From the Editor: Christmas Gifts
"A Peaceful Family Is the Foundation of Everything!"
The 8th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences was convened and conducted successfully. Clergy and lay people from various countries in Asia focused intently on the theme of "The Asian Family toward a Culture of Life." Fr. Basil Cho Kyu-man Decisions Made at the 2004 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK Decisions Made at the 2004 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK Bishops in Korea held the 2004 Autumn General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea from October 11 to 14, 2004 and decided as follows. Joint Pastoral Letter for the Family Bishops of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea issued "The Pastoral Letter for the Family" on November 28, 2004, the first Sunday of the Advent, according to the decision made at their 2004 Autumn General Assembly. Composed of 83 paragraphs in three chapters, the 33-page Letter was first planned at the 2004 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK and then inspired by the Eighth Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences held in Korea in August 2004. + Andreas Choi Chang-mou The Faithful of Uijongbu Welcome Their First Bishop The Faithful of Uijongbu Welcome Their First Bishop The Culture of Love and Respect for Human Dignity December 5, 2004 News from the Church in Korea News from the Church in Korea The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea Saint Laurent Marie Joseph Imbert, Bishop Bishop Imbert was born in France on April 15, 1797. He joined the Paris Foreign Mission Society in 1819, and in the following year he left Paris to go to Szechuan in China. Later he was in charge of the seminary there. Saint Jacques Honoré Chastan, Priest (1803-1839) Father Chastan was born in a small village in France on October 7, 1803. His parents were simple farmers. From the time he was a boy, he had a strong desire to go to a remote foreign land to save souls. He entered the seminary, and his desire to save souls became stronger. To those who doubted whether he could bear all the hardships in a foreign land, he used to answer that God would give him courage to bear all the hardships and that a piece of bread and a glass of water would be all he would need in order to survive.
Our ancestors thought of the family as being at the center of everything. This is demonstrated by an old proverb, "Ga-Hwa-Man-Sa-Seong," which means, "When the family is peaceful, all things go well." Sadly, however, it also must be recognized that most of the present social problems begin in, or because of, problems in the family. The Bible also stresses this point: the mutual sin of Adam and Eve (cf. Gen 3:12-17) led to the fratricide of Cain (cf. Gen 4:1-8), and this domestic problem rippled out into social problems; shameful things occurred, such as the misconduct of the sons of heaven to the daughters of man (cf. Gen 6:2) and the confusion at the tower of Babel (cf. Gen 11:1-9), which clearly showed man's disobedience to God.
Present-day trends mirror exactly the unfortunate events in Genesis. Couples suffer from conflicts, such as the inequality of husband and wife, patriarchy and divorce. Problems between spouses lead to other problems with their children, such as school violence, sexual abuse, underage single mothers, drug addiction and excessive competition. Further still, these family-rooted problems expand outwardly to become social problems, such as the buying and selling of illegal drugs, sexual assault, prostitution, human trafficking, the spreading of AIDS, abortion, terrorism, suicide, the arms race and war. As the Holy Father pointed out, they are all the signs of the "culture of death," or the "conspiracy against life."
On the last day of the Plenary, a message was addressed to the people of God in Asia and all people of good will. While rejoicing in the fullness of hope that we see in Asian families, the message also pointed out problems that originate from a neo-liberal culture, materialism and secularism, which threaten the integrity of the family in Asia. As pastors of the Church, the bishops promised to make every effort to find opportunities to promote the good of the family. Also, the bishops particularly expressed love and concern for the Church and families in China and North Korea.
Following the spirit of the Plenary, the bishops in Korea decided to draft a common pastoral letter on the family during the 2004 Fall General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, scheduled to be held from October 11th to 15th. In addition, the Council of the Lay Apostolate in Seoul recently launched the "Movement for a Beautiful Family and a Beautiful World." We hope that this effort will become a stimulus and encouragement for Asian families to faithfully follow the good example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, to restore the positive values inherent in Asian families, and to counter the culture of death by promoting the culture of life.
Finally, I feel that mention should be made of the hard work and dedication of many volunteers which made our meeting successful. Like credits that scroll at the end of a motion picture, we also give credit to them for their efforts behind the scenes. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to them. We also need many cooperators who are willing to work behind the scenes if we are to build a culture of life. I pray for them. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God"(Mt 5:9).
