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2012 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012
Message for Overseas Aid Sunday 2012
Message for the 2nd Sunday for Life
News from the Church in Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Editor:
2012 Election Year for a Better Future
The global village is aching all over: drastic climate change as a result of global warming; ecosystem disruption; reckless development threatening environment, ecology and life; prevailing starvation and violence; struggles for human rights and democratization; side-effects of neo-capitalism. We can ascertain the root causes of these problems around the world, especially in Africa, South Europe and Asia: incompetent regimes filled with corrupt bureaucracy; tax evasion and illegal manipulations by the top 1% super-rich. On top of that, school violence, including bullying, gives unbearable shock to the world.
In 2012, presidential elections will be held in about thirty countries around the world, including Korea. The elections are expected to have a great impact on international politics. The electoral system is regarded as an institution to promote rational social change in a democratic system. It provides us with a chance to strain out candidates who are apt at deceit, greed, injustice and corruption, and to choose candidates who can endorse justice, fairness, mutual benefit, and peace. It can also help us put an end to policies in violation of human rights and peace, which are carried out under the pretence of public interest, but, in fact, result in citizens bearing sacrifices.
As the global village is going to be swept away by the waves of rapid changes, collective decision making by vote is a very important matter not only for the good of each individual, but also for the promotion of social justice and the common welfare.
In this election year, we will witness both the reappearance of populists who are dictated to by their adherents, recklessly issuing empty promises, and false decisions on the voters' side, blinded by such seductive words. Nevertheless, Koreans are called to make important decisions by vote two times in this year: the general election and the presidential election. Depending on the results, we may make a step forward toward the construction of a just, fair and humane society, or, on the contrary, we may have to face a setback. In such a situation, we must seek wisdom from the Bible: "Choose wise, intelligent, and experienced men from each of your tribes, that I may appoint them as your leaders" (Dt. 1,13).
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
2012 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) held its 2012 Spring General Assembly at the Conference Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) from March 12 to 15, 2012 and decided as follows:
1. The bishops examined "methods to animate foreign mission work" which the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Koreans Living Abroad prepared and presented as the Permanent Council of the CBCK requested in accordance with the proposal of the Conference of Diocesan Vicars General. Then the bishops agreed that the Church in Korea should take a more active approach in missionary activities, remembering the abundant blessings that God has given to her.
The CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Koreans Living Abroad plans to prepare guidelines for sending Korean missionaries abroad and to submit them at the 2012 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK.
2. The bishops heard a report on the ongoing formation of priests from the Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea. The bishops decided unanimously to construct a center for the ongoing formation of priests.
The Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea plans to prepare a national project for a sabbatical year to contribute to the ongoing formation of priests.
3. The bishops approved the drafts of "Memorial Rites for Korean Catholic Families" and "Guidelines for Memorial Services Expressing Filial Reverence for Ancestors to be Used before or after Masses on Seol (Korean Lunar New Year's Day) and on Hangawi (Korean Thanksgiving Day)." They were presented by the Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea and the CBCK Committee for Liturgy, the result of a joint study made at the request of the Permanent Council of the CBCK.
4. The bishops examined and approved the supplemental texts of the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office), translated into Korean and presented by the CBCK Committee for Liturgy. They are the liturgical texts of the Liturgy of the Hours for the celebration of new saints canonized since December 31, 1990.
5. The bishops approved the revised draft of matrimonial document forms, which the CBCK Committee for Canonical Affairs submitted as a reflection of the opinions of diocesan judicial vicars and canonical experts.
6. Concerning the request of the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Koreans Living Abroad to change its name in order to put emphasis on foreign missions, the bishops approved the change of name to the 'CBCK Committee for Foreign Mission Work and Pastoral Care of Overseas Koreans'.
7. The bishops elected the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong and the Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man as delegates to the 10th Plenary Assembly of the FABC which will be held at Hochimin City, Vietnam from November 19 to 25, 2012.
