CBCK Newsletter

 CBCK Newsletter

 

From the Editor:


Death Penalty is Murder!

The right of the State to punish criminals and violators of the law is necessary in order to keep public order and justice. Thus the State has criminal jurisdiction for "prevention", "retribution" and "correction", and it is an important role of the State for the common good of human society. However, it does not justify the capital punishment which means killing criminals. Nowadays, many people support abolition of the death penalty not only from a humanitarian viewpoint, but also because of the ambiguity of the theory of the death penalty itself. Preventive effect of the death penalty has not been proven while the theory of retaliation raises question.
  In Korean society, public opinion regarding the death penalty is changing. According to a survey conducted on December 12, 1999, 50 percent of 1,500 respondents supported the abolition of the death penalty while 43 percent said the system has to be maintained. This is a considerable change when we compare it to the similar survey conducted in 1994 in which 70 percent of respondents supported to maintain the death penalty system and 20 percent said it has to be abolished. In these days, anti-death penalty voice is becoming stronger thanks to the great efforts of the Pan-Religion Anti-Death Penalty Campaign, especially, the dynamic activities of the Sub-committee for Abolition of the Death Penalty affiliated with the Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK. A strong wind of public opinion against the death penalty is blowing among Korean people.
   In November, the Sub-committee presented a play based on a real story of a condemned criminal and held an art exhibition for the civilization of life and an open music performances' at the KBS Grand Hall with over 2000 people in the audience. Finally the 2001 Asia Forum for Abolition of the Death Penalty was held on November 10 at the National Assembly Building in Yoido with over 500 participants. Also, 155 lawmakers (out of 271) signed the petition for enactment of abolition of the death penalty.
   "God created humankind in his image"(Gn 1,26-27). This confirms incomparable preciousness of human life and that nobody has the right to take it away. Criminals too are called to salvation, love and forgiveness of God. Thus the death penalty has to be eliminated from our society. St. Irenaeus of Lyon said: "Living man is the glory of God and man's life is the vision of God.”

Fr. Kim Jong-su
Secretary General
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea

 

 

 

 

Bishop's 2001 Autumn General Assm.

Bishops' 2001 Autumn General Assembly Focuses on Promotion of Canonization of Korean Martyrs
and World Peace

   One of the most significant outcomes of the 2001 Autumn General Assembly of the CBCK held in October was the decision to establish the Episcopal Special Commission for Beatification and Canonization of the Korean Martyrs while the Church in Korea celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Sinyu persecution(1801) that caused the death of more than 300 Christians of early Church in Korea including Father James Zhou Mun-mo, the first Chinese missionary, and the exile of over 400 faithful. The Most Rev. Michael Pak will head the new Commission with Bishops of the five dioceses(Seoul, Suwon, Taegu, Cheongju and Chonju) as members. The Commission is expected to play an important role in selecting candidates of beatification and canonization and pursuing required works.
   The Bishops also issued a statement regarding the situation of Afghanistan and expressed deep concern about U.S.A.-led war in Afghanistan and heartfelt condolence over the tragic terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. on September 11 which claimed thousands of precious lives. The Bishops denounced the terrorism by saying that "All kinds of terrorism sacrificing lives of innocent people has to be condemned, and desire to realize one's political intention and ambition at the cost of human lives is a brutal crime against the universal value of humanity." They urged international community leaders to show positive concern for thousands of Afghanistan refugees by reminding them that peace can't be made by violence but through justice and love only.
   The Bishops made Directives on the Sending Abroad and Sojourn of Diocesan Priests and approved the Guidelines for compilation of a Parish History prepared by the Committee for Culture and decided it is to be used by all parishes.
   The Bishops established Norms of the National Committees of the CBCK for 17 National Committees. The aim of these Norms is to facilitate the function of the Committees so that these can contribute to a renewal of the Church in their effective collaboration and to coordinate other national apostolate associations to work in solidarity and harmony.

