and became effective as of June 4th, Pentecost Sunday of 1995.
• National Day for Fami Iy Held
The 2nd Day for Family, sponsored by the Family Pastoral Committee(FPA) of the CBCK was held on Sept. 24, at the Airforce Academy in Seoul. Some 2000 delegates from across the country paraticipated in the event in the presence of the
Apostobc Pro-nuncio, Most Rev. Giovanni Bulaitis and Most Revs. Alexander Sye, president of the FPC and Nicholas Cheong of Ch' ongju. The participants reaffirmed the importance of the sanctifIcation of the family in our time. Rev. Casimir Song introduced the encyclical "Evangelium Vitae" and couple delegates presented "experiences" of family life. Bishop Sye stressed that harmony of family life is essential to fight agaisnt the culture of death that distroys human soul and happiness.
• One Heart One Body Movement's National ReconciIiation Fund
On August 15, to mark the 50th anniversary of national liberation, the National Reconciliation Committee of the Seoul Archdiocese conducted a "national reconciliation fund raising through fasting." Over 106,250 US dollars was collected from 75 parishes, while 25,000 dollars was gathered at the weekly Tuesday Mass for national reconciliation at Myongdong Cathedral.
On Sep. 19, Bishop Andrew Choi Chang-mu delivered to Korean National Red Cross president Kang Young-hoon 50,000 US dollars on behalf of Stephen Cardinal Kim and Korean Catholics as relief funds that Catholics have raised for North Korean flood victims. According to a U.N. envoy the recent floods hit 45 counties and cities, or 75 percent of the country, and affected 5.2 million people, out of whom 500,000 people lost their homes.
• Bishops from China to Make Visit to Korea
Eight persons from the Catholic Church in China, headed by Most Rev. long Huai-de, President of the Bishops' Conference of China, visited the Church, in Korea for 9 days Sep. 21-29 at the invitation of Msgr. Thomas Kim Kyounghwan, President of Hyosong Catholic University in Taegu. The 8 member team was composed of two Bishops including Most Rev. long Huai-de, 3 priests, 2 lay leaders and Sr. Theresa Chu Mei-fen, former president of Sacred Heart College in Seoul. The visit is expected to play a significant role in promoting good relationship and cooperation between the Catholic Church of the two countries. They visited Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan in Myongdong cathedral in Seoul,' Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi in Taegu, and major seminaries, Catholic-run organizations including various Korean Martyrs' pilgrimage sites. Since May 1994 the Catholic Church in Korea had the honor of welcoming Bishop Shi Yu-pi from Beijing, Bishop Jin Fei-xian of Shenyang diocese and Rev. Yan Taijun, Apostolic Administrator of Killim in June 1994.
• Church's Concern over Increase of Abortion as a Result of Gender Testing
According to a recent report, about 22,400 female babies are killed yearly before
they are born by abortion based on
gender testing. The Family Pastoral Committee
of the CBCK expressed its deep
concern about the seriousness of the loss
of respect for human life manifested in the
mentality of preference for males among
many Korean people who don't hesitate to
kill unborn babies for the only reason that
they are female. The Church called for immediate
commitment and actions against
such a dreadful culture of death. Gender
testing is blamed for the abortion of
135,000 female fetuses during 1988-1993.
According to the current medical law, art.
19 and 67, gender testing is prohibited and
doctor who does such tests subjects to a
fine of 10 million won and prison term of
up to three years. He also may lose his
medical license. However, complete prevention
of abortion by gender testing is
practically impossible since it is done between
surgeon and parents by private consent.
"Even if there is a law the practice
will not diminish unless medical morality
and conscience are recovered both by the
doctors and the parents," pointed out a
Church official. The ratio of marriageable
men to women will be 128 to 100 in the
year 2010, according to the report of the
Planned Parenthood Federation of Korea.
• Catholic Priests Lead Campaign for Prosecution of Suppressors of Kwangju Uprising for Democracy
The Justice & Peace Committee of Kwangju Archdiocese and representatives of the Priests Association for the Realization of Justice(pARJ) and submitted to the Fall session of the National Assembly a petition to introduce "May 18 Special Law" , the "Special Prosecutor' sLaw" and the "Special Law on Statute of Limitations" with over 120,000 signatures from Catholics. The Seoul district prosecutor' s office wrapped up its 14-monthlong investigation of the incident and other charges brought against former presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo along with 56 others last July. They were allegedly involved in the bloody military suppression of the Kwangju citizens' uprising of May 18, 1980, but the prosecution ruled they had "no right to arraign the accused as the military coup d' etat was highly successful". The three special bills would introduce a special prosecution system which will allow for strict investigation of those implicated in the case as well as to overrule the prosecution's decision that the statute of limitations regarding the two former presidents involved in the May 18 case, has already expired. The 120,000 signatures include 1,097 clergymen, 5,314 religious and catholics from the 14 dioceses, 436 churches and 112 religious communities across the country. "The massacre of innocent civilians cannot be tolerated under any excuse. On the level of religious conscience, the Catholic Church should act," said Bishop Andrew Choi Chang-mu The campaign will continue until their demands are heard.
• "Religion Creates Morality and Respect for Human Rights"-says Card. Shin
At the Global Convention on Tolerance and Restoration of Morality and Humanity Wed Sep. 5 in Seoul, Cardinal J. Shin of Manila stressed the role of "religion and made following remarks. He noted that religion creates self-esteem, a sense of respect for one's neighbor, and reverence for God and the whole world. In this sense religion transforms individual love, interests and concerns into concerns for others. Thus we can say that religion creates morality and respect for human rights. In order to recover humanity and morality we have to return to nature and be liberated from a blind belief in materialism." Over 1000 delegates and high ecclesial prelates from home and abroad from over 20 countires attended the meeting cosponsored by UNESCO and Internatinal club to mark the 50th anniversary of the foundatin of the UN and 14th World Peace Day.
News in Brief
• Msgr. Tran Ngoc Thu, personal secretary of Pope John Paul IT, made 6-day visit to Korea, Sep. 12-18. He said that: '1 am very impressed about the remarkable progress of the ChUrch in Korea and economy and very surprised to see that the Catholic Church in Korea is already preparing to send Korean missionaries to China" . He also noted that " the Church in Korea can do much for the Church in Vietnam" .
• Caritas Coreana enhanced its option for the poor beyond nationality. "Option for the poor beyond nationality goes with the Church' s spirit of commitment to social welfare service. Society of the 21st century and reunified Korea in the future will have new forms of poverty and alienation which the Church has to be prepared to face" , stressed Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Choi at their meeting.
• Major Superiors of Religious Women in Korea heard the heartbreaking testimony of Kim Soon-nam as she recounted her life as a sex slave of Japanese soldiers during World War IT in a dialogue-reception for former comfort women with the theme "Comfort Women, What is the Problem?" Sisters asked Japan to recognize war time crimes and due compensation.
• The Catholic Human Rights Committee of Seoul Archdiocese' s offer of free legal advice is very much appreciated by people. The office, run by six volunteer lawyers, gets over 150 telephone calls and 50 visits in person monthly.
• Number of Catholic women from Seoul area joined a citizens' protest rally, Sep. 15, calling for the end of criminal actS by American soldiers in Korea and revision of the unfair Status of Force Agreement. They demanded the US Forces in Korea to apologize for increasing crimes against Korean people, especially rapes and murders.