- Message from the CBCK Special Episcopal Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization
- The Church in Korea Welcomes
- Reflection and Resolution of the Catholic Church in Korea on the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary of National Division (Summary)
- Message for the 2015 Labour Day (Summary)
- Message for the 10th Week for Catholic Education
- Message for the 2015 Day for the Environment
- News from the Church in Korea
- The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea
From the Editor:
Evangelization of Culture
Kimchi is one of the most important side dishes for Koreans. Though it is sometimes quite difficult for some foreigners to enjoy Kimchi because of its spicy taste and unique odor, it has gained in popularity due to the global trend toward healthy food. Do you know since when Kimchi has become an icon of Korean food? Chinese cabbage, the main ingredient of Kimchi, was first introduced into Korea about 200 or 300 years ago. Red pepper, another main ingredient of Kimchi, was brought into Korea after the 16th century.
A kind of Kimchi was first enjoyed by Koreans as early as in the era of Three Kingdoms of Korea around the 4th century, but it was just a sort of pickled radish in salt water. Though Kimchi, as it is, has a relatively short history, it has stolen on Korean lifestyle.
About 250 years ago the Gospel was first introduced to Korea. Catholicism brought new values and lit up the fire of hope in the hearts of people who were at a loss without any spiritual support during a dismal era.
Following such a tradition, the Catholic Church in Korea has rendered great services to the promotion of social justice and human rights in Korean society. At last, Catholicism has taken deep root in Korean society. Nevertheless, the time has come to reflect on the influence of the Gospel on our contemporaries in Korea. In this regard, we must ask ourselves: what is true evangelization? Evangelization may not simply mean proselytism. It is supposed to be a genuine transformation of individuals and communities as well as their criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life which must all be in conformity with evangelical values (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, nn 18.19).
We must face the reality of Korean society in accordance with the evangelical values, having a good grasp of our social and cultural situation. Especially, we have to give deep thought to Korean culture. A culture needs renewal and modification, as it is complicated in character. Foreign cultures indiscriminately surged forward into Korea. Traditional Korean culture and value are to be purified and renewed in the light of the Gospel.
Our ancestors in faith made successful inculturation of Catholicism, accepting the Gospel, just as they contrived an excellent dish of Kimchi, making it with the imported vegetables. Following the splendid examples of our ancestors, the Catholic Church in Korea should make more efforts for true evangelization so that Korean people can live the evangelical values faithfully as the Gospel takes deeper root in their hearts.
Fr. Thomas Aquinas Kim Joon Chul
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
Message from the CBCK Special Episcopal Commission to Promote Beatification and Canonization
The First Memorial of Blessed "Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 Companions"
In the history of the Catholic Church in Korea, the year of 2014 was one of the most meaningful years. Pope Francis made an apostolic visit to Korea, and during his visit, he presided over the Mass for the Beatification of "Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 Companions" on Gwanghwamun Plaza, in Seoul, on August 16, 2014. He proclaimed May 29 as the Memorial Day of Blessed "Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 Companions." Today we are celebrating the first memorial with joy.
In his homily at the beatification Mass, Pope Francis said, "The victory of the martyrs, their witness to the power of God's love, continues to bear fruit today in Korea, in the Church which received growth from their sacrifice. All of them lived and died for Christ, and now they reign with him in joy and in glory". Thus their faith agreed fully with Christ through their life and death, and our faith is deeply connected with their faith. The way we are looking at the martyrs' faith should lead us to follow and imitate their life.
Like the 124 blessed martyrs, we also should pass on the faith as the most precious treasure we can give to our children. Even though it was a time of serious class discrimination, inequality, and daily poverty, they showed Christian fraternity and special concern for the poor. As Pope Francis teaches us, we should make greater efforts to be reborn as "a Church which is poor and for the poor"(Evangelii Gaudium, n.198).
Before the Thanksgiving Mass of beatification at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome on March 12, 2015, Pope Francis delivered a short address with affection at the meeting of the Korean Community of Rome to recall only two things, the martyrs and the laity. He said that we should not forget the lives of martyrs, which witnessed to sacrifice and perseverance, to maintain our vigilance against settling for material values. He asked us to retain our Church, the Church of the laity, where the laity voluntarily introduced Catholicism. It means that we should continue to follow the example of our ancestors in the faith who studied Catholicism without any help from foreign missionaries and spread the joy of the Gospel.