 

 

 

 

Diocese of Andong Welcome New Bishop

Diocese of Andong Welcomes New Bishop  

   The Diocese of Andong welcomed long-awaited Pastor. The Episcopal Consecration of the Most Rev. John Chrisostom Kwon Hyok-ju and his installation to the third Bishop of Andong took place on December 4 at the Andong Citizens' Hall in the presence of some 2000 participants. H.E. Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan presided over the Mass with the Most Rev. Michael Park, President of the CBCK, the Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Morandini, Apostolic Nuncio, 20 other Bishops of the CBCK and a number of diocesan priests.
   The new Bishop of Andong underlined in his address the role of Christians for peace and reconciliation in the world and pledged to be himself a Pastor of peace who respects life and values little things. "In this epoch of great need of peace of Christ, I will try to be the one who lives up the justice, love and peace I learned from Christ, and do my best to march toward an open Church that shares joy and hope of the poor, especially the farmers who are in critical situation and desperation due to the government's policy of open market for rice and farm products. I selected 'Christus, pax nostra' as my pastoral symbol, for only the peace of Christ can bring about true unity and harmony in this world suffering of hatred, wars and divisions." the new Bishop said.
   The Most Rev. John Chrisostom Kwon Hyok-ju was born in Weol-so, Uiseong-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do in 1957, and ordained to the priesthood in 1983 after graduation from Kwangju Catholic University and served as assistant priest at Hamchang Parish of the diocese of Andong. From 1984 to 1990, he studied dogmatic theology at the Institute Catholique de Paris, France. After returning home, he served as pastoral administrator of the Diocese of Andong. Since 1997, he taught dogmatic theology at Daegu Catholic University and committed himself to the formation of future priests.
   The Diocese of Andong has an area of 10,788 square kilometers and a population of 906,573 of whom 44,359 are Catholics. It has 1 bishop, 64 priests, 31 parishes, 84 secondary stations and 183 religious.(Statistics of the CBCK, 2000)
   The Episcopal See of the Diocese of Andong has been vacant for almost one year since the Most Rev. Ignatius Pak Sok-hi passed away last year.

 

 

 

 

Message for 2001 Biblical Week
Message for 2001 Biblical Week


"Your Word is a Lamp to My Feet" and "Light to My Path"
(Ps. 118[119], 105)

   On the occasion of the 2001 Biblical Week, November 25 to December 2, the Most Rev. John Chang, President of the Biblical Committee of the CBCK, issued a message and invited the faithful "to look together for the right way of how to think and how to behave and where to go in the light of the Word of God, the light to our path as we suffer from political and social unrest, collapse of value systems and of family as well as economic crisis." "As people are physically nourished with daily meals, we should live upon the Word of Lord by daily reading and meditation on the Bible," he said. Following is the full text of the message.
  
   Dear Brothers and Sisters,
   Seeing the abundantly ripened crops and fruits, we realize that this year is already drawing to its end. The empty fields and trees of woods dropping their leaves fall into silence to conceive a new life of hope. Opening the door of the year of 2001, we expected it to be a year of a good start for the new millennium of peace and unity. However, to our great regret, we only had to witness the frightening tragedy that happened in the U.S.A on last September 11 and the subsequent retaliatory attacks against terrorism. It seems that the entire world is dragged into tribulations and hard times of mutual rejection, hatred, hostility, retaliation, fear and fright. In our country, we also suffer from political and social unrest, collapse of value systems and of family as well as economic crisis. In this insecure situation, we believers are called to look together for the right way of how to think and how to behave, and where to go.
   Most of the ordinary people, unknown individuals and families in our society are leading upright lives with sincerity and patience. However, there are also many people of good will including young people who are alienated from society, straying and feeling empty. This is our unfortunate reality. In this troubled times, we should look after ourselves not to be swayed by earthly confusion but stand firm.
   Dear Brothers and Sisters,
   Yes. In these difficult times only the Word of true life can cast lights on our path. So, we should cherish and live out the theme of Biblical Week, the concluding week of this year.
   "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path"(Ps 118[119], 105).
   In fact, as the times become more difficult, we should more actively open ourselves to the guiding Word of the Lord and trust ourselves to our merciful God. Only when we try to live according to the Bible, not according to the 'logic' or 'wisdom' of the 'world', may we find a right direction and obtain strength to overcome tribulations. Then, the Word of the Lord, the source of life, will lead us to tolerance, love, unity and peace, not to hatred and division.
   Dear Brothers and Sisters,
   As people are physically nourished with daily meals, we should live upon the Word of the Lord by daily reading and meditation on the Bible. In the example of St. Peter, let us confess anew our faith in Lord.
   "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life"(Jn 6, 68).
   Lord, help us to believe the Bible as the Word of Life and proclaim it so we can enjoy the peace of the Holy Spirit.