8. The bishops approved the establishment of the 'Catholic Association for the Pastoral Care of Prisoners in Korea' as a national organization.
9. The bishops elected some officers of the episcopal conference:
- Chairman of the Special Episcopal Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization: Most Rev. Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok
- President of the Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea: Most Rev. Simon Ok Hyun-jin
- President of the Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People: Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon
- President of the Committee for "Caritas Coreana" (ex officio Chairperson of Caritas Korea International): Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe
- President of the Pro-Life Activities (Member of the Committee for Bioethics): Most Rev. Linus Lee Seong-hyo
- President of the Committee for Youth Ministry: Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik
10. The bishops reappointed the Rev. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak as Executive Secretary of the CBCK and Secretary General of the CCK.
11. The bishops listened to a report on the results of the second preparatory meeting (Diocesan Office of Daejeon, March 3-4, 2012) for the 6th Asian Youth Day and the 3rd Korean Youth Day.
12. The 18th Korean-Japanese Bishops' Exchange Meeting will be held in Gyeongju City, Archdiocese of Daegu, from November 13 to 15, 2012, with the theme "post-nuclear society."
Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012
We will all be changed
by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ
(cf. 1Cor 15,51-58)
Dear brothers and sisters,
On the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches offered a new orientation for fraternal unity of the divided Christians, by inviting them to contemplate together the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ. This is to confess the same faith in Jesus Christ who proclaimed the ultimate divine victory over evil, violence, suffering and even death.
Today our society is longing for coexistence, solidarity, co-prosperity and reconciliation. We, as Christians who are to proclaim the true peace and salvation achieved by the sacrifice of Christ in the world, should be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, witnessing Jesus Christ who came as Light into this dark world. However, while serving Jesus Christ our Lord, Christian communities today are divided 'as though Christ Himself were divided' (cf. 1Cor 1,13). Such division openly damages the holy cause of preaching the Gospel (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, n.1). Sadly, it is so shameful to see the division of Christians even in our country. Although all the Christians confess the same faith in Christ, the wall of misunderstanding and prejudice among them is still high.
However, when all Christians together serve Jesus Christ, each using his or her own various gifts for humankind, the way to true Christian unity will be open. When we live with a greater trust and confidence in God's promises and pray together to our Lord, the Holy Spirit unites us to one another. Following Christ, the Suffering Servant, Christians are called to solidarity with all who suffer. The closer we come to Christ and to one another following the way of the Cross and sharing ties with the suffering, the deeper our unity grows. The way to recognize that we are united in one faith and Gospel will be open when we become assured that we are called by the one and only God, overcoming our prejudice and misunderstanding.
This year 2012 is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Pope Benedict XVI declared a "Year of Faith", which will begin on 11 October, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II, and conclude on 24 November 2013, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King. He hopes that this year will be a special time in which we, as Christians, can unify faith and life. The Vatican Council II tried to find the true peace and unity that Christ gave us in families and schools, in society and the Church, beyond secularization, selfish desires and ideological divisions. The Church is continuously called to renew and reform herself, to live in the world interpreting the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel. The Catholic Church, recalling the painful moments in history when the Protestants were separated from her, has sought a way to reconcile and unify with them in fraternal love. The Catholic Church in Korea, having experienced conflict and division in relationships with Protestants, feels more than ever an urgent need of solidarity for reconciliation and common good to build up true unity and peace in this country.
St. Paul encourages us: "Conquer evil with good" (Rm 12,21). Facing the reality of Christians divided for various reasons, we should proclaim with one voice the Gospel of Christ and His definitive victory over the fears of death widespread on the earth. As with the birth of Christ we proclaim the mystery of Emmanuel, which means "God is with us" (Mt 1,23), so with the resurrection of Christ we proclaim the hope for eternal life beyond death which is the most powerful enemy of mankind.
Today when the fears of death cast a shadow on life, we Christians have to unite as one, confessing Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World. Indeed, the visible unity between Catholics and Protestants still seems to be in a very distant future. However, the Holy Spirit invites us to true conversion and transformation by sharing our gifts not by competing among us.
