From the Publisher
The Church in Korea Welcomes New Bishops
Message from the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea on the occasion of the 96th World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Message for the 5th Week for Catholic Education
Message for 2010 Day for the Environment
Message for the 16th Day for Life
News from the Church in Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Publisher
Why Should the Catholic Church Be Engaged in Social Problems?
The raison d'être of the Church is to follow Jesus Christ in His salvific work. Through this salvific work God intends to save the whole of humanity. "Jesus came to bring integral salvation, one which embraces the whole person and all mankind, and opens up the wondrous prospect of divine filiation" (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n.1; Cf. Redemptoris Missio, n.11).
God loved this world so much that "He gave His only Son" (Jn 3,16). To introduce and realize this divine love in this world, Christ sent His disciples to the ends of the earth, asking them to 'go and make His disciples of all nations'.
Jesus taught that love is "the synthesis of the entire law" (Cf. Mt 22,36.40). Love "is the principle not only of micro-relationships with friends, with family members or within small groups, but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones)" (Caritas in Veritate, n.2).
To be a member of the Church established by Jesus and to live as a Christian means to stand up to injustice, suffering, sorrow and conflict, not just to promote compassion and peace in this world endowed with God's abundant love. Essentially, being a Christian may mean choosing a hard and difficult life because Christian identity is incessantly challenged, that is to say, Christians are challenged to ask themselves whether their life is on the right track as the disciples of Jesus. To be a Christian also means to be a member of the community of disciples of Jesus. Jesus became close to the most marginalized and forsaken in society and devoted himself to taking care of them with concern and compassion. Following in the footsteps of Jesus, His disciples established a community where they live such a life with one another. Therefore, all those who are baptized in the name of Jesus and become members of the Church should go on and render service to the world with careful concern and compassion.
From the very beginning, the Church has paid close attention to the poor. "As the years went by and the Church spread further afield, the exercise of charity became established as one of her essential activities, along with the administration of the sacraments and the proclamation of the word" (Deus Caritas Est, n.22). As Pope Leo XIII pointed out in his Encyclical on capital and labor, "There is no intermediary more powerful than religion (whereof the Church is the interpreter and guardian) in drawing the rich and the working class together, by reminding each of its duties to the other, and especially of the obligations of justice"(Rerum Novarum, n.19).
Why Should the Church be Engaged even in Environmental Problems?
In the God-given Decalogue, the seventh commandment, 'You shall not steal.' (Ex 20,15; Mt. 19,18), does not merely mean that we should not steal the property of others. The earth and its resources as well as the whole world of nature created by God in the beginning are the gifts which He entrusted to the common stewardship of mankind to be cared for. In this regard, the seventh commandment is an order given to us, clearly revealing that all mankind should take responsibility to respect and protect all creatures (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.2402).
Therefore, the Church cannot "remain indifferent to the prospect of an ecological crisis which is making vast areas of our planet uninhabitable", nor can it be indifferent to the matters of peace, "so often threatened by the spectre of catastrophic wars" or to the "contempt for the fundamental human rights of so many people, especially children" (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n.5).
The Venerable Pope John Paul II deplored our present situation where the natural environment is destroyed due to the misunderstanding of and attachment to 'development' on the part of human beings. "At the root of the senseless destruction of the natural environment lies an anthropological error, which unfortunately is widespread in our day. Man, who discovers his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work, forgets that this is always based on God's prior and original gift of the things that are" (Centesimus Annus, n.37).
Our Holy Father Benedict XVI also expressed his concern about the environmental destruction in his Message for the World Day of Peace this year and said: "The Church has a responsibility towards creation, and she considers it her duty to exercise that responsibility in public life, in order to protect earth, water and air as gifts of God the Creator meant for everyone, and above all to save mankind from the danger of self-destruction" (Message for XLIII World Day of Peace, n.12).