When some Korean bishops visited the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on March 14, 2015, Angelo Cardinal Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation, especially emphasized that we need to pray for the canonization of the 124 Blessed. He said that if one miracle is witnessed through their intercession, they will be canonized. He assured the bishops that beatification is the stage prior to canonization.
On the occasion of the first Memorial for Blessed Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 Companions, I would like to ask you to pray not only for their canonization but also for the beatification of Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop, "John Baptist Yi Byeok and 132 Companions", "Bishop Francis Borgia Hong Yong-ho and 80 Companions," and "Bonifatius Sauer, Benedictus Kim Chi-ho and 36 Companions."
While cherishing in our hearts the precious heritage of faith we have inherited from our ancestors, we should share our joy with our neighbours here and now and resolve to live as witnesses of the Gospel with their heavenly help.
May 29, 2015
Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok
Bishop of Masan
CBCK Special Episcopal Commission
to Promote Beatification and
The Church in Korea Welcomes
New Auxiliary Bishops in Korea
Pope Francis appointed Fr. Benedictus Son Hee-Song as Titular Bishop of Campli and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Seoul on July 14, 2015.
The bishop-elect was born in Gyeonggi-do Yeoncheon-gun, in 1957, and was ordained a priest in 1986. He studied theology in Innsbruck, Austria, where he obtained a licentiate. He has served as parish priest, lecturer at the Catholic University of Seoul, deputy director of the Commission for reviewing publications; and executive secretary of the National Committee of the Doctrine of Faith of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea. He is director of archdiocesan pastoral ministry, a member of the presbyteral council, a member of the pastoral council, a member of the Commissions for continuing formation of the clergy, for foreign missions, and for the management of day care centres for the elderly of Seoul, a member and deputy director of the Commission for the protection of the holy sites of martyrdom in Seoul, and executive secretary of the CBCK Committee for the Lay Apostolate.
The Holy Father also appointed Fr. John Moon Hee Jong as Titular Bishop of Mutia and Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Suwon, Korea on July 23, 2015.
The bishop-elect was born in Gyeonggi-do, Korea in 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1994. He holds a licentiate in liturgy from the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Suwon, including parish vicar, parish priests and spiritual director of the Catholic University (major seminary). He is diocesan director of the department for evangelization, lecturer at the major seminary and parish priest.
Message from the President of the CBCK (Summary)
Reflection and Resolution of the Catholic Church in Korea
on the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary of National Division
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule and its painful division into North and South Korea. Facing the painful reality of our national division during the last 70-year long history, we recall the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, which also lasted 70 years. Just as the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem, welcoming the new era of blessing after 70 years of exile (cf. 2Chr 36,21), we sincerely hope that we can welcome a new year of peace in 2015 and put an end to a period of 70 years of national division and conflict. Until now, North and South Korea have made incessant efforts to achieve peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula, issuing many statements on reconciliation, nonaggression, and mutual cooperation. However, recent political conflicts between North and South Korea as well as international situations around the Korean Peninsula cast a shadow on our future. The Korean Peninsula is still placed in the extreme situation of the obsolete Cold War. On top of this, ideological conflicts within South Korea seem to have already gone too far, and some abnormal conditions are sickening the society as a whole.
We as Christians cannot but take time for self-reflection, asking ourselves, "How faithfully have we fulfilled our prophetic office in our Sitz im Leben to overcome national division and conflict?" Christ has entrusted us with "the ministry of reconciliation" (2Cor 5,18) through his death on the cross. Therefore, we would forsake our prophetic vocations, if we as Christians were to turn our face away from the distorted situation resulting from the North-South division, on the pretense of false peace and complacency.
During his apostolic visit to Korea, Pope Francis expressed his hope for the rehabilitation of the "fraternity as the foundation and pathway to peace" for North and South Korea. He strongly urged all the Korean faithful to be aware of the "globalization of indifference" as the biggest sin of the world today. The worsening economic polarization and greedy individualism add fuel to indifference toward the reconciliation and peaceful reunification of our nation. We should not forget that we can live our faith as a concrete practice of love, when we help our Northen brethren, who are suffering from many difficulties, with the heart of the Good Samaritan (cf. Jas 2,14).
