A Seminar on “the Pastoral Care for the Sacramental Life of the Divorced and Remarried” was held by the CBCK Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry and the Committee on Canonical Affairs
The CBCK Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry (President: Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil) and the Committee on Canonical Affairs (President: Most Rev. Paul Hwang Chul-soo) conducted a seminar on “The Pastoral Care for the Sacramental Life of the Divorced and Remarried” on Thursday, May 28, 2015, at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea. The participants noted that it was a big problem that the Church had not averted to the number of divorced and remarried persons.
In the seminar, Sr. Sin Jeong-suk of the Blessed Sacrament Sisters of Charity, one of the speakers, said that there were no official statistics for the number of the divorced and remarried persons among Catholics. The Church calculates the number from the statistics on marriage and the divorced released by Statistics Korea. People suppose that the life of non-Catholics and Catholics cannot be much different. Statistics Korea announced that remarried males amount to 15.2 percent and remarried women amount to 16.8 percent of all marriages in 2013.
Prof. Kim Soon Mi, one of the official commentators, expressed her regret that the Church in Korea does not have her own statistics. The statistics are very useful to analyze the reality and to project for the future. She urged the Catholic Church in Korea to prepare the statistics in order to undertake proper family pastoral care.
Sr. Sin pointed out that even though the divorced and remarried are in a breach of the Catholic teaching, we should not forget the mercy of God. We should invite them to the Church to hear the Word of God and to participate in communion, despite the limits of their activities in Sacramental and Church life.
Fr. Kim Kil-Min of the Diocese of Suwon, another speaker, said, “In reality, there is only one legal way to help the divorced and remarried and that is a declaration of nullity.” He suggested that the Church should make its process simpler out of concern for pastoral care. Fr. Kim also emphasized the need for more educated experts in Canon laws.