November 25, 2001
Solemnity of Christ the King
+ John Chang
Bishop of Chunchon
President Biblical Committee

 

 

 

 

Message for 2001 Biblical Week
Message for 2001 Biblical Week


"Your Word is a Lamp to My Feet" and "Light to My Path"
(Ps. 118[119], 105)

   On the occasion of the 2001 Biblical Week, November 25 to December 2, the Most Rev. John Chang, President of the Biblical Committee of the CBCK, issued a message and invited the faithful "to look together for the right way of how to think and how to behave and where to go in the light of the Word of God, the light to our path as we suffer from political and social unrest, collapse of value systems and of family as well as economic crisis." "As people are physically nourished with daily meals, we should live upon the Word of Lord by daily reading and meditation on the Bible," he said. Following is the full text of the message.
  
   Dear Brothers and Sisters,
   Seeing the abundantly ripened crops and fruits, we realize that this year is already drawing to its end. The empty fields and trees of woods dropping their leaves fall into silence to conceive a new life of hope. Opening the door of the year of 2001, we expected it to be a year of a good start for the new millennium of peace and unity. However, to our great regret, we only had to witness the frightening tragedy that happened in the U.S.A on last September 11 and the subsequent retaliatory attacks against terrorism. It seems that the entire world is dragged into tribulations and hard times of mutual rejection, hatred, hostility, retaliation, fear and fright. In our country, we also suffer from political and social unrest, collapse of value systems and of family as well as economic crisis. In this insecure situation, we believers are called to look together for the right way of how to think and how to behave, and where to go.
   Most of the ordinary people, unknown individuals and families in our society are leading upright lives with sincerity and patience. However, there are also many people of good will including young people who are alienated from society, straying and feeling empty. This is our unfortunate reality. In this troubled times, we should look after ourselves not to be swayed by earthly confusion but stand firm.
   Dear Brothers and Sisters,
   Yes. In these difficult times only the Word of true life can cast lights on our path. So, we should cherish and live out the theme of Biblical Week, the concluding week of this year.
   "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path"(Ps 118[119], 105).
   In fact, as the times become more difficult, we should more actively open ourselves to the guiding Word of the Lord and trust ourselves to our merciful God. Only when we try to live according to the Bible, not according to the 'logic' or 'wisdom' of the 'world', may we find a right direction and obtain strength to overcome tribulations. Then, the Word of the Lord, the source of life, will lead us to tolerance, love, unity and peace, not to hatred and division.
   Dear Brothers and Sisters,
   As people are physically nourished with daily meals, we should live upon the Word of the Lord by daily reading and meditation on the Bible. In the example of St. Peter, let us confess anew our faith in Lord.
   "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life"(Jn 6, 68).
   Lord, help us to believe the Bible as the Word of Life and proclaim it so we can enjoy the peace of the Holy Spirit.

November 25, 2001
Solemnity of Christ the King
+ John Chang
Bishop of Chunchon
President Biblical Committee

 

 

 

 

"The Death Penalty is Another Murder"

Message on the 20th Human Rights Sunday


The Death Penalty Is Another Murder

   The Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK issued the following message on the 20th Human Rights Sunday, December 9 and reminded the faithful of the sacredness and inviolable human life created in the image of God. The message calls for abolition of the death penalty.

   1
. The Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK has carried out campaign to abolish the death penalty from the 18th Human Rights Sunday in 1999 while it was preparing for the Great Jubilee of the Year of 2000. The objective of the campaign was to protect the human life from the death penalty which violates the sacredness of human life and its dignity and to transform the culture of death into the culture of life.
   On the other hand, there are still many people who think that the death penalty is an inevitable system to cope with heinous crimes and inhuman forms of lives widespread in every part of our society. However, the death penalty can not be a means to solve these problems and must not be justified for any reason.


   2.
The humankind is created by God in His image and likeness(cf. Gen 1,26-27). This fact confirms the incomparable dignity of human being who is created in the image of God. Therefore, it is clear that the origin and purpose of human life belongs to the Creator, not to human itself. This is the reason why human life can not be taken away by human reasons or systems.
   By ceaseless pursuit of moral good, and conversion and repentance for perfection, people experience God's love and find themselves in communion with Him. People are called to the salvation and eternal life in the death and resurrection of Christ, and march toward the future, a gift from God. To protect this very dignity of human person, the death penalty should be abolished by all means.