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of national division, the Catholic Church in Korea would like to make this year the beginning of peace on the Korean Peninsula. With a new resolution, we must start to recover our fraternal love, even though we have not overcome the division owing to the lack of true fraternity and reconciliation. In this way, we must lay the cornerstone of the world peace through the peaceful reunification of Korea which is the last divided nation in this world. We must pray to God, the Lord of peace, that He may solve all the problems, and we can find our hope in the cross of Jesus Christ, even though peace on the Korean Peninsula and its reunification seem to be a farfetched dream because of conflict of interests and political calculations on the side of the superpowers surrounding Korea. Let us first participate in the prayer movement with our hearts open. Let us invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for our hope, reciting the Holy Rosary before daily Mass for the intention of reunification and reconciliation of Korea.
I would like to sincerely ask the support of authorities in North and South Korea. Reconciliation, peaceful coexistence, mutual exchange and cooperation provide us with a shortcut to our reunification in the future, which must be actively practiced not only at government level but also at civil level. Especially, humanitarian cooperation must take precedence over any political ideology or interest. I also would like to ask the government to carry out continuous support for the promotion of mutual exchange and cooperation through religious or civil organizations and movements, so that they can pave the way to true peace. In addition, I would like to ask the authorities of both Koreas to respect the existing agreements and to practice cooperation in order to overcome the division and the aftermath of the Cold War. At the same time, I would like to ask them to seek and practice together ways to arms reduction and a peace settlement, not through force and weapons, but through sincere dialogue. When these authorities can actively work together to make the Korean Peninsula, which is considered as a sign of conflict in Far East Asia, the center of peace, we will walk together towards peace on the Korean Peninsula as well as national reconciliation and unity, overcoming the tensions and conflicts resulting from our national division.
Let us remember that the glory of the risen Lord, who overcame the darkness of death on the cross, comes from faith in the merciful Father on the part of the Son who entrusted Himself completely to God the Father. Let us implore God that the good news of reconciliation and peace may be echoed on the Korean Peninsula, with our eyes fixed on the cross, despite the darkness of our situation. May our Lord bless all who are trying to achieve peace in this land, so that they can be encouraged to live as the tools for true peace.
June 1, 2015
+ Hyginus Kim Hee-joong
Archbishop of Gwangju
President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
Message for the 2015 Labour Day (Summary)
My Father is at work until now, so I am at work (Jn 5,17)
I ardently pray to God for you, especially you workers, young friends, and job seekers. Showing his love towards us through creation, his incarnation, and his resurrection, God calls us into His work of completing creation. May his love and comfort be with all of you.
1. Sacred Value of Work
May is the month of Mary, and the first day of the month is Labour Day and the Feast Day of St. Joseph. Jesus witnessed, "My Father is at work until now" (Jn 5,17), and he did not mind suffering until his death on a cross. "By enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucified for us, a man in a way collaborates with the Son of God for the redemption of humanity" (Laborem Exercens n.27). The Church teaches that the purpose of work is man and that in the process of production, labour is always a primary efficient cause, while capital remains a mere instrument or instrumental cause (cf. Laborem Exercens n.12). She also declares that man's life derives its specific dignity from work (cf. Laborem Exercens n.1).
2. Our Gloomy Situation
In view of the Church's teaching, we see our gloomy situation. The high rate of unemployment makes many young people lose their hope. They have a sincere desire to work and to responsibly contribute themselves to the development of their communities after completing their education and vocational training. An increasing number of young people tend to postpone marriage or even give it up, which causes the birth to decrease. Groaning with the heavy burden of accumulating debts, the young people endure discrimination by non-regular workers who hope to become regular workers. However, the situation is worsening.