Human civilization was born along the banks of rivers. Rivers are the cradle of all life and the center of the ecosystem. They are like the mother to all living beings. Rivers have not only fed innumerable microorganisms, insects and fishes, to say nothing of grasses and trees, but they have also sustained the life of animals and, last but not least, human beings. Furthermore, rivers have embraced all sorts of filthy waste excreted by those living beings and have even purified them. However, in these days rivers are disappearing as they are contaminated and exhausted by the excessive greed of human beings. Human beings have put an end to the life of rivers by building dams, dredging river bottoms, and stopping waterways. If rivers dry up and stagnate, the food chain of life is broken. And if the food chain is broken, human beings cannot survive. That is why the Church cannot help being deeply concerned about our future, as she now witnesses a large-scale project in and around the four major rivers.
* This is a summary of the written answer to all those who have raised questions about the publicized position of the Catholic Church in Korea on the 'Four Major Rivers Project' being carried forward unilaterally by the government. They have asked why the Catholic Church in Korea should be engaged in social problems. The answer was written by the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju and President of the CBCK.
The Church in Korea Welcomes
New Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Pusan
The Apostolic See announced on June 4, 2010 that the Rev. Joseph Son Sam-seok was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Pusan and Titular Bishop of Fesse?
Born in Pusan in 1955, the newly elected Bishop was ordained a priest in 1982 and has done pastoral ministry in parishes of the Diocese of Pusan. After obtaining his doctoral degree in biblical theology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University, he has given lectures at the Catholic University of Pusan. He served as president from 2001 to 2006 and then took responsibility as the dean of the faculty of theology.
His ordination ceremony was held in Namcheon Cathedral of Pusan on July 9, 2010. There were about 2,000 participants of the ordination ceremony, including the Most Rev. Osvaldo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea, Korean Bishops, priests, religious and lay persons.
The Most Rev. Paul Hwang Cheol-soo, Bishop of Pusan, said in his homily that God granted the newly-elected a gift of love, and Bishop Son would walk through the path of love taking up his cross as Christ did.
Bishop Son said that he would put all his efforts with the Diocesan Bishop for the development of the diocese and the Church in Korea.
New Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Incheon
On April 29, 2010, Rev. John Baptist Jung Shin-chul was appointed as the new Axiliary Bishop of Incheon and Titular Bishop of Cuicul. The bishop-elect was born in Incheon in 1964. After his priestly ordination in 1993, he studied at Catholic University in Paris from 1994 to 2002. Since 2003, he has given lectures in Incheon Catholic University. In addition, he had the responsibilities of diocesan director for vocation.
His ordination ceremony was held in Samsan Gymnasium in Incheon on June 16, 2010.
His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, the Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Kwangju, and the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju and the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, participated in the ceremony with other bishops, priests and the faithful of Incheon. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the diocese, so all the participants in this ceremony prayed for Bishop Jung to lead the diocese as it takes this leap.
Message from the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants
and Foreign Residents Living in Korea
on the occasion of the 96th World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine,
you did for me (Mt. 25,40)
Dear brothers and sisters,
Pope Benedict XVI said that "minor migrants and refugees", this year's theme for the Message of the 96th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, are the least who are most in need of our love. We must consider the 'minor migrants and refugees' as being among 'the least' as the Bible says: "whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me" (Mt. 25,40).
Recently, Korea has become in some measure one of the rich countries. However, like many other countries in modern economic structures, we are facing two crucial problems: Koreans are rapidly aging and the birth rate is drastically decreasing. In this regard, we welcome the increasing number of migrant workers and multicultural families who help tackle these problems which will become worse in the near future. Most of the migrant workers, as we well know, do difficult, dangerous and dirty work, the so-called 3D jobs. There is a need for a fundamental change of attitude towards them. Christians more than ever assume an important role in this matter. It is not a matter of a few people who have an exceptional sense of duty. Particularly, Christians should take the initiative in giving a warm welcome to them in the Church and in all their circumstances.