It is love that can liberate us from fear and unite us in one. The victory of Christ is the victory of love overcoming death and sin. Let us go forward in the faith which unites us with love beyond the wall of fear and mistrust, through the joy of Christ's victory. This faith will make our heart open to the power of the Holy Spirit and lead us to share with each other friendship and cooperation in communion with Christ.
+ Hyginus Kim Hee-joong
Archbishop of Gwangju
CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity &
Message for Overseas Aid Sunday 2012
Let's extend our love!
Dear brothers and sisters in God's love,
This year the Catholic Church in Korea is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Overseas Aid Sunday which began in 1993 to promote love for our neighbours in dire need, as well as to repay the foreign Churches for their help to us after the Korean War. I would like to express my sincere thanks to those who for the last twenty years have shown in practice their generous love for neighbours regardless of nationality, race, religion and ideology.
1. The facts on world poverty
More than 1 billion people in the world are living in absolute poverty with less than one US dollar a day. 1 out of 7 people is starving to death everyday. On top of that, about 10.9 million children are dying from poverty. Such poverty and the resulting death are especially frequent among vulnerable people like children under five years of age, pregnant women, and the elderly. They live mostly in South Asia and Africa.
When we commit crimes of depletion of natural resource, environmental destruction, extermination of plants and animals, and environmental contamination, nature strikes back in the form of disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, great floods and typhoons which all affect our life at first hand.
2. Food crisis in East Africa
People in the area near the Horn of Africa are now suffering from a very severe food crisis because of the most serious draught in 60 years. As a result, there are over 13.3 million people including 850,000 refugees crossing border lines who desperately need food aid in the areas of Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti.
The United Nations declared that this area was in a famine situation as of July 20, 2011, as the malnutrition rate is hovering over 30% because of the shortage of food and water.
3. Causes of the food crisis
People often say that climate change causes food shortage, while population explosion causes starvation. However, world food production has doubled over the last 40 years, which is faster than the population growth rate. Therefore, we have to see that starvation is not a result of food shortage but a result of the unjust distribution of food. In the end, the current food shortage is a matter of distribution, i.e. a matter of justice. The proper way of distribution is severely damaged. Some use food as a weapon. They do not want to recognize food as a matter of distribution; instead they regard it as a means of monopoly.
4. For a world where neither surplus nor shortage prevails
In his Angelus message of July 17, 2011 as well as in his General Audience address of October 5, 2011, H.H. Benedict XVI asked all of us "to offer prayers and concrete help for the great number of our brothers and sisters [in Africa] who are so harshly tried, particularly the children who are dying every day in that region from disease and the lack of water and food." Accordingly, all Catholic charity organizations throughout the whole world are presenting emergency aid plans for food aid and medical support as well as many projects for water resource development, agricultural development, and technological advancement, urging all people to participate with their plans and projects.
Caritas Korea International has already spent 400,000 USD to support the recovery from famine in Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia in East Africa and it still collects special contributions and donations with an on-line campaign for them.
Dear brothers and sisters in God's love,
What is more tragic than starvation and hunger? Even today, somewhere in the world, some of our hungry neighbours are scavenging a pile of garbage searching for food. Even some small happiness that we are now enjoying may be at the cost of our hungry and starving neighbours' sacrifices. God implanted a mysterious power in our heart to share what we have with others. We have to recognize this mysterious power and take the lead in the practice of love.
The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council urged us "to remember the aphorism of the Fathers, 'Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed him,' and really to share and employ their earthly goods, according to the ability of each, especially by supporting individuals or peoples with the aid by which they may be able to help and develop themselves" (Gaudium et Spes, n.69). We have to remember that the Lord told us "I was hungry and you gave me food, ¡|¡| whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me" (Mt 25,35-40). I earnestly ask you to participate in efforts to extend love, making a 'world of no scarcity' for all our neighbours who wait for our sharing.