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
2. Until the new Korean translation of the Bible is published in one volume in 2005, the draft of rituals submitted by the CBCK Committee for Liturgy (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, Rite of Confirmation, Rite of Religious Profession, Rite of Anointing of the Sick, and Rite of Christian Funerals) will be in tentative use in dioceses.
3. The bishops confirmed the form of "Agreement on Sending Fidei Donum Priest" in both Korean and English, which was prepared by the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants, and decided to adapt this form to the circumstances of each diocese.
4. The bishops approved the Statutes of the CBCK Committee for the Lay Apostolate.
5. The bishops approved the establishment of the Catholic Health Association of Korea under the wings of the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana" and entrusted affairs related to the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care of the Apostolic See to the CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana."
6. In deference to the will of the Holy Father, the Year of the Eucharist will be observed in each diocese from October 2004 through October 2005.
7. A pastoral letter for the family will be issued on the occasion of the 2004 Advent season in the name of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea.
8. Since the jurisdiction of the Korean Foreign Mission Society was transferred from the Diocese of Suwon to the Archdiocese of Seoul, the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, assumed the role of Moderator of the Society.
9. In accord with a request of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea to present an emblem to symbolize Catholic churches in public information sectors, some choices of emblems were presented and the Bishops chose one that was designed after the emblem of the 44th International Eucharistic Congress.
10. The 2005 Spring General Assembly was rescheduled for March 7-11, 2005.
11. Some changes were made in the Chairmen of the Episcopal Commissions and Presidents of National Committees. Also, the Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants was placed under the wings of the Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs and the Committee for Culture was placed under the Episcopal Commission for Mission and Pastoral Care.
1) Chairmen of the Episcopal Commissions
- Episcopal Commission for Clergy and Religious: Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myong-jo
- Episcopal Commission for Doctrine: Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, unchanged
- Episcopal Commission for Mission and Pastoral Care: Most Rev. James Kim Ji-seok
- Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs: Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il
- Special Episcopal Commission for the Reconciliation of the Korean People: Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi
- Special Episcopal Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization: Most Rev. Michael Pak Jeong-il, unchanged
2) Presidents of the National Committees
- Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry: Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, unchanged
- Committee for Catechesis: Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun
- Committee on Education: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
- Committee for Canonical Affairs: Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, unchanged
- Committee for Promoting Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong
- Committee for Social Communications: Most Rev. Paul Choi Duk-ki
- Committee for Culture: Most Rev. James Kim Ji-seok, unchanged
- Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People: Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, unchanged
- Committee for Evangelization: Most Rev. John Choi Young-soo
- Committee for "Caritas Coreana": Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik
- Biblical Committee: Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyok-ju, unchanged
- Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith: Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok, unchanged
- Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants: Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, unchanged
- Committee for Liturgy: Most Rev. Vincent Ri Pyung-ho, unchanged
- Committee for Justice and Peace: Most Rev. Boniface Choi Ki-san
- Committee for Catholic Terminology: Most Rev. John Chang Yik, unchanged
- Committee for the Lay Apostolate: Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, unchanged
3) Bishops with Special Duties
- Head of Affairs Related to Religious: Most Rev. Joseph Lee Han-taek, S.J., unchanged
- Moderator of the Korean Foreign Mission Society: Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk
- Moderator of the National Catholic Catechetical Institute: Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, unchanged, ex-officio post
- Moderator of the Pontifical Korean College: Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, unchanged
Chapter I, "The Teaching of the Catholic Church on the True Meaning of the Family," deals with the image of the family in the Scriptures, the family as the place of nurturing life, marriage as a sacrament, the education of children as the duty and right of parents, the concept of "domestic church" and its roles, and family spirituality. It also presents the ideal images of the family, such as a community respecting life, a community delivering the faith, a community of dialogue, a community giving living witness to the Gospel, and a community accepting death in a dignified manner.
Chapter II, "Break-up of Families in Korean Society," touches the newly emerging phenomenon regarding the family, that is to say, the changing concept of marriage, problems with the education of children, the reduced role of fathers, the double income family, aging of the population, domestic violence and homosexuality.