We sincerely call upon the government authorities that make and execute migration policies. Policies for the migrant workers in Korea are yet to be well developed. According to the agents serving migrant workers and the media reports, crackdowns on illegal aliens are made not only "arbitrarily" but also in inhumane ways with no respect for their basic human rights. We hope, most of all, that an institutional system can be established for migrant workers so that they can make a contribution to the industrial development of Korea, and that conditions shall be made for them to live freely with their families in Korea. We also urge the authorities to enact laws that will guarantee free passage for the migrant workers between their workplaces in Korea and their homelands.
In his social Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI refers to 'migration' as one of the international problems (Cf. n.21). He emphasizes that all countries must safeguard the needs and rights of individual migrants and their families at the international level; migrant workers are not a commodity or a mere workforce, rather they possess fundamental inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance as human persons created in the image of God (Cf. n.62).
On the occasion of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, we pledge ourselves to keep in mind and practice properly the words of the Bible, the social teachings of the Church and the Encyclical Letters of the Holy Fathers. Let us embrace migrant workers, multicultural families, and their children with warm love. It is our mission as Christians to make them feel that our country is their second homeland where we can all live and love each other.
April 25, 2010
Lazzaro You Heung-sik
Bishop of Daejeon
CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants
and Foreign Residents Living in Korea
Message for the 5th Week for Catholic Education
Education, Life & Evangelical Values
Dear brothers and sisters,
This year is significant for Catholic education and educators in Korea, for it marks the 155th anniversary of the foundation of St. Joseph's Seminary in Korea, what can be considered the first modern education institution in Korea. This is also the year when the Second Catholic Educators Convention was held.
The Catholic Educators Convention is a big festival for Korean Catholic educators that takes place every ten years. The first convention was held on the occasion of the Great Jubilee 2000. The first convention had for its theme "With Jesus Who Saves Human Beings and Education" and this year the theme was "Ask Jesus, the Real Teacher, about the Way of Education." At this convention, all Korean Caholic educators renewed their resolution to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the unique Teacher, and they pledged to realize His exemplary ideas, principles and methods of education in their respective activities. In particular, the importance of 'pro-life education' was emphasized. 'Life' has an incomparable and unique place amid all the other values in the world.
The absolute value of life consists in a link with the 'Source of Life'. Jesus said: "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (Jn 10,10). Life given by Jesus is an 'abundant life', the new and eternal life that God the Father called all people to share in communion with Him. Having abundant life means sharing in the divine life. Christians should make every effort to make life abundant, so that all people can enjoy divine life abundantly. Education lays the groundwork for such efforts. A pro-life education is needed more urgently in the present situation where vulnerable and defenseless lives are threatened more than ever and where diverse problems have arisen such as human embryonic stem cell research, abortion, reckless destruction of the environment, violent behavior, and personal attacks in cyberspace.
Nowadays there is an enormous imbalance of power between the culture of life and the culture of death, which coexist in our society. However, for God all things are possible (Mt 19,26). "A great prayer for life" (Evangelium Vitae, n. 100), offered in one accord by all the people throughout the world, is urgently needed to create a culture full of life in our time when the value of life is threatened.
On the occasion of the 5th Week for Catholic Education, I pray that God's blessings may abound in all educators who strive to make the culture of life flourish in their own lives and in the lives of their families, following Jesus, the real Teacher.
+ Boniface Choi Ki-san
Bishop of Inchon
CBCK Committee on Education
Message for 2010 Day for the Environment
Our Responsibility to Be at Peace with Nature
Dear brothers and sisters,
Peace in its essence is attributed to God who, as Scripture says, gave such a precious value to this world: "Yahweh-shalom" (Jdg 6,24). For a long time the Church has been trying to bring peace to human society. Now in accordance with the divine will we need a wider horizon of peace to be together with all of creation. The Church cannot but express her grave concern for the ecological crisis resulting from exploitation which makes it an ethical scandal infringing upon the divine order of creation.
As human beings, we need a fundamental reflection on contemporary culture when we want to promote peace with all of creation. As long as we strive just for the accumulation of capital, giving top priority to economic growth and material prosperity, the ecological crisis will worsen. South Korea ranks 13th in world trade volume but 7th in carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, we must make earnest efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions through various actions: energy saving; efficient use of natural resources; eco-friendly renovation of the industrial structure. It goes without saying that each of us should make active efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our daily life.