I would like to express my deepest appreciation for those who have practiced personally the true meaning of the Overseas Aid Sunday over the last 20 years. They have expressed their concern for our poor neighbours with their generous offerings and contributions or with prayers though they also have faced their own difficulties. I pray that God may reward them all with fruitful blessings in abundance.
January 29, 2012
+ Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok
Bishop of Masan
CBCK Committee for "Caritas Coreana"
Message for the 2nd Sunday for Life
"The So-called 'Morning-after Pill' is Nothing but an Abortant"
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. Today we are celebrating the 2nd Sunday for Life. The CBCK established this day to urge society to restore human dignity and to respectfully protect human life from the moment of conception to natural death.
2. Recently, we have witnessed the widening diffusion of the so-called "morning-after pill." By now, the pill is extensively distributed under the table even though the effect of the pill results in a violent infringement upon life. Youth especially make frequent use of the pill. According to media reports, unmarried women account for 80% of those who take the pill, and 20% of the women are in their teens and 67% are in their twenties.
Many people think that the morning-after pill is just a kind of contraceptive to be taken after their sexual relations. However, a morning-after pill contains a steroid hormone 10 to 30 times greater than any other contraceptive, and thus causes hypermenorrhea or abnormal bleeding, to say nothing of side-effects like nausea, stomachache or headache. Especially, many unmarried women may experience severe side-effects including irregular menstruation or sterility, if they take the pill on a regular basis for the sake of convenience.
To make matters worse, the failure rate of the morning-after pill reaches up to 45% which eventually leads to abortion. The morning-after pill prevents the implantation of the newly conceived human being to the wall of uterus when a woman takes it within 72 hours after a sexual relation. As a result, it causes "preemptive abortion" or "chemical abortion." In this regard, in the year 2000 the Pontifical Academy for Life made it clear that the distribution, prescription and taking of the pill are all immoral acts as sinful as the practice of abortion.
3. In 2001 when the government granted a license for the sale of the pill to all drugstores it said that nobody would be able to buy the morning-after pill without a doctor's prescription. Now more than 10 years after the issuance of the license, however, anybody can buy the pill without a doctor's prescription at most drugstores. According to a recent survey, the morning-after pill is taken more frequently than other contraceptive. On top of that, the Korean Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) and some NGOs have argued recently that the morning-after pill should fall under the category of an over-the-counter drug because it can cut the abortion rate.
Every human being has his or her dignity and thus a human life must be consistently respected and protected from the moment of fertilization to natural death (CBCK Guideline for the Pro-Life Movement, n.10). For the last thirty years the government in promoting a policy to curb overpopulation has played a decided role in the diffusion of contempt for life and the infringement upon the dignity of human life, because it has overlooked and even encouraged the practice of unethical artificial contraception and abortion. As a result, our society is now facing a serious low birth rate. Society in general also witnesses the prevalence of a perverse sex culture, and, furthermore, abortion has become just a common practice resulting in about 1,000 cases of feticide a day.
The government and educational circles should set up proper principles. Most of all, they must counter the arguments for categorizing the morning-after pill as an over-the-counter drug rather than as a prescription drug. They must, instead, fulfill their utmost responsibility and duty to prevent further diffusion of the morning-after pill. Educational circles should devote themselves to education on sex and life for the youth as a way of humanistic education. Youth cannot cultivate a proper personality once they are accustomed to a perverse sexual morality. Moreover, the KPA and pharmaceutical companies must have deep concern for health and sound sexual morals of the youth and not just focus on their profits. In the family the parents themselves should show their children that sex can be a most beautiful thing when it is practiced respecting life in love. They must also teach them that sex, love and life are in a coherent relationship.