   3
. Generally speaking, the punishment has four purposes; first, retribution and retaliation for the committed crimes; second, prevention of crimes; third, control of crimes; fourth, correction of criminals. However, it seems that the death penalty does not correspond to these intentions.
   To maintain the need of retribution in obstinate way leads human being to reckless formalism, which ignores the values of human person and human love. We should value tolerance in our lives even though we can not live without the laws. If the State attempts to exert justice for the sake of security in a manner of sternness and retribution, it is destroying the life space for its people. In addition, the death penalty is not helpful for deterring or controlling crimes. Considering the number of execution of death penalty in human history, the crime rate would decrease and crime itself would disappear if the system is suitable to govern a country. In reality, however, the crimes have become more cruel and the crime rate is ever increasing.


   4
. We can not expect the reformatory effect from the execution of criminals. Thus, the death penalty is not a punishment but another kind of murder by the state power, and institutionally committed murder under the name of the law by hiding the nature of revenge in human nature.
   In fact, the purpose of punishment in modern society should lie in the preservation of the future-oriented society, not in retaliation. In other words, we should emphasize the reformatory effect than the punishment itself if the purpose of punishment is to prevent crimes and to remove negative elements from the public life so that people can lead safe and peaceful public life.
   We can often hear from the government that the cultural level and social environment are not mature enough to abolish death penalty and that the State should take into consideration people's sense of law. However, as long as the government recognizes the death penalty as a retaliation, it would not approve abolition of the death penalty because people's sense of law is eventually identical with the sense of revenge of every individual.


   5
. The law should be an expression of reason, not of emotion. Therefore, we should ponder if the fact that the State can kill a person degrades the cultural level and affects more negative influence on the social environment. Since we can not assert that the crime as a human act is definitive or irrevocable, human person should be given opportunity to convert and start a new life as long as he/she is alive. Hence, instead of confronting and revenging against criminals, we should recall that the criminal, although they are far from God, is also a creature who is loved by God and called to return to Him, and that only God has the right to judge the criminal.

   6. We Christians should give criminals the opportunity to start a new life through reconciliation, repentance, forgiveness and love, not by retribution, retaliation and punishment, for they are also our brothers and sisters who have the same dignity of human, gift from God. Therefore, we should create culture of life by rejecting culture of death, by means of the abolition of the death penalty.

December 9, 2001
20th Human Rights Sunday
+ John Choi Yong-su
President Committee for Justice and Peace

 

 

 

 

Context of the Anti-Death Penalty Campaign...

Context of the Anti-Death Penalty Campaign
and the 2001 Asia Forum for Abolition of the Death Penalty and Seoul Declaration