The economic policies of the government and the attitudes of companies, which have regarded work not as a cause of production but as an instrument for a long time, have degraded the dignity of work and decreased the opportunities for employment. The distress and anguish of a breadwinner in a family who has lost the opportunity to work, which is a basic for human dignity and family life, cast a shadow on our society. The discrimination of wages and labour conditions between regular and irregular workers damages the essence of work which should accompany human dignity and promote the common good.
3. Toward Solidarity and the Common Good
Many people are facing the crisis of unemployment, a gloomy tragedy, which the Church declares to be a disaster and sin. Unemployment is caused by the reduction of the opportunity for employment and by the mass dismissal of workers. In this situation, the Church calls the whole society into solidarity.
A labour union is an important activity of solidarity to promote the common good. Labour unions have made efforts to do so. They have made a deep commitment to improving the working conditions and realizing the sacred value of labour.
On the other hand, the most important element for promoting solidarity is the efforts of the government and companies, which create jobs, pay a fair wage, and promote the dignity of workers and their families. It can be started by strengthening the technical education for those who are looking for jobs; increasing the number of regular workers; preparing for a legal framework to control the arrogation of an unjust employer; and seeking for a system of job creation for the common good.
Also, solidarity should be shown towards migrant workers working hard far away from their homelands so that they do not suffer from discrimination, violation of human rights, and adverse contracts. When necessary, "it falls back on the State to intervene in the division and distribution of work, and this must be according to the form and measure that the common good properly understood demands"(Mater et Magistra, n.44). The problem of employment and unemployment is a duty of the State to resolve. It cannot be resolved only by the markets led by capital. The government is expected to establish urgent measures for workers in blind spots and to realize an active protection policy and social welfare for the marginalized, disadvantaged and low-income groups in order to give them the light of hope.
4. To the Catholic Business Leaders
Particularly Catholic business leaders, who manage their own companies in the light of virtues of the Gospel and social and ethical principles, should be the light and salt of our time.
Pope Francis pointed out that "inequality is the root of all social ills"(Evangelii Gaudium, n.202). He also encouraged us, "if we truly want to resolve the problems, it is necessary to resolve the root of all ills, which is inequality. To do this there are several essential decisions to be made: to renounce the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and of financial speculation and to act primarily on the structural causes of inequality"(Message, EXPO of IDEAS 2015). At the center of the structure of inequality, there are not only the critical imbalance between labour and capital but also the distorted idea that capital is superior to labour.
Catholic business leaders are called to change structures of inequality, without separating their way of living from managing their own businesses. I ask you, Catholic business leaders, to practice the Word of God, to love one another in your work, and to protect the dignity of every worker and his or her family. God has entrusted the earth to us to guard and cultivate it with our labour. Let us build the Heavenly Kingdom here and now, in the Church, in Church institutions, and in related companies.
5. Challenges and Hopes
The power of hope and love given by our faith in God can encourage us to choose the common good over egoism. The Church will share with you the spiritual wealth more than ever before. We believe that the fruit of faith witnessed by our spiritual richness is the only light for us to overcome contemporary material, moral, and spiritual poverty.
Once again, I would encourage all workers and those looking for jobs, especially the young, with a heart based in solidarity. I pray for you not to lose courage. May the love of the risen Jesus lead us to the common good.
May 1, 2015
+ Lazzaro You Heung-sik
Bishop of Daejeon
CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for the 10th Week for Catholic Education
The Family Is the First School, and Parents Are the Primary Educators
On the occasion of the Week for Catholic Education this year, I would like to emphasize the responsibility of parents and teachers for the proper education of future generations. By proper education we understand helping children to develop into perfect adulthood according to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ (cf. Gravissimum Educationis n.2) so that they may resemble Jesus Christ, who is "the way and the truth and the life"(Jn 14,6).
The family is the first school (cf. Gravissimum Educationis n.3). It is particularly in the Christian family that children learn from their early years Christian values and virtues. "The parents must trustingly and courageously train their children in the essential values of human life" (Familiaris Consortio n.37). They have the most grave duty to take care as best they can of the moral and religious education of their offspring (cf. Code of Canon Law n.1136).
Catholic teachers in Catholic schools and in non-Catholic schools have the important responsibility to complement and support the education given by parents to their children (cf. The Catholic School, n.9). In cooperation with parents, Christian teachers should help children to enjoy their school life and to grow in joy. They also should encourage children to learn the spirituality of service in the love of Christ so that they will be able to contribute themselves as light and salt to the development of society in the future.