Chapter III, "Pastoral Suggestions," makes pastoral suggestions in two categories: first, education in the family, especially sex education and life education by parents and pastors; second, pastoral care by the Church for various forms of families, such as the divorced or remarried couples, single parent families, families composed of grandparents and grandchildren, families afflicted with alcoholics, gambling addicts or domestic violence and elders living alone. It also proposes to form specialized personnel to help families, to set up facilities and institutes for this purpose and to take advantage of the mass media in this field.
The following is the summarized presentation of this Letter by the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju and President of the CBCK.
Since then, ten years have passed and a new millennium has opened. The family is still "the first and the most important path," but we cannot say with conviction that we have paved the way faithfully. Consequently, our families are now being threatened by divorce, abortion and domestic violence. Furthermore, marriage itself is being endangered especially in Western countries where people even demand legal recognition for homosexual unions. If homosexual unions are legalized and homosexual couples are allowed to adopt children, those children would be deprived of the right to be raised by a father and a mother. In fact, marriage is set up by the will of God who provided that a man and a woman unite with love and give birth to and take care of children.
We believe that our future depends on our families. The old saying "Ga-Hwa-Man-Sa-Seung" (When the family is peaceful, everything goes well.) is still in effect. We should build a "civilization of love" based on the close and strong bonds of the family (cf. Gratissimam Sane, n. 13). This love requires great efforts to overcome the selfishness of individuals, couples and the entire society and should be accompanied by "giving" of self for others and other families.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea has not spared efforts to build the culture of life and love, especially through the concentrated efforts of the "Life 31 Movement." It has also hosted the Eighth Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences from August 17 to 23, 2004, which issued a final document titled "The Asian Family: Toward a Culture of Integral Life."
No one can be excepted from the obligation to build beautiful families and a beautiful world. We bishops prepared this Letter with deep concern over the situation in which Korean families are placed, being aware of the importance of the family on which the future of Korea relies. We tried to illuminate the situation in the light of the teaching of the Church and to propose solutions. This effort can bear more fruit when all the people join together. Therefore, we bishops invite all families to make beautiful families and a beautiful world. May God grant abundant grace to all people who contribute to building families full of life and love.
Archbishop of Kwangju
President Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
On October 11, 2004, the Most Rev. Joseph Lee Han-taek took canonical possession of Uijongbu at Uijongbu Stadium with some 8,000 participating, including the Most Rev. Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea, the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul, and the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju and current head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea.
During the installation Mass, Bishop Lee said, "I will focus on realizing the image of church the risen Lord showed to us, that is, the church positively approaching brothers and sisters in need." He also said, "All members of the local church of Uijongbu, including clergy, religious and the laity, are gifts from God and living witnesses that the Lord is always with us." Emphasizing the "communion among the people who encountered the risen Lord," he said, "I hope all of us, as Christians, can build communion among ourselves which binds us together as brothers and sisters in Christ."
In his congratulatory message, His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan expressed his hope for the young diocese, saying, "It is amazing and moving to see in the faces of young priests their joy and the enthusiasm for evangelization. It also clearly shows what the way of God is."
Archbishop Choi said, "I pray that Mary may protect and intercede for the young Diocese of Uijongbu so that it can serve as the stepping stone to the peaceful unification of our nation."
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Church observes Human Rights Sunday on the second Sunday of Advent when we are preparing for the Nativity, the birth of our Savior. It is to console the victims of human rights infringement and to proclaim divine justice while expressing deep concern over the sad reality that the dignity of human beings created in the image of God is trampled upon and the God-given rights are violated.
This year Human Rights Sunday has special significance since the 40th anniversary of the closing of Vatican Council II is coming. The Fathers of the Council declared, "The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ"(Gaudium et spes, n.1). Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of the 48th International Eucharistic Congress held from October 10 to 17, 2004 in the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, proclaimed the Year of the Eucharist and issued the Apostolic Letter Mane Nobiscum Domine. In this Apostolic Letter, the Holy Father said, "The Eucharist is not merely an expression of communion in the Church's life; it is also a project of solidarity for all of humanity"(n.27). He also added, since "the Eucharist gives the impulse to the community for a practical commitment to building a more just and fraternal society, …… a Eucharistic celebration lacking charity expressed by practical sharing with the poor is improper(1Cor 11:17-22, 27-34)"(n.28).