   National campaign to abolish the death penalty was first launched on the 18th Human Rights Sunday, December 5, 1999 by the Committee for Peace & Justice of the CBCK in the spirit of the Great Jubilee planed to be continued to July 9, the Great Jubilee for Prisoners. Since then, in a global trend, the anti-capital punishment campaign was carried out by the Committee and the Pan-Religion Anti-Death Penalty Campaign in solidarity with the national and international human eights organizations through diverse forms of activities including cultural events and performances. The campaign eventually expanded to other Asian countries and developed into Asian campaign which brought the realization of the 2001 Asia Forum for Abolition of the Death penalty held in Seoul.
   On November 10, representatives of nine Asian countries held the2001-Asia Forum for Abolition of the Death Penalty at the Yoido National Assembly Building in Seoul and urged abolition of death penalty in Asia and to stop executing condemned prisoners. The forum was co-sponsored by the Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK, the Pan-religious Anti-Death Penalty Campaign and the Korea Abolishment of Death Penally Association. Some 80 representatives adopted 'Seoul Declaration'. The participant countries were Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
   A group of 155 ruling and opposition lawmakers tendered to the National Assembly a bill designed to invalidate capital punishment on Oct. 29. If passed it would eliminate all death penalty provisions in the criminal and military penal codes, and commute all existing death sentences to life imprisonment. H.E. Cardinal Stephen Kim underlined that capital punishment should be eliminated as soon as possible out of respect for human rights, when he met with seven prisoners on death row at the Seoul Detention Center.
   Human rights activists claim it is time to revise the penal codes to rescind the death penalty, and settle down into a culture of respecting life, so that Korea can emerge as an advanced democratic country in the true sense and stress the importance of rehabilitating criminals as part of social responsibility as, to some extent, society is responsible for their crimes. Abolitionists take issue with the possibility of misjudgments or political misuse. Although there have been no executions since President Kim Dae-jung, who himself was once on death row, took office 1998, there are reportedly 40 people awaiting execution.
   Abolitionists propose life sentences without parole as an alternative to capital punishment, saying that abolishing the death penalty is a global trend by proposing life sentences without parole as an alternative to capital punishment. Civic activists argue that almost half of those executed in Korea were political prisoners charged with rebellion or violations of the draconian National Security Law. According to a tally, a total of 902 people have been executed in Korea since the founding of the country in 1948. The first forum was held in Tokyo in 1993.
   The statement of the 2001 Asia Forum for the Abolition of Death Penalty held in Seoul on November 10 said: "The death penalty is an action contrary to the cultural heritage of symbiosis between nature and human beings. Abolition of the death penalty is not only the concern of one nation, it is a problem to be solved internationally. Abolition of the death penalty is not a topic to debate, it is the goal to be achieved. Asian countries must stop the death penalty system immediately, and strive to build a better continent for all and for human life's civilization. We are all gathered here on the 10th of November 2001 from nine Asian countries together with the activists and civilians who wish for abolition of the death penalty, NGOs, and religious organizations who wish for abolition of the death penalty and we have made following joint resolutions at the 2001 Asia Forum for the Abolition of Death Penalty in Seoul.
   The participants to the 2001 Asia Forum for the Abolition of Death Penalty made the following joint resolutions.
   - All Asian Nations are urged to share information related to condemned criminals and ensure adequate communication with them.
   - All Asian Nations are urged to adopt the joint international abolition of the death penalty clause to national law and stop executing any more death sentenced criminals.
   - We are resolute to closely monitor over Asian countries to adopt the above mentioned clauses with mutual cooperation in solidarity with international organizations, including NGOs.
   - We advise Asian countries to have an alternative to the death penalty, such as life sentence and to take interest in victims of crimes and their families.
- We agree to hold the 2nd Asian Forum for Abolition of the Death Penalty and strive to give mutual cooperation and support.

 

 

 

 

News from the Church in Korea

News from the Church in Korea

Korean and Japanese Bishops Discuss Publishing Supplementary Textbook of History
   The Bishops of Korea and Japan by agreeing that active exchange of the two Churches played an important role to build a new relation of the two countries in mutual understanding and cooperation decided to make a joint study of history and to exchange information on pastoral ministry.
   This agreement came from the 7th Annual Korean-Japanese Bishops? Exchange Meeting held on November 13 to 15 in Hiroshiman, Japan. The bishops also promised to support the current exchange among the youth of the two countries and expand it to the faithful of all ages and status. They heard a lecture from Prof. Satosi Uesugi of Kansai University about the controversial junior history textbook and the relationship between the two countries. They decided to entrust to Rev. John Kim Jong-su, Secretary General of the CBCK, to look for ways to produce supplementary junior history textbooks aimed at promoting mutual understanding of history among the two peoples, in cooperation with Prof. Lee Won-sun, the former Chairman of National Institute of Korean History.
   Those who attended the Exchange Meeting were 12 Korean Bishops including the Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong and the Most Rev. Paul Ri, and Rev. John Kim, Secretary General of the CBCK, and 13 Japanese Bishops including the Most Rev. Nomura Junichi, bishop of Nagoya and the Most Rev. Takeo Okada, Archbishop of Tokyo.


● Korean Catholic Doctors Oppose
Research on Cloning of Human Embryo

   The Catholic Medical Center of Catholic University(CMC) published the Guidelines on the Research on Cloning of Human Embryo and distributed them on November 14 to its eight affiliated hospitals, research institutions and medical colleges. The Guidelines fundamentally oppose to any type of bio-technological study which leads to destruction of human embryos. The CMC expressed concerns over the tendency, which was encouraged by recent decision of the Government to support bio-technology research, to disregard the dignity of human life and destroy human life as shown in the research on cloning of human embryo to extract stem cells and made clear its position to refuse all forms of support for this kind of research.
   More precisely, the Guidelines bans from using surplus embryos resulting from in-vitro fertilization or frozen embryos provided by other research institutes in order to obtain human stem cells, even though the research is for a therapeutic purpose or purportedly to improve the quality of life. It is immoral to produce embryos destined to be exploited as disposable biological material, it states by citing The Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation issued in 1987 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
   Instead, the CMC recommends researchers to sue adult stem cell s obtained from umbilical cord blood or adult somatic cells, which are proved ethically faultless by the Church. The CMC also pointed out that the research to obtain stem cells through in vitro fertilization of human ovum is obviously an immoral act, and clearly stated in the Guidelines that it would not allow an individual professor or a research laboratory to apply for grant for human cloning research, whether to Government or other organizations. The CMC noted that these Guidelines are based on the Stance of the Catholic Church in Korea regarding the Human Cloning issued by the Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Bioethics Committee of the CBCK.