There are many families in crisis today. Some geographical reasons such as long distance commutes or school districts have caused many couples, or parents and children, to live apart for a long time. The number of families with single parents, separated, divorced, or remarried parents are increasing. The children are the first who suffer in these families. They do not receive warm concern and care from their parents and have no opportunities to learn about sacrificing and considering others in love. They are immediately put into economic and cultural poverty, and they are quickly exposed to the danger of diseases, violence, and crime. At last, they fall away from the Church and faith, far away from religious and ethical values.
Schools of today have become places to bear responsibilities and burdens, rather than places to share the delight of learning and discovering. The extreme worshipping of money and success in our society has infected schools with excessive competition and individualism. As a result, students lose their confidence and fall into despair, which leads them to lose their interest in school life and learning. Moreover, authority of teachers has declined so that few students want to take the teachers' life as a model to follow with respect. Sad to say, Catholic schools still have not fully realized the educational ideals and mission under the current educational law and system (cf. Preface to the Charter of Catholic Education in Korea).
In consideration of the crisis of family and school education, the Committee on Education of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea would like to ask you to carry out the following things. Christian parents and teachers and the Church are to fulfill their responsibility and mission for integral human development and the maturity of the faith of future generations.
First, the family is the first school and parents are the first educators. Keeping in mind the mission of parents to be the first to foster and educate, parents should show their children more love and concern, thereby leading them in the way of the Christian faith by their example.
Second, Catholic teachers should give good example in their vocation to be spiritual guides for students. Teachers in Catholic schools and in non-Catholic schools should try to foster an atmosphere filled with Christian love, aware that they are spiritual guides and parents for their students.
Third, priests are to take family education as the primary subject of their pastoral ministry. Families should be the pastoral focus and the starting point of new evangelization in dioceses and parishes. Priests should actively support the education of parents, especially in families in need.
I would like to express my appreciation for your work in this time of difficulties, and I send you my heartfelt encouragement. May God bless you abundantly in your ministry.
+ Boniface Choi Ki-san
Bishop of Incheon
CBCK Committee on Education
Message for the 2015 Day for the Environment
Be Protectors of God's Gifts!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I would like to ask you to continuously pray for and concern yourselves about the victims of the earthquake in Nepal that occurred on April 24, 2015. The natural disaster deprived our brothers and sisters in Nepal of their foundations for living and of life itself.
Creation is the gift of God. Nature, His creature makes us realize that the world is in Him and experience His creation. At every moment, all the creatures in the world are showing the glory of God, the Creator. The work of God's creation still goes on even now in the ecology of the earth.
However, the ecology of this planet, which is to reveal the breath, wisdom and goodness of God, is groaning because of the effects of global warming caused by climate change. The ecological orders are being threatened under the pretense of human development. According to the report of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2011, the global warming caused by excessive development of land and air pollution reached an alarming situation. We may no longer be indifferent to climate change, desertification, contamination of underground water, the increase of natural disaster and environmental migrants, which are all caused by indiscriminate development. Calling for global attention, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI gave an address at the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization on April 18, 2008: "the protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate, require all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law, and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet."
The ecological crisis is not only an economic and social crisis but also and ultimately an ethical crisis. This overall crisis calls us to deeply reexamine the current systems which have merely focused on economic feasibility, efficiency, and profits for investors so that we can discover 'the way to live together.' In other words, we must build a society and system respecting God's creation including future generations. Although we should do everything possible to transform structures into those respecting creation, above all things, we should reduce all consumption and develop alternative energy resources including more efficient natural energy. Being aware of the importance of the environment, Germany, England and some other countries in the EU and the United States of America are trying to change the energy structure. They have been developing natural energy, God's gift, such as solar power and wind power energy.