The human person, created in the image of God, is born through an act of love and comes to enjoy personal existence by virtue of God the Creator (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 1700-1709). Nevertheless, we frequently witness that individuals or communities are not granted full recognition of their personal existence. Therefore, we wish to make some points regarding human rights, which can be properly called the criteria of the dignity of human persons.
First, we urge respect and love for objectors. This year, we have seen and still see serious social conflicts and division of public opinions over many political issues, including the presidential impeachment, building a new administrative capital outside Seoul, keeping or discarding the national security law and the revision of private school laws. Reasonable disputes in the pursuit of the common good are necessary but prudence is required in this process for if we do not have respect for others, this can lead to the breakup of social integration and lead to extreme division (cf. Gaudium et spes, n. 28). Therefore, what is urgently required is a concern for the common good and reasoned dialogue based on respect and love for objectors.
Second, we should protect life from every act of violation. Abortion is the killing of a defenseless fetus and the death penalty is the deprivation of life by public power. We should stop doing these things. In this regard, we take this opportunity to express our positive support for the Life 31 Movement, which the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea launched in February 2003, with an appeal to all people to cooperate in denouncing an anti-life culture and in building a culture of life. We appeal to public opinion to substitute the death penalty with a lifetime sentence for grave offenses. We urge the government and legislative body to take actions for the protection of life threatened by abortions and the death penalty.
Third, we need to pay attention to the situations where human rights are infringed upon by the public power, especially extreme cases that lead to death. If we pay even a little attention to this angle of human rights, the situation can be improved.
Fourth, we must pay attention to and be concerned about the poor living in distress and the marginalized, including prostitutes, the homeless, irregular workers, the handicapped and the imprisoned. In addition, we should make efforts to improve the human rights of migrant workers and their families. What we must not forget is that respect for the human rights of these people is the measurement of the maturity of our society.
Finally, we also should pay attention to the human rights situation in North Korea and other Asian countries. As the Council teaches - "The social order and its development must invariably work to the benefit of the human person."(Gaudium et Spes, n. 26) I ask you to practice more actively the love for your neighbor and to participate in the great stream of love which defends human dignity, promotes the common good and enhances human rights.
+ Boniface Choi Ki-san
Bishop of Incheon
President Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK
On the occasion of the 37th Military Mission Sunday on October 3, 2004, the Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon, Bishop of the Military Ordinariate in Korea, issued a message and emphasized that the Church should be the "hope" for the military mission.
Saying that the military service of soldiers is "the service for peace," he urged the Church "to provide decisive pastoral care for soldiers who exist to serve peace," as peace is "an enterprise of justice"(cf. Isa 32:17) and "results from that order actualized by men"(cf. Gaudium et Spes, n. 78).
Thus, Bishop Lee appealed to the faithful "to offer prayer and concern as well as financial support for those who are engaged in military service and in the pastoral care of the soldiers to give them hope even in trials and sufferings."
Citing the low percentage of youth among the total Catholic population, he stressed the need to evangelize the youth, saying, "the military mission can be a key to solve this problem." He also suggested that the Church should concentrate her energy and resources on the military mission with renewed awareness.
Concluding his message, he expressed gratitude for "those who help with the pastoral care of soldiers by prayer and material support and all the soldiers, and military chaplains who accompany them."
○ Message Issued for 2004 Biblical Week
On the occasion of the 2004 Biblical Week from November 21 to 27, the Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyok-ju, Bishop of Andong and President of the Biblical Committee of the CBCK, issued a Message and invited the faithful to "promote peace throughout the world and build a peaceful world" by obeying the Word of God.
In the message titled "To Give Light to Those Who Sit in Darkness and in the Shadow of Death, To Guide Our Feet into the Way of Peace"(Lk 1:79), Bishop Kwon said that, "The tragedy of wars and violence, the deep wounds of distrust and conflict, the crisis of the family undermined by economic difficulties and the negative influence of the new religious movement on the Church, all make us realize that 'peace' is the message necessary for new evangelization in our time."
He also emphasized that, "Peace means not only the absence of wars or violence but the fullness of life, that is, the presence of the Lord," and "peace originates from the conviction of the presence of the life-giving Lord and such conviction, in turn, can firmly take root inside us when it is illumined by the light of the Word of God, especially the Gospel."
"We can proceed to the way of peace guided by the light even in the darkness of death because we share in the life of our Lord and our Lord is peace itself …… We must actively receive peace, the sign of the Lord's presence, in order to advance towards a better world turning from the dark reality we face."