In recent years the whole planet has been seriously blighted by environmental disasters. We cannot but feel grave concern about this problem because it is not going to end soon but will continue in different forms and get even worse. The major factor is the structural evil of modern society which cannot properly promote peace with nature as it should.
We also have to pay attention to the ongoing 'Four Major Rivers Project' which could be a menace to peace with nature. We are fully aware of the intention of the government to improve water quality and to make preparation for a water shortage along with flood control. However, the problem is that this project cannot meet these expectations. If they build more than 16 artificial submerged weirs and dredge riverbeds, water quality will deteriorate and harm will be done to many species of fish and birds as well as rare plants in and around the rivers and wetlands. It is evident that the beautiful landscape of nature will also disappear. The contrast between the light, economic profit from development, and the shadow, environmental burden, will result in social injustice. While construction companies and landowners make a profit, some farmers will be hurt because they earn their livelihood by cultivating lands near riversides or artificial submerged weirs.
We wish sincerely that "greed and selfishness - both individual and collective -" will not do further damage to "the order of creation, an order which is characterized by mutual interdependence" (Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, n.8). We need to make a radical reappraisal and change in the Four Major Rivers Project which is being pushed forward hurriedly by the government. If we truly respect life, we must not stop the natural flow of the rivers. The United Nations proclaimed the year 2010 to be the 'International Year of Biodiversity'. When it comes to making peace with all of creation, the most important thing is to maintain biodiversity.
June 5, 2010
+ Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
Bishop of Suwon
CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for the 16th Day for Life
We Oppose the Legalization of Abortion
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea observes the last Sunday of May as the Day for Life. On this occasion the Church considers the dignity and inviolability of human life. The Church is also united in sharing efforts to build a society where all its members respect life, since nothing can be compared to a human life created in the image and likeness of God.
Nowadays more than ever before our society is paying greater attention to the issue of abortion, since some obstetricians and gynecologists manifested their respect for life in October, 2009. Still, however, some circles of feminists with the support of some medical specialists are arguing that having an abortion is a matter of a woman's 'self-determination'. Even some politicians are trying to promote the legalization of abortion.
Every human life should be cherished and loved from the moment of conception. A new life distinct from that of father and mother begins from the time that the ovum is fertilized and this life is the life of a new human being with his own growth (Cf. Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, n.12). An unborn child is as much a human being as any of us who were born and live; each of us was once an embryo and a fetus. So the Catholic Church teaches that abortion and the destruction of an embryo constitute a grave offense, since an embryo or a fetus is to be defended in its integrity as a human being in its most vulnerable phase of life (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 2272.2274).
An abortion amounts to the horrible act of murdering a fetus and it eventually will result in physical and mental problems for women themselves (Cf. Declaration on Procured Abortion, nn 7.19). An abortion cannot be a matter of social consensus, nor can it be an issue of self-determination by a woman. It is clear that all discrimination against women must be eliminated and a social system and awareness must be improved to promote the birth and care of children by women in the most comfortable surroundings possible.
The duty of medical professionals should not fail to take care of a human life and should never infringe upon it. That is their noble duty. Obstetricians and gynecologists have a much nobler duty as they render services to expectant mothers. In accordance with the Oath of Hippocrates that they took at the time of being admitted as a member of the medical profession, medical doctors must also take the initiative for their 'self-cleansing' when they want to respect life and prevent abortion.
Politicians are responsible for the protection of the life of a fetus as well as for the improvement of systems and supports that solve the 'socio-economic' difficulties faced by some women. In this regard, we reiterate our opposition to the article 14 of the Maternal and Child Health Care Act which in reality fosters the practice of abortion.