Dear brothers and sisters,
4. Artificial contraception is an ethically unjustifiable act and abortion is a mortal sin because it infringes upon human life (cf. Evangelium Vitae, n.57). The morning-after pill is also a kind of contraceptive infringing upon human life (cf. CBCK Guideline for Pro-Life Movement, n.23). Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said that abortion is the most severe violence against the peace of the world. Just as we cannot tolerate visible school violence, so we cannot tolerate the invisible violence of abortion and the morning-after pill. As we have to choose the right way, though it is a long and difficult way, we have to walk together towards respect for life and sound sexual morality, just because it is the right way. True happiness can be attained only through the way of life (cf. Dt 30,19-20)
On the occasion of this Sunday for Life, I hope that everybody takes the initiative in the protection of life as well as in the establishment of a culture of life. I pray that the abundant blessings of God the Father may be with all those who commit themselves to the protection of life.
May 6, 2012
+ Gabriel Chang Bong-hun
Bishop of Cheongju
Committee for Bioethics of the CBCK
● News from the Church in Korea
● Mass for Life
The Pro-Life Activities under the CBCK Committee for Bioethics (President: Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun, Bishop of Cheongju) celebrated Mass for Life at the Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul on February 6, 2012. Bishop Chang presided over the Mass concelebrating with Fr. Casimir Song Yul-sup, Secretary of the Pro-Life Activities, Fr. Joseph Kim Yong-tae, Director of One-Body One-Spirit Movement, and Fr. John Oh Wung-jin, Founder of Kkottongnae of Jesus.
The Catholic Church in Korea has celebrated the Mass for Life since 2005 to manifest her protest against abortion as well as her intention to abolish clause 14 of "Mother and Child Health Law" which de facto permits legal abortion.
● The 17th Catholic Arts Award Ceremony
The CBCK Committee for Culture held the ceremony of the 17th Catholic Arts Awards at the Catholic Center in Seoul on February 17, 2012. Along with the Most Rev. Osvaldo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea, the Most Rev. Joseph Son Sam-seok, President of the CBCK Committee for Culture and Auxiliary Bishop of Busan, Rev. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak, Executive Secretary of the CBCK, and other guests congratulated the awardees, Mr. Hong Soon-mu and Mr. Kim Yoo-sun.
Mr. Hong received the special award this year. He dedicated some outstanding sacred paintings to Inhu Parish in the Diocese of Jeonju. His works are: "Nativity of Christ", "Passion", and "Resurrection" based on the New Testament; "Abraham Sacrificing Isacc for God", "Miracle of the Red Sea", and "Ten Commandments" based on the Old Testament. "The Last Supper", an oil painting is considered as one of the masterpieces of Korean Catholic arts.
Mr. Kim received the Grand Prix. As a sculptor, he has combined organic and geometric forms with his religious piety. His sculptures show his artisan spirit, conforming to the traditional forms with less artificial factors. He dedicated many works to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Namyang, Anseong Parish in the Diocese of Suwon, Hosung Parish in the Diocese of Jeonju.
● The First Regular Meeting in 2012 of the CBCK Sub-Committee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment
The CBCK Sub-committee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, Bishop of Suwon) held its first regular meeting in 2012 at the Catholic Conference of Korea on February 16, 2012. The committee decided to make more efforts to promote proper awareness about the issues related to life including capital punishment.
The members of the committee said that the upcoming general election on April 11, 2012 would be an opportunity to inform people about the teaching of Church on the system of capital punishment. In addition, realizing the effect of concerts to form public sentiment on life, the committee is planning to hold a series of concerts for the abolition of the death penalty as was done last year. Unlike the concerts held just in Seoul last year, the committee will try to hold concerts in other provinces to expand the base for the life movement.
● Urgent Pastoral Care for the Children of Nonregistered Foreign Workers in Korea
The CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea (President: Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Bishop of Daejeon) held a meeting of the diocesan priests for the pastoral care of migrants and foreign residents living in Korea at the Diocesan office of Daejeon on February 16, 2012.