○ Korean-Japanese Bishops to Continue Their Exchange Meeting Based on the Common Awareness on History
From November 16 to 18, 2004, Korean and Japanese Bishops met in Cheju, Korea, for the Korea-Japan Bishops' Exchange Meeting, the tenth since their inception, and agreed to expand this meeting in the coming years.
Eighteen Korean bishops, including His Eminence Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan and the Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, President of the CBCK, and 13 Japanese bishops, including the Most Rev. Augustine Nomura Junichi, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan, and the Most Rev. Peter Okada Takeo, Archbishop of Tokyo, participated in the meeting, making it the biggest meeting ever.
During this meeting, the bishops deepened mutual understanding in history and pastoral ministry in two countries through presentations by Mr. Lee Gyu-bae, a Korean scholar, the Most Rev. Paul Otsuka Yoshinao, Bishop of Kyoto, and the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju. They addressed such themes as: Korean Culture in Japan and the History of Cheju; Pastoral Paths of Common Mission in the Diocese of Kyoto; Evangelization in the Diocese of Cheju. They also visited places of historical or religious interest in Cheju, including the site where Catholics were martyred, a graveyard and other shrines.
During the meeting, the bishops of the two countries agreed that "this exchange meeting, which originally started for a ten-year period, has greatly contributed to improving friendly relations and exchanges of our two countries; therefore, it is deemed desirable to continue and develop this meeting." Thus, they decided to promote this meeting as a place to exchange pastoral information and programs and build solidarity and cooperation between the two countries. Bishops also will look for ways to arrange meetings of chairmen or personnel of related committees from the two episcopal conferences. They also suggested expanding this kind of meeting to priests and lay faithful.
○ Campaign for the Abolition of the Death Penalty Gets Momentum with an Interreligious Effort
Seven religions, including the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church, Buddhism and Won Buddhism, held a congress at the National Assembly building and published a statement on November 22, 2004, to urge the abolition of the death penalty and its replacement with a lifetime sentence. Some 1,000 people, including religious leaders, politicians, students and lay Catholics, participated in the congress.
The Most Rev. Boniface Choi Ki-san, Bishop of Incheon and President of the CBCK Committee for Abolishing Capital Punishment, addressed to the participants, "The master of human life is God and God-given life cannot be dependent on a human decision. Hopefully, the 'death penalty abolition bill' can pass at this 17th session of the National Assembly."
At the congress, the leaders from different religions urged the legislators with one voice to abolish the death penalty or "institutional murder" by the state, to join in the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, and to replace the death penalty with a lifetime sentence.
As a symbolic gesture, the religious leaders cut off ropes used for execution in hanging. Then Sr. Claudia Lee Hae-in, a renowned poet, read her poem addressed to an executed inmate, and the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters of Busan presented a performance with singing.
In the second part, a seminar was arranged by inviting Mr. Renny Cushing, Executive Director of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights in the U.S.A., and Mr. Yasuda Yoshihiro, a well-known human rights lawyer and campaigner against the death penalty in Japan. During the seminar, Mr. Cushing stressed the importance of giving support to the victims and their families and Mr. Yoshihiro made a proposal for the replacement of the death penalty with a lifetime sentence.
○ Public Hearing on the New Translation of the Bible
The CBCK Biblical Committee held a public hearing on the New Translation of the Bible on November 23, 2004 to collect various opinions before it is approved and published next year. Some 100 people participated in the hearing, including the Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyok-ju, President of the Biblical Committee, priests, religious and the laity.
Prof. Sim Jae-gi, a prominent linguist in Korean, expressed his opinion after reading through the New Translation of the Bible, "I could see that this translation tried to be faithful to the original text and to Korean wording as well." But he pointed out that some expressions need further examination or revision.
In fact, a survey conducted from September 16 to November 10 in seminaries, religious institutes and Bible meetings in dioceses showed that more than 80% of the respondents were favorable towards using this Translation as the official Bible in the Catholic Church in Korea. Regarding the change of some book titles in this Translation, 73% were in agreement.
At the hearing some controversial issues emerged, for example, about using "the Lord" instead of "Yahweh" and about the transliteration of some Hebrew proper nouns into Korean.