Jesus came into this world "so that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (Jn 10,10). In his Encyclical Evangelium vitae, the Venerable Pope John Paul II wholeheartedly exhorted priests, religious and lay persons to respect, protect, love and serve all human life (Cf. n.5). Let us all reaffirm our resolution to become guardians of life, cherishing our desire for a society where the right to live, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, is respected as the most basic human right. Catholic politicians and doctors have to take the initiative in establishing a culture of life in accordance with the teachings of the Church.
May the abundant blessings of God be with all those who are dedicating themselves to the protection of life.
May 30, 2010
+ Gabriel Chang Bong-hun
Bishop of Cheongju
CBCK Committee for Bioethics
● News from the Church in Korea
● Forum on the Death Penalty
The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias RI Iong-hoon) and religious and civic groups for human rights studies jointly held a forum on the death penalty on April 26, 2010 at the Seoul Press Center in order to analyze the decision of the Constitutional Court of Korea that ruled in favor of capital punishment and to review the connection between the death penalty and criminal restraint.
Ambassador Juan Leña, Embassy of Spain, Ambassador Hilton Anthony Bennis, Embassy of South Africa, and Political Secretary Richard Cowin, Embassy of Great Britain, participated in this forum among others. The abolition of capital punishment in the countries of the three diplomats attending this forum has been part of a general international trend.
● Official Launching of 'Babo Nanum'
'Babo Nanum', the nationwide foundation for raising funds to promote the sharing spirit of the late Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, was officially launched on April 7, 2010.
One of the permanent members for this foundation said that the fund would be openly managed to keep the noble spirit of the late Cardinal Kim. It will support with voluntary donations from individuals, groups, and businesses the needy and poor inside and outside of Korea regardless of religion, region or class. Especially, it will take the initiative in giving a hand to foreign workers, multicultural families, and the marginalized.
H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Jeong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said that we once again realize through the late Cardinal Kim who himself spread seeds of love and sharing and practiced love all during his life that sharing is not a choice but a duty, He also said this foundation will play a role in making our society humane as the late Cardinal Kim hoped.
● Statement on the Basic Human Rights of the Human Embryo
The Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun, President of the CBCK Committee for Bioethics, expressed grave concern about the latest ruling of the Constitutional Court of Korea denying the basic human rights of embryos. The Constitutional Court said that the articles of the 'Bioethics and Safety Act' allowing 'the use of fertilized human embryos for the treatment of sterility and research of diseases, as well as the destruction of the residual human embryos which have been preserved for more than five years after in vitro fertilization' are not unconstitutional. The Court decided this on the grounds that 'a human embryo not implanted in the uterine wall or in a stage showing no primitive streak (within about two weeks after conception) cannot be regarded as a human being' (Cf. Constitutional Decision No. 2005Heonma346, May 27, 2010)
Bishop Chang mentioned that the dignity of a person is already guaranteed for a human life from the moment of conception, so an embryo destined to be developed into a human being must without a doubt be a human being from the very beginning. He also said that the Catholic Church gives support to the development of biotechnology. However, the Catholic Church teaches that it is entirely undesirable when medical development is related to the destruction of human begins and used for a purpose opposing the integral good of man (Cf. Dignitas personae).
In conclusion, Bishop Chang said he hoped that our society would become a community where all its members truly respect, protect, love, and serve every human life.
● Closing the Year for Priests on June 11, 2010
The Year for Priests started on June 19, 2009 and came to an end on June 11, 2010, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Each diocese in Korea celebrated the closing with a Mass, retreats, sports events along with other special events.
His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said at the Mass that priestly ministry means not ruling people but serving them as a servant of God. He also emphasized that they need to try to do their best to follow God through prayer because they are chosen by God in spite of their weaknesses and flaws.
The Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archdiocesan Administrator of Daegu, said that the faithful respect and are proud of all priests, but they also pay more respect to those devotedly exercising their sacred ministries with a mature and warm personality. Bishop Cho asked the faithful to keep praying for priests to complete their ministerial work with a proper attitude toward their own vocations.
The Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Kwangju, said that it was the last day of the Year for Priests, and it also meant a new year for them. Archbishop Kim emphasized that this special day gave priests a chance to renew their resolution to rely on the help of God with humble prayer and effort until God calls them on their last day.