In the meanwhile, the proportion of using natural energy in Korea stands around 2 or 3%, which is the lowest level among the OECD countries. Nevertheless, the government is planning to prolong the operation of aged dangerous nuclear power plants, like Wolseong and Gori. What makes matters worse is that there are no safety measures for the radioactive waste of nuclear power plants. It has well known nationwide that the construction of a power transmission tower was built over the strong protests of local people. The Catholic Church in Korea shouted with the local people that governmental development projects without social consensus are a terrible violence. Today's energy supplying system must be urgently reexamined. It is taking the risk of sacrificing weak people of small towns for supplying power to the people of big cities. It is time that Korea courageously makes a sustainable developing model for promoting true human development and the common good.
Christians should first take the initiative in using natural energy, God's gift. We can utilize alternative energy like solar panels at parishes, Church buildings, hospitals, schools, and kindergartens. Despite the inconvenience, the faithful should try to live an honest, humble, and moderate life. Let us adopt a humble lifestyle by reducing consumption. Let us leave aside the greed for more possessions, more convenience, and more enjoyment. It is the Christian way of living that we accept inconvenience voluntarily to make a healthy and happy community. Environmental friendly behavior concerning our marginalized neighbors and future generations is the first step for the ecological socio-system.
Let us remember that nature is not merely 'background' but a 'gift' from God. We are responsible for caring for and cultivating the gift. Let us take the lead in protecting the gift without having to fear an eco-crisis due to climate change.
Pope Francis said at Mass for the solemn inauguration of the Pontificate on March 19, 2013: "Everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God's gifts!"
June 5, 2015
On the World Environment Day
+ Lazzaro You Heung-sik
Bishop of Daejeon
CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
News from the Church in Korea
● A Seminar on "the Pastoral Care for the Sacramental Life of the Divorced and Remarried"
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 May 28, 2015 at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea.
At 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.
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 listen to 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. He also emphasized the need for more educated experts in Canon laws.
● A Seminar on "Family and Media"
The CBCK Committee for Social Communications (President: Most Rev. Timothy Yu Gyoung Chon) conducted a seminar on "Family and Media" on May 29 at the Myeong-Dong Catholic Center.
At the seminar, Prof. Hahm In-Hee at Ewha Womans University, said that we can often observe family crises in our society. She urged more education, improved awareness, and a change in the community.
She mentioned that parents need to make their children not only realize the importance of life from an early age but also enjoy a happy life that will lead to an increase in the rate of childbirth. She said that the sound role of parents and the solution of the aged can overcome family crises.
Prof. Kim Seong-Hee at Yeoju University gave a presentation on "Communication within the Family." She said that communication between spouses and between parents and children contributed to the intimacy of family, self-esteem, and the level of satisfaction with family life, which can be the source of a sound family life.
Ms. Cheong Seok-Hee, a pop culture commentator, gave a presentation on "The Family Reflected in Soap Operas." Pointing out that today it is hard to find proper adult role models in soap operas on TV, she argued that there should be good examples on TV dramas for the young to realize the importance of the family.
● Academic Seminar on the Occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Evangelium Vitae
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of Evangelium Vitae, the encyclical of Pope Saint John Paul II, the CBCK Committee for Bioethics (President: Most Rev. Matthias RI Iong-hoon) and the Committee for Life of the Archdiocese of Seoul (President: H.E. Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung) held an academic seminar at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea on May 30, 2015 to analyze the current situation in our society.
At the seminar, Fr. Lee Dong-ik, Executive Secretary of the CBCK Committee for Bioethics, gave a lecture on "The Background and Beginnings of the Proclamation of Evangelium Vitae". He said, "the encyclical is the urgent appeal for the people to respect, protect and love individuals and each human life in the name of God." He added that we, who are daily asked to choose between a culture of life and a culture of death, need it very urgently.
Reviewing Evangelium Vitae in the view of bioscience, Prof. Kim Joong Gon at Seoul National University, College of Medicine drew attention to human dignity and the respect of life value as the bioscience. Efficiency and economic feasibility have taken the priority. He also argued that a new nationwide movement for life needs to be developed. Also, he mentioned that it is necessary to respect life and accept it as a gift.
Prof. Kim Dong Gwang at Korea University, School of Electrical Engineering, made a presentation on "Evangelium Vitae and the Technology Society". In his analysis he has found that bioethics has bowed to technology in our neoliberal society. Also, he said that subordinated bioethics cannot control the wrong direction of technology. Therefore, he added that people should pay attention to social structures, destroying life and producing an inequality of knowledge.