After integrating various opinions arising from the hearing and the survey, the Biblical Committee will complete its seventeen years of toil next spring and request the episcopal conference to approve the use of the Translation as the official edition of the Bible in the Catholic Church in Korea.
○ Bishop of Andong Makes Public a Special Letter to the Ministry of Farmers
The Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyok-ju, Bishop of Andong, issued a special letter on pastoral ministry to farmers at a diocesan thanksgiving Mass held on November 28, 2004. The message is titled "Let's Share the Joy and the Sorrow of Farmers!"
"I will be more devoted to needy farmers to give them the hope and joy of Jesus," he promised. To this end, he revealed a plan to set up a committee or task force and to appoint a priest in exclusive charge of the ministry to farmers in the diocese.
He also said, "To enliven farming villages and farmers is the way to follow the will of God who is the 'vine grower' and to share the work of Jesus who was devoted to nurturing life."
Prior to the Mass, there was a symposium where researchers, clergy and the laity discussed the situation of the diocese, characterized by large agricultural areas, with a research report published by the Woori Theological Institute.
○ News in Brief
- General Information of the Catholic Church in Korea was published by the Catholic Conference of Korea. The 1764-page book is a collection of comprehensive information of the Catholic Church in Korea from January 1995 to June 2003 as well as an overview of the Holy See and of Catholic churches all over the world.
- The CBCK Committee for Women (President: Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung) published guidelines on domestic violence, titled Family of Life, Community of Peace, for pastors as well as the faithful so that they can grasp the situation of violence in the family and prevent such a tragedy. The booklet proposes measures against domestic violence and ways to support victims.
- The Korean Foreign Mission Society (Superior General: Rev. Augustine Kim Myong-dong) took its first step to Africa since it was established 29 years ago. On November 3, 2004, the Society offered Mass at Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul to send three missionary priests to Mozambique, the sixth country of its missionary place, following Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, China, Russia and Cambodia.
- On the occasion of the 37th Laity Sunday on November 14, 2004, the Lay Apostolate Council of Korea (President: Mr. John Bosco Son Byeong-du, Spiritual Director: Rev. Francis Cheong Wol-gi) distributed to parishes material for a homily entitled Let's Make the Family and Society Beautiful! The Council asked the lay faithful to positively participate in the Beautiful Family, Beautiful World Movement to build a culture of life.
- The CBCK Committee for Social Communications and the Korean Society for Journalism and Communication Studies jointly formed on December 10, 2004 the Society for Religions and Communication, which is composed of some 50 journalism researchers irrespective of their religion. The Rev. Ignatius Kim Min-su (Secretary of the CBCK Committee for Social Communications) was elected as its first President.
He was named the Vicar Apostolic of Korea at the age of 41. In 1837, he was led by Korean Catholics and successfully crossed the Yalu River after many hardships and difficulties. Thirteen days later his entourage arrived at Seoul. He was the fist bishop to set foot in this country, six years after the establishment of the Vicariate Apostolic of Korea and 52 years after the foundation of the Catholic Church in Korea. One can easily imagine how happy the Catholics of that time were.
He met two French priests, Fathers Maubant and Chastan. They worked very hard in a strange and unfamiliar country. The number of the Catholics was about 6,000 when the first French missionary (Father Maubant) started to work in Korea in 1836. By 1839 the number of Catholics had reached 9,000.
Bishop Imbert tried to escape the persecution, and in 1839 hid himself in Suwon with the help of Son Andrew.
The fact that the French missionaries were in the country had become known publicly to almost everyone, because some informers spread the news.
The traitor, Kim Yo-sang, promised the government officials that he would catch the French missionaries if they gave him some policemen. The government officials gave him the police that he requested.
Kim Yo-sang approached a naive Catholic farmer and told him a lie, saying that some learned Catholics in Seoul had persuaded the government officials to accept the Catholic faith. He said that the government officials and even some high ranking ministers had decided to become Catholic. He went further, suggesting that the French missionaries should go to Seoul to convert the government people.
The simple Catholic, deceived by Kim Yo-sang, led the group of men to Son Andrew's home, where Bishop Imbert had been hiding. He arrived ahead of the police and told the bishop what he heard from Kim Yo-sang. The bishop knew that the Catholic had been deceived. He did not run away but decided to give himself up to the police in order to avoid trouble for his people.