● Bioethics Committee of the CBCK Opened Internet Website

  
Bioethics-related Internet website (Korean) opened to convey the Catholic Church's teachings on this field on October. 18, 2001. The Bioethics Committee of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea opened this website
(http://www.cbck.or.kr/bioethics/) to make known the Church's teachings on problems both traditional and new such as abortion, artificial fertilization, brain death, organ transplantation, euthanasia, and genetic engineering, death penalty etc. On the basis of the documents from the Apostolic See, this site provides rich content on each and every subject which has been controversial in society with regard to Bioethics.


● Korean Women Religious, Buddhists and Civic Groups Urge to Stop the U.S.-Led War in Afghanistan

   On November 12, members of the Korean Catholic Association of Major Superiors of Women Religious held a prayer meeting for peace of the world in various cathedrals across the country including the Myongdong cathedral of the Archdiocese of Seoul and urged in one voice President George Bush to stop U.S.A.-led war in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, over 700 representatives of local civic groups staged peace rally in front of the Defense Ministry urging the Korean government to reject alleged American demand to dispatch troops for the war. "These demands are contrary to public opinion. Thus Korean government must make clear its opposition,” the protesters said in a statement.
   At the Myongdong cathedral, around 800 women religious from different institutes gathered together and prayed for the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11 and all Afghan refugees and victims under the U.S.A.-led war in Afghanistan. An Appeal Letter in the name of 8,000 Korean women religious to U.S. President Bush and his Congress was sent. The Appeal Letter said; "If you want to be President of the U.S.A., stop the war! A true leader serves people and does not control them harshly. Please help and not destroy. Support and not swallow everything up!"
   On October 14, some 400 Buddhists and Christians staged a peace campaign and urged the Korean government to oppose the U.S.-led war. "It is opportune time for the United States to reflect on its past, rather than retaliate. Terrorist attacks of September 11 should be understood as the result of resentments the Unites States has planted through its policies in the Middle East. With the new war, the United States will beget another war for violation provokes another violation." the peace campaigners said.


● Priests Make Weeklong Visit to North Korea

  
A 20-member delegation from the Korea Priests' Association for Justice (KPAJ) made a weeklong visit to North Korea from November 27 at the invitation of Samuel Jang Jae-on, chairman of the North Korean Catholic Association. In Pyongyang, the delegation concelebrated the Eucharist and prayed for national reconciliation and unity with North Korean Catholics at Jangchung church on December 2nd and asked other members in South Korea to celebrate Mass in the same day for the same intention.
   The delegation discussed the provision of further humanitarian aid to the North. The KPAJ provided US$118,000 worth of goods in aid to North Korea in July, and plans to launch a fund raising campaign for North Koreans. The concelebration of Mass of the priests and their encounter with the faithful of Jangchung church were widely aired on major TV channels in South Korea with comments on their activities and positive impact on the reconciliation of Korean people. It is exactly after 12 years of the visit of Father Moon Kyu-hyeon to North Korea, the first visit to North Korea by a Catholic priest since the division of Korea.


● Caritas Coreana Decides to Help Afghan Refugees

   Relief aids of the Church in Korea will reach Afghan refugees in great difficulties and suffering due to the U.S.A.-led war. The annual steering meeting of Committee for "Caritas Coreana" of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea(President: Most Rev. Gabriel Chang, Bishop of Cheongju) held on December 3 decided to send US$50,000 of emergency aid to Afghan war victims and additional aids of US$170,000 to North Korea including special aid of US$47,244 for the anti-hepatitis inoculation of North Korean children through the Diocese of Chunchon and the Eugene Bell Foundation.
   The Committee screened foreign countries that requested for aids and selected Tanzania, India, Swaziland, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Guinea, and the Philippines by allotting US$31,496,06. The Committee approved US$153,543 for domestic activity funds and US$650,393 for foreign activity funds for 2002.