The priests and faithful of the diocese of Daejeon went on a pilgrimage together on foot, revealing the meaning of the Year for Priests.
● The 24th Meeting of Diocesan Priests for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living
The CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea (President: Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik) held the 24th Meeting of diocesan Priests for the pastoral care of migrants and foreign residents living in Korea at the Daejeon Diocesan Office on June 17, 2010.
Bishop You and fifteen priests responsible attended this meeting.
The priests pointed out that they need to help migrants and foreign residents living in Korea stand on their own feet to be respectable members in Korea. One priest emphasized the importance of working to improve the self-reliance of foreign residents, mentioning that what they learned at a pastoral center has not been very useful in practical life.
● Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2009
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (President: Most. Rev. Peter Kang U-il) published Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2009 on May 24, 2010.
According to the Statistics, as of December 31, 2009, the number of Catholics in Korea was 5,120,092 or 10.1% of the total population. It passed the 10% mark for the first time, with an increase of 115,977 Catholics over the previous year. The total number of Catholics in Korea has consistently increased at a yearly average of 2-3% during the past 10 years. It passed the four million mark in 2000 and the five million mark in 2008 respectively.
Of the 15 dioceses in Korea, the Archdiocese of Seoul was the most populous with 1,406,710 or 27,4% of the total Catholics in Korea. Seoul was followed by the Diocese of Suwon (743,833 or 14.5%), the Archdiocese of Daegu (450,826 or 8.8%), and the Diocese of Incheon (437,621 or 8.5%). The number of the faithful in metropolitan areas, i.e. Seoul, Suwon, Incheon and Uijeongbu, accounted for 55.1% of the Catholics in Korea.
By gender, the number of the male faithful was 2,119,601 and the number of the female faithful was 2,992,774, 41.5% and 58.5% respectively of the total Catholic population of Korea. The gap is getting narrower every year, but it seems that this imbalance will continue for a considerable time.
By age group, 52.3% of the total faithful were in their 30s, 40s and 50s. The number of faithful under 20 years of age accounted for 28.3% and those over 60, 19.2%. The Statistics indicated that the rate of the faithful under 12 has decreased every year except for 2001 and 2007. On the contrary, the rate of middle-aged and elderly faithful has been increasing every year, in proportion to the country`s aging trend. Therefore, it seems that the Church in Korea should prepare measures for pastoral care of the youth and also pay more particular attention to senior adults.
According to the Statistics, the number of newly baptized in 2009 was 156,947, a major increase of 10.9% over the previous year (141,484). By dioceses, there were 33,641 in the Archdiocese of Seoul, 20,625 in the Diocese of Suwon, 11,574 in the Archdiocese of Daegu, and 11,017 in the Diocese of Incheon. By gender, newly baptized men represented 86,188 and women, 71,759. This shows that there is no significant difference between the number of male and female faithful. The number of infants baptized amounted to 25,698, an increase of 7.5 % over the previous year. However, baptism of babies under 1 year old decreased to 2,191, a major decline from 2008, which shows that we need to make much more pastoral efforts to promote infant baptism.
The Statistics also indicated that the number of clergy in Korea in 2009 amounted to 4,404, with 30 bishops including 1 Cardinal. The total number of Korean priests was 4,193 and foreign missionary priests, 181. Among the priests, 3,608 were diocesan priests, 617 were religious and 148 were missionary priests. Priests ordained in 2009 were 149, an increase of 21 over the previous year. Priests aged 20 to 49 accounted for 69% of the diocesan priests.
The number of seminarians was 1,399 including 138 deacons, a slight decrease from the previous year (1,413).
The number of parishes in 2009 was 1,571, an increase of 28 over the previous year, while the number of mission stations was 1,017, a decrease of 20 from the previous year. The number of the faithful per priest was 1,171. By diocese, there were 219 parishes in the Archdiocese of Seoul, 191 in the Diocese of Suwon, 154 in the Archdiocese of Daegu.
