The 21th Korean-Japanese Bishops’ Exchange Meeting
The 21th Korea-Japanese Bishops’ Exchange Meeting was held with the theme of “How Have the Catholic Churches in Korea and Japan Lived the Gospel during the 70 Years following World War II? - Evaluation and Examination on Our Past 70 Years Based on Evangelii Gaudium” in the Diocese of Yokohama in Japan from November 10 to 12, 2015.
Along with the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, President of the CBCK and Archbishop of Gwangju and His Eminence Andrew Cardinal Yeom, Archbishop of Seoul and the Most Rev. Peter Takeo Okada, President of the CBCJ and Archbishop of Tokyo, 33 bishops participated in this meeting.
Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, Apostolic Nuncio to Japan, said in his greeting that a Korean-Japanese Bishops’ Exchange Meeting is a great opportunity for both the Catholic Church in Korea and in Japan with the history of severe persecution of Catholics to witness the presence of God to the Korean and Japanese people. He also encouraged the participating bishops to become the servants of the Gospel with the spirit of self-sacrifice for establishing the Church in the midst of the world.
In his lecture on the theme, Rev. Andrea Park Dong-ho, Director of Justice & Peace Committee of Seoul Archdiocese, said, “Internal economies of scale have been achieved. On the other hand, the distortion of distribution in Korea is getting serious. However, politics itself tends to be subordinate to the economy rather than exerting its efforts to put the situation on the right track. He also said that Catholic Church in Korea has to work to live the Gospel, being a poor Church for the poor, which Pope Francis asked the bishops of Korea when he paid his apostolic visit to Korea in 2014.
Rev. Takehiko Oda, from Osaka Archdiocese, specially appointed professor at St. Marianna University School of Medicine, gave his lecture on how the Catholic Church in Japan has lived the Gospel in society. He briefly explained the history of the Catholic Church in Japan, from the persecution period to now. He also said that the Kobe Earthquake of 1995 and the Tōhoku Earthquake of 2011 became a strong impetus for the Catholic Church in Japan to put her efforts to witness life through the Gospel.
Examining the conflict of the local community on the Japanese military facility, bishops listened to the related civic movement. They also visited Mikasa Parish, Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture on November 11, 2015. They listened to the explanation of the protest against the housing plan for the U.S. military in the Ikego forest. On the same day, they celebrated Mass at Yamate Parish with Japanese faithful and Korean faithful living in Japan.
Korean and Japanese bishops decided that the next meeting will be held in 2016 in Korea.