● Korean Government Approved the Sale of 'Morning-After Pill'
   The Korean government has approved the sale of Norlevo, the controversial post-intercourse contraceptive that the Catholic Church in Korea opposed by defining it as early abortive pill. The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) announced on November 7 that It categorized the so-called Morning-After Pill as a specialized medicine, which requires a doctor's prescription and authorizes the sale from November 12. Since May, when the Hyundae Pharmaceutical Co. applied to provide Norlevo to the local market, the Catholic Church in Korea has made clear its opposition and carried out a campaign to prevent its introduction to Korean society.
   The Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry and the Committee for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea said in a joint statement that the "Use of Norlevo violates values that are related to human reproduction and by leading people to disrespect for life and abortion. Use of Norlevo will encourage improper sexual behavior and promote an uncontrolled sexual culture." In this regard the Most Rev. Peter Kang, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Seoul, appealed to the KFDA not to allow the sale of the pill by saying that "The sale of Norlevo, so-called Morning-After Pill, will promote a widespread anti-life culture prevailing among the youth and stimulate pre-marital sexual relation, and also it will destroy the dignity of human life by tolerating the killing of an unborn child."
   "The Church should double her efforts to study and educate the faithful about the seriousness of the impact of the morning-after pill such as uncontrolled and improper sexual behavior of youth and ill effects to the human body," Rev. Paul Lee Chang-young, Executive Secretary of the Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK remarked.

 

 

 

 

News in Brief

News in Brief

   On October 7, thirty-five young catechists were produced by completing required courses at the Academy for Young Catechists named 'Cheon-Ju-Hak-Dang'(School of God) run by the Youth Pastoral Division of Archdiocese of Seoul. Trained as youth catechists and leaders they were assigned to different parishes.

On October 18, the Catholic Academic Awards presented its fifth award to Rev. Paul Tjeng Eui-chae for translating St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae(Vol. I-VI) and Mr. Park Mun-su, a leading researcher of Woori Theology Institute, for his contribution to promote lay theologians. Rev. Tjeng’ work will enrich Korean culture, especially in the fields of theology and philosophy.” Prof. Park Jong-dae, Chairman of the Awarding Committee, commented.

The Coalition for Prompt Enactment of Bioethics Law launched campaign to collect one million signatures from October 30 to push government's slow move. The Coalition is formed by 69 civic groups including the Committee for Justice and Peace of the CBCK and different religion organizations. The Bill deals with the ban on human cloning and gene manipulation, protection of human embryo, laboratory animals' rights to life, ban on immoral patent regarding bio-technology and the establishment of the national committee for life ethics.

Eighty one of so-called white collar workers were baptized at Myongdong Cathedral of Seoul on November 18. These new Catholics are from various work places such as Bank of Korea, Samsung Medical Center, Korea Electric Co. etc. Compared to the 40 neophytes in 1999 the number doubled in 2001.

The Most Rev. Augustine Cheong Myong-jo of Pusan, Korea, the Most Rev. Joseph Atsumi Misue of Hiroshima, Japan and the Most Rev. Xavier Julio Labayen of Infanta, the Phillippines and other priests, religious and lay people met at Namcheon Parish, Pusan, on October 28 to mark the 1st anniversary of the sisterhood peace pact and pledged to work in close solidarity for peace in Asia and the world.

 

 

 

 

The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints
The Lives of the 103 Korean Martyr Saints - 21