Rev. Mark Kim Pyeong-ahn of the Labor Pastoral Commission of the Archdiocese of Seoul mentioned that the majority of the children of nonregistered foreign laborers in Korea have not been offered proper benefits of education and medical care. Even though their parents have legal problems, the children have rights to be educated. He also pointed out several problems of these children: not to be legally protected, to be confused in their identities, to fall behind in learning and language and to have financial difficulties. In this regard, he added that there should be more care and support for them.
Rev. Andrea Heo Yoon-jin, the Secretary of the Committee, said that the Church should take care of the marginalized who the government do not support. On a humanitarian level, the Church needs to find ways to support the children of the nonregistered migrant workers.
Bishop You said, "Immigrants in Korea have been going through many difficulties, but the government is paying more attention to issues near at hand. The Church takes a role to find out the causes of the problem and to suggest alternatives."
● The 18th Korean-Japanese Youth Exchange Meeting
The 18th Korean-Japanese Youth Exchange Meeting with the theme, "Kizuna (きずな)", meaning 'bond' or 'solidarity', was held at the Archdiocese of Osaka in Japan from Feb. 16 to 21, 2012.
About twenty Korean youths took part in the meeting with Rev. Damian Park Myoung-gee, the Secretary of the CBCK Committee for Youth Ministry, and Rev. Peter Kim Seok-ju, in charge of youth ministry in the Diocese of Cheju.
From the welcoming celebration at Umeda Parish of the Archdiocese of Osaka on Feb. 16, 2012, the participants experienced the daily life of Japanese, staying with Japanese families during the meeting. There were various programs such as a visit, tour, lecture and performance.
Especially, they visited Takatori Parish of Nara that took the initiative in helping restore the damage of the Kobe earthquake-so called the Great Hanshin earthquake. Also, they had a chance to learn the history and culture of Japan, paying a visit to Buddhist temples in Nara and experiencing the life of the Church in Japan.
The Most Rev. Michael Matsuura Goro, Auxiliary Bishop of Osaka, said in his special lecture on Feb. 18, 2012, "From the Kobe earthquake, the tsunami in Sri Lanka to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami last year, people in the midst of great natural disasters were able to realize much stronger bonds and solidarity with one another. In full communion with us, I think God hopes to restore the bond among human beings, which is diminishing in our competitive society."
● Statement on School Violence Prevention [KCRP]
The Korean Conference of Religion and Peace (KCRP, President: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju) issued a statement on school violence prevention at its general assembly held at the Korean Christian Center, Seoul, on February 23, 2012. The statement urged all people in religious circles to take the lead in school violence prevention.
The statement said, "The problem of youth violence has already jumped over the school fence and has become a matter for the whole of society to worry about together. The whole of society is now terrified at school violence, such as bullying and juvenile delinquency, driving some students into an extreme decision, i.e. suicide."
It continued, "We as religious people in this country cannot help feeling embarrassed at seeing that schools as privileged places for education have been severly suffering as such. ··· ··· These situations manifest that a tendency to devalue human life prevails throughout our society, due to a lack of human formation to respect all persons and all human life."
In this statement, the seven major religions in Korea gave assurance that they would make efforts to peacefully resolve youth problems and to arouse people's attention to school violence prevention.
● The First Forum for the Reconciliation of the Korean People
The CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People (President: Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe) held a forum entitled "Kim Jong-un Regime, now in North Korea?" at the auditorium of the CCK on March 6, 2012.
The Committee prepared this forum to have a prospect for inter-Korean relations in the post-Kim Jong-il era and to help public understanding of the preparation for reunification.
The forum proceeded under three topics as follows: The power succession process in North Korea, its features and prospects; Kim Jong-un regime and the attitudinal changes of North Koreans; the international relations of the Kim Jong-un regime: concentrated on China.
This forum was a place to help the public to understand the rapidly changing situation on the Korean Peninsula and to cope more effectively with the movements for the reconciliation and unity of the Korean people, aid to the North, etc.
● The Opening of the First Overseas Mission School
The CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Koreans Living Abroad (President: Most Rev. John Baptist Jung Shin-chul) opened the 'Overseas Mission School' jointly with the Korean Missionary Society (KMS) at the center of the KMS on March 7, 2012.