On August 10, 1839, the feast of St. Laurence, his patron saint, Bishop Imbert surrendered himself to the police and was led to the Seoul prison. He was interrogated by a Korean official. The official forced him to renounce God, but he strongly refused to do so. Therefore, Bishop Imbert was finally sentenced to death, and was beheaded at Saenamteo on September 21, 1839. He was 43 years old. His body was buried in Samseongsan Mountain, and later transferred to the grotto of Myongdong Cathedral.
When it was decided that he could enter the seminary of the Paris Foreign Mission Society, he was very happy and sent the following letter to one of his friends. "Rejoice with me! My joy is greater than the joy a man might feel who thought he would be imprisoned for a long time, but then is finally freed. Rejoice with me, therefore, and praise the divine providence with all my friends!"
Jacques Chastan was ordained a priest just before Christmas of 1826 and went home to bid farewell to his parents. They knew their son's desire to go to a mission land, but it was a surprise for them to realize that he had to leave so soon. With tears in their eyes, they begged him not to go. Father Chastan knelt before his mother and asked for her blessing, but she strongly refused to bless him, calling him an ungrateful son.
Father Chastan's heart was breaking with sorrow, but his strong will remained steadfast. He tried to convince his parents that it was God's will for him to go to a mission land to save pagan souls. They would not listen to him. Father Chastan had to leave home without a gentle kiss from his mother. He went away knowing that he would probably never return. It was a really sad moment.
Father Chastan came to Korea, and with Father Maubant, who had been in Korea before him, worked hard to save souls. They visited remote Catholic villages deep in the mountains and converted many people. They baptized thousands, heard their confessions, and said Mass for them.
Following the order of Bishop Imbert, Father Chastan gave himself up with Father Maubant. All three missionaries met in prison. They were beheaded at Saenamteo on September 21, 1839. Their bodies were buried in Samseongsan Mountain and later transferred to the grotto of Myongdong Cathedral. Father Chastan was 35 years old when he was martyred.
Fr. Basil Cho Kyu-man
Decisions Made at the 2004 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
Decisions Made at the 2004 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK
Bishops in Korea held the 2004 Autumn General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea from October 11 to 14, 2004 and decided as follows.
Joint Pastoral Letter for the Family
Bishops of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea issued "The Pastoral Letter for the Family" on November 28, 2004, the first Sunday of the Advent, according to the decision made at their 2004 Autumn General Assembly. Composed of 83 paragraphs in three chapters, the 33-page Letter was first planned at the 2004 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK and then inspired by the Eighth Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences held in Korea in August 2004.
+ Andreas Choi Chang-mou
The Faithful of Uijongbu Welcome Their First Bishop
The Faithful of Uijongbu Welcome Their First Bishop
The Culture of Love and Respect for Human Dignity
December 5, 2004
News from the Church in Korea News from the Church in Korea The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea Saint Laurent Marie Joseph Imbert, Bishop Bishop Imbert was born in France on April 15, 1797. He joined the Paris Foreign Mission Society in 1819, and in the following year he left Paris to go to Szechuan in China. Later he was in charge of the seminary there. Saint Jacques Honoré Chastan, Priest (1803-1839) Father Chastan was born in a small village in France on October 7, 1803. His parents were simple farmers. From the time he was a boy, he had a strong desire to go to a remote foreign land to save souls. He entered the seminary, and his desire to save souls became stronger. To those who doubted whether he could bear all the hardships in a foreign land, he used to answer that God would give him courage to bear all the hardships and that a piece of bread and a glass of water would be all he would need in order to survive.
News from the Church in Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Saint Laurent Marie Joseph Imbert, Bishop
Bishop Imbert was born in France on April 15, 1797. He joined the Paris Foreign Mission Society in 1819, and in the following year he left Paris to go to Szechuan in China. Later he was in charge of the seminary there.
Saint Jacques Honoré Chastan, Priest (1803-1839)
Father Chastan was born in a small village in France on October 7, 1803. His parents were simple farmers. From the time he was a boy, he had a strong desire to go to a remote foreign land to save souls. He entered the seminary, and his desire to save souls became stronger. To those who doubted whether he could bear all the hardships in a foreign land, he used to answer that God would give him courage to bear all the hardships and that a piece of bread and a glass of water would be all he would need in order to survive.