Saint You Chin-gil Augustine (1791-1839) - 3

   Due to appeals by You Chin-gil Augustine and his companions, Pope Gregory XVI, on September 9, 1831, established Korea as a Vicariate Apostolate separate from Beijing and appointed Bartholomew Bruguiere of the Paris Foreign Mission Society as its first bishop. This initiative was due to the letter of 1826 which so moved the Pope.
   Bishop Bruguiere, who had been working in Bangkok, Thailand, received news of his appointment as first bishop of Korea sometime after July 25, 1832. Unfortunately, in his efforts to enter Korea, Bishop Bruguiere fell ill in Yodong while traveling towards Korea and died on October 20, 1835. This news soon reached Korea. You Chin-gil Augustine and his companions were much saddened, but determined to keep up their efforts to help other priests to enter the country. Meantime, You Chin-gil Augustine acted like a priest and converted many prominent people and scholars. However he couldn't convert his own wife and daughters although his son followed him in faith. His 13-year old first son, You Tae-ch'ol Peter, became the youngest of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea.
   You Chin-gil Augustine was arrested at home in July of 1839. Many of his relatives begged him to renounce his religion, but he refused to do so. They reminded him of what would happen to his family, position and property, but You Chin-gil Augustine told them that it was more important to save souls than to take care of bodies, although he was sorry to cause trouble for them. The police chief interrogated. "As a government official, how can you adhere to a religion prohibited by the government? Reveal where the Catholics and the books are hidden.”You Chin-gil Augustine did not reveal anything, and so he was severely tortured on five occasions, and his flesh was torn apart.
   The police chief asked You Chin-gil Augustine about Bishop Imbert and two other missionaries. Augustine told him that they came to Korea to teach Korean people about God and to help them save their souls. He said that the missionaries didn't seek their own glory, wealth and pleasure. The police chief questioned who brought them to Korea. You Chin-gil Augustine said that he did. The police chief then brought in Bishop Imbert and questioned them together. The bishop told You Chin-gil Augustine that the government already knew that Fathers Maubant and Chastan were in Korea.
   However, You Chin-gil Augustine refused to reveal the names of the Church leaders in Korea. His legs were twisted and tied with ropes, and were bleeding profusely.
   Police interrogation continued. "This is not the sort of crime a stupid and low class person like you could do on your own. Who among the Catholics masterminded this? Since you have abandoned the beautiful customs and ritual of your country and accepted the treacherous ways of the foreigner, even if you were put to death ten thousand times, would the punishment not be too light? This is a solemn interrogation. So answer carefully without any deceit." They stressed that since Catholic teaching was false, treacherous and anti-social, those who brought foreign priests into the country had committed treason.
   However, You Chin-gil Augustine answered them calmly. "I have already told the investigating officers all that I did. Ten years ago I joined Chong Ha-sang Paul and his group in studying about the Catholic Church. When I reflected on what I learned, I realized that there are various sacraments and procedures in the Church which can be performed only by a priest. Since God is the supreme Lord of heaven and earth, we have to believe in Him and praise Him. The only crime I committed is to deceive the king since this teaching is prohibited in our country. I have already spent three months in jail. Among the Catholics I know, some have suffered the death penalty, some are held in prison and the rest have been scattered like the wind. Since I was born and have lived in the capital how could I know anything about the people in the country? If I have committed any great crime, I'm alone the responsible." The police chief asked again. "How did you come to brake the law of the country and fall into these traitorous acts?" He replied. "how can you compare suffering the death penalty with going to hell after death? Which is the worse?" You Gin-gil Augustine said and did not want to argue with them further. So, he said. "I have nothing to say further. My only sin was to deceive the king."
   After this, You Chin-gil Augustine was tortured on two further occasions. His flesh was torn apart and his bones terribly crushed. But his faith did not waver and received the death sentence.
   On September 22, 1839, You Chin-gil Augustine and Chong Ha-sang Paul were taken outside the Small West Gate in Seoul. On the way to the place of execution You Chin-gil Augustine showed no sign of fear. It was as if he had no interest in the things of the world and was lost in contemplation. With serene faces he was beheaded. You Chin-gil Augustine was beatified on July 5th, 1925 and canonized on May 6th, 1984 at Yoido, Seoul, by Pope John Paul II.

List of Articles
No. Subject Date
43 CBCK Newsletter No.43 (Summer 2003) Aug 27, 2009
42 CBCK Newsletter No.42 (Spring 2003) Aug 27, 2009
41 CBCK Newsletter No.41 (Winter 2002) Aug 27, 2009
40 CBCK Newsletter No.40 (Fall 2002) Aug 27, 2009
39 CBCK Newsletter No.39 (Summer 2002) Aug 27, 2009
38 CBCK Newsletter No.38 (Spring 2002) Aug 27, 2009
» CBCK Newsletter No.37 (Winter 2001) Aug 27, 2009
36 CBCK Newsletter No.36 (Fall 2001) Aug 27, 2009
35 CBCK Newsletter No.35 (Summer 2001) Aug 27, 2009
34 CBCK Newsletter No.34 (Spring 2001) Aug 27, 2009
33 CBCK Newsletter No.33 (Winter 2000) Aug 27, 2009
32 CBCK Newsletter No.32 (Fall 2000) Aug 27, 2009
31 CBCK Newsletter No.31 (Summer 2000) Aug 27, 2009
30 CBCK Newsletter No.30 (Spring 2000) Aug 27, 2009
29 CBCK Newsletter No.29 (Winter 1999) Aug 27, 2009

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