This Overseas Mission School has a great meaning being the first school established by the Catholic Church in Korea to train prospective overseas missionaries and to educate those who are interested in foreign mission, including diocesan priests and religious. The program of four semesters (32 week course) will help potential candidates, especially lay people, to have a better recognition of the importance of foreign mission work and to prepare them well for their vocation.
At the opening Mass for this program, Bishop Jung said, "The foreign mission is to follow faithfully the word of our Lord, 'Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature'." He added, "I hope this Overseas Mission School will play an important role in promoting awareness of the importance of foreign mission work and will encourage a missionary spirit among lay people."
News in Brief
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) introduced a new logo revealing its renewed Conference Identity (CI). After almost one-year of preparation the new logo were presented at the 2011 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK and obtained the approval of the bishops.
The round blue logo in the shape of the Sacred Host symbolizes Jesus who comes to us in the Eucharist as the true light shining on all humanity. The crucifix in the middle of the logo represents God and the ecclesiastical community, and the twelve V-shape patterns arranged into four corners of the crucifix are meant to be the twelve Apostles and their successors, i.e. bishops.
The wordmark in red represents bishops who proclaim the faith and teach truth, love and happiness, as pastors endowed with Christ's authority.
On the whole, the logo shows the teaching of bishops as pastors of the faith community as well as the communion with God who comes to us in the Eucharist. Especially, the letter B in the logo representing the bishops makes use of the taegeuk symbol of the Korean national flag.
Rev. James Shin Seong-keun, Director of Administration of the CCK, said, "Many people said that we needed to build up an integral image of the CBCK to communicate it to the faithful who have not been acquainted with the CBCK itself."
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Min Kŭk-ka Stephen (1788-1840)
Min Kŭk-ka Stephen was a descendant of a noble family. He had a strong and warm personality. He was born to a non-Catholic family, and his mother died when he was quite young. He was baptized with his father and his brothers, and practiced his religion faithfully. He married a Catholic woman, but she died soon after the marriage. He did not want to remarry, but his friends persuaded him to take another Catholic wife. The second wife also died six or seven years later, and his daughter from the second wife died soon after.
After that Stephen made his living by handcopying books. He was very devout and converted non-Catholics by his good example and teaching. Since he was named a catechist, he made greater efforts to teach people and to convert non-Catholics.
Stephen was arrested at the end of the persecution. He was tortured and told to renounce his faith. His body was twisted and pricked with sharp objects. But he used to say: "I can never deny God, even if I am beaten ten thousand times. If you release me, I will not only continue to believe but also to spread the faith." They beat him more severely. He was beaten with a large club 40 times. He spent his days in prison persuading apostates to change their minds and profess their faith again.
Catechist Min Stephen was taken out to the court again and beaten with a club 30 more times. A few days later he was strangled to death in Seoul on January 30, 1840. He was 53 years old.
Hŏ Hyŏb Paul (1796-1840)
Hŏ Hyŏb Paul is a little known martyr among the 103 Martyr Saints. The only thing we know about him is that he was 45 years old when he was martyred. He was a soldier assigned to a training camp, and was an excellent Catholic.
Paul was captured and tortured to deny his religion. His legs were twisted, he was pricked with sharp objects, and was beaten with a club 70 times. But he said he would never renounce God.
A few weeks later, however, Paul denied his religion. But he immediately repented. He went to the judge, and told him that he denied his religion only with his lips not his heart, and he claimed that he was still a Catholic. The prison guards demanded that he drink human feces and urine as a sign of repentance, and Paul did as he was told. Then he was told to bow in front of a crucifix. He prostrated himself to the ground and worshiped the Lord he had once renounced.
Paul was beaten to death in Seoul on January 31 or February 1, 1840, but his name was not recorded in the government report. He was beaten with a club 130 times. When he died, he was 45 years old.