Prof. Yoo Hye Sook at Catholic University of Daegu said that the Church, in cooperation with people of good will, should exert all her efforts to improve our society where all humanity will respect all life.
The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea
James Kwon Sang-yeon (1751-1791)
James Kwon Sang-yeon was born in 1751 to a renowned scholarly family in Jinsan, Jeolla-do. He was essentially a man of letters. From the time he learned the Catholic doctrine from Paul Yun Ji-chung, he abandoned all other studies and accepted Catholic teaching and became a Catholic. This was around 1787.
James Kwon devoted himself to studying Catholic teaching and to practicing it. In 1790, Bishop A. Gouvea of Beijing issued a decree prohibiting Catholics from practicing the ancestral rites. He and Paul Yun complied with the order by burning the family ancestral tablet. Also, when his aunt, mother of Paul Yun, died in the summer of the following year, he held the funeral ceremony according to the Catholic rite instead of the Confucian ancestral rite.
At that time he thought, "Worshiping a piece of wood like the ancestral tablet was absurd and of no value. Therefore, I would prefer to choose the punishment of death rather than violate the Church's teaching."
Very soon, a rumor was spread by relatives that James Kwon and Paul Yun did not offer the funeral ancestral rite and that they had burned the ancestral tablet. When the rumor reached the royal court, it was furious. After a while, the royal court ordered the magistrate of Jinsan to 'arrest Yun Ji-chung and Kwon Sang-yeon.'
Upon hearing the news, James Kwon took refuge in Hansan, Chungcheong-do and Paul Yun in Gwangchoen, Chungcheong-do. Then, the magistrate of Jinsan detained Paul Yun's uncle instead of them. When James Kwon and Paul Yun heard this news, they left their hiding places, and surrendered themselves to the Jinsan government office. This was around the middle of October 1791.
At first the magistrate of Jinsan tried to persuade them to renounce their faith. But they said that they could not renounce their faith under any circumstances. They emphatically asserted that the Catholic teaching is the true teaching. The magistrate, on realizing that he could not change their minds, ordered that they be transferred to the Jeonju governor's office.
James Kwon and Paul Yun were interrogated from the day after they arrived in the Jeonju governor's office. The governor tried every means possible to get the names of other Catholics from them, but his effort was in vain. They were determined to defend their faith and did not utter even one word that would do harm to the Church or to other Catholics. They were already prepared to die for God. Their only answer was; "We serve God as our 'Great Father', therefore, we cannot worship Him by disobeying His Commandments."
The governor of Jeonju finally made them write their final statements and submitted them to the royal court. Once again these upset the royal court and tension ran high. The ministers of the royal court claimed that "Yun Ji-chung and Kwon Sang-yeon should be beheaded." The king accepted the opinion of the ministers and finally permitted the execution.
The following is an excerpt from the governor's report to the royal court:
"Though the bodies of Yun Ji-Chung and Kwon Sang-yeon were covered all over with blood, they did not even groan. They refused to renounce their faith in God, saying, 'God's teaching is very strict, so we cannot disobey Him, though we may disobey our parents and the king.' They said that it is a great honor to die for God under the blade of a knife."
As soon as the judicial decision reached the Jeonju governor, James Kwon and Paul Yun were dragged from their prison cell and taken outside the South Gate of Jeonju. James Kwon, though he was completely exhausted, called once in a while on Jesus and Mary.
Arriving at the execution ground, Paul Yun was beheaded first. Then James Kwon was beheaded while he was praying to Jesus and Mary. This was on December 8, 1791 (November 13, by the Lunar calendar). James Kwon was 40 years old.
The families had to wait for nine days to get permission from the governor to release the bodies of Paul Yun and James Kwon for burial. They were surprised to find that both martyrs looked as if they had just been decapitated and the blood stains seemed bright and fresh. The faithful soaked handkerchiefs in the blood of the martyrs and sent some of them to Bishop A. Gouvea in Beijing. Also, some sick people in danger of death were restored to health on touching these handkerchiefs.