With regard to men and women religious, there were 1,555 men religious, including novices, religious in temporary and perpetual vows as well as foreign religious, while there were 10,073 women religious. Both men and women religious showed a small increase over the previous year.
The number who married in the Church amounted to 26,309 in 2009, and of this number 15,500 were marriages between the baptized and the non-baptized, accounting for 58.9% of the matrimonial cases. The number of the faithful who received the Sacrament of Confession and the Sacrament of Baptism in danger of death was 68,055 and 16,895 respectively. The rate for receiving the Sacrament of Confession as part of Easter and Christmas duty was 34.2% (1,107,123) and 39.2% (1,112,410) respectively in 2009. The average rate for Sunday Mass attendance was 25.6% (1,310,118) of the total Catholics in Korea. However, the number of non-practicing Catholics, including those whose whereabouts is known and unknown were 1,413,851 or 27.6% of the total Catholics.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Kim Sŏng-u Anthony (1794-1841)
Kim Sŏng-u Anthony was born in 1794 and lived in Kusan in Kyŏnggi Province. He was honest and generous and known to be rich. According to a witness, Anthony was a man of warm personality and generosity and he was respected even by non-Catholics. His great grandchildren, like their grandfather, were later widely respected in their home village.
Anthony and his relatives heard about the Catholic religion, and they all became believers. Finally his whole village became Catholic.
After his mother died, he moved to Seoul and lived outside the East Gate. His two younger brothers remained in Kusan and both of them were arrested. The older one, Augustine. died in prison in May of 1841 at the age of 43 and the second one suffered in prison for a long time. After his wife died, he remarried another very devout Catholic woman.
After the missionaries came to Korea, Anthony provided a small chapel in his house, where Father Maubant offered Mass quite frequently.
At the end of 1839 a traitor accused Anthony to the government and the whole family was arrested and sent to prison in January of 1840. He was severely tortured. To the police chief, who demanded that he deny his faith, he said that he would die as a Catholic. Even in prison he acted normally, as if he were at home. He didn't express any desire to be released. Even non-Catholic inmates liked him and two pagan inmates were instructed and baptized by him.
By the end of April of 1841 he was interrogated and tortured again. On April 29, 1841, he was strangled to death at the age of 47. He had been in prison for 15 months. His body was brought home and solemnly buried in Kusan, and transferred to the Major Seminary in Yongsan (in Seoul) in 1927. His remains are now preserved in Kusan Martyrs' Shrine.
Yi Yŏng-dŏk Magdalene (1811-1839)
Yi Yŏng-dŏk Magdalene was an elder sister of Yi In-dŏk Mary. Magdalene was born in 1811 to a noble family, but her family was very poor.
She always behaved with dignity, and had a warm personality. She was instructed in the Catholic faith by her grandmother and became a Catholic with her mother, Cho Barbara, and her sister, Yi Mary. Her father was, however, very anti-Catholic.
At the age of 20, her father tried to arrange a marriage for her to a non-Catholic. She refused the marriage by pretending to be sick. Her father was not taken in by her excuse, and treated her cruelly. One day, in order to have her father understand her, she wrote a letter in blood from her finger and gave it to her father. But her father would not yield. At the age of 27, Magdalene asked Bishop Imbert for permission to leave home. But the bishop told her to remain at home. After a few months, however, she could no longer endure, and she escaped to a friendly Catholic home with her mother and sister. The bishop insisted that they should return home. It was very dangerous for them to return to the father. The bishop finally let the catechists decide what to do in the situation. Magdalene was able to stay in Seoul, and led a pious life even in poverty.
Magdalene dedicated herself to virtue, good works and prayer, and waited for the glory of martyrdom.
Magdalene was arrested and put in prison. Her body was twisted. She suffered from hunger, thirst and the dirty environment of the prison. Magdalene saw her mother die of a fever in prison. She was beaten many times but never ceased to profess her faith.
Magdalene was beheaded with six other Catholics outside the Small West Gate on December 29, 1839, at the age of 28.