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_ Message for the 7th Week for Catholic Education
_ The Church in Korea Welcomes New Archbishop
_ Message for the 2012 Youth Day
_ Message for the 2012 Day for the Environment
_ Message for the 2012 Prayer Day for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People
_ News from the Church in Korea
_ The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
From the Editor:
The Light and Shadow of Television Dramas
The 21st century is often called the 'century of culture'. Culture can be defined, in brief, as the encounter, exchange and communication of people. In this regard, we may say that a television drama is one of the most influential means for the encounter and communication, coexistence and mutual benefit, and harmony and openness of each person as a cultural being.
Korean television dramas were the starting point of the "Hallyu" or "Korean Wave" and they are now spreading all over the world. While the Korean television dramas play an active role in introducing "Korea" and its culture to the whole world, their influence in Korean society is not always positive. Nowadays many television dramas create serious troubles with provocative and obscene themes, such as violence, murder, adultery, and domestic feud, distorting good morals and customs in the midst of fierce competition for a higher rating.
Needless to say, there are some high-quality television dramas as well as many junk soap operas. We can clearly tell the difference between good dramas and bad ones when we discern the alleged values and philosophy of their respective plots which are actually the essential part of the dramas. A high-quality television drama can promote human communication, shedding new light on human life and bringing people joy with humor and satire. It can also help people entertain dreams that bring them comfort, encouragement, and consolation. On the other hand, television dramas can exert a negative influence on our daily language, the trend of the modern generation, and the social sense of values, resulting in unwanted changes for the worse.
As Shakespeare said through the lips of Jaques in act 2, scene 7 of As You Like It, the world is a stage and we are all actors playing an assigned part on the stage of life.
That is why we usually say that the life of those who have overcome ups and downs is just like a drama. We may use this expression only when a drama comes to an end and we interpret the life of a protagonist who had to taste the bitter and the sweet in his or her tough journey, with a universal language. A drama should give not a 'trauma' but a 'dream' to us who have to lead a rough life.
We are living in an age of unpredictable changes with new vocations of re-evangelization and new evangelization. The changes are revolutionary especially in the field of digital communication and media, such as the Social Network Services (like Twitter, Facebook, and Cyworld). We need to pay special attention to the proper way of watching dramas which have been broadcast through such media with no gate-keeping. We also have to be concerned about the production of such dramas and propose pastoral guidance for them.
Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak
Executive Secretary of the CBCK
Message for the 7th Week for Catholic Education (Summary)
New Evangelization and School Education
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In order to enhance the awareness of Catholic education and to prepare concrete plans for its improvement the CBCK decided at its 2006 Spring General Assembly to observe 'the Week for Catholic Education' during the next to last week in May and include Korean Youth Day (the last Sunday in May).
The proper education presented by the Church is to seek the maturing of the human person and, at the same time, to help the faithful to become more aware of the gift of Faith (cf. Gravissimum Educationis, n.2). This education leads the children of the Church to a life in which their faith and daily life are united and makes them follow and imitate Jesus Christ, the eternal truth and life (cf. Jn 14,6) in their own community imbued with the force and wisdom of Faith.
The Second Vatican Council affirmed that all Christians have the right to receive a Christian education and the Church should spare no efforts for the educational rights of the faithful. Especially, the Council stressed the importance of 'school' among the educational institutes, because the school is a place for the students to pursue not only intellectual, cultural and personal development but also spiritual development.
This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Since Blessed John Paul II, following the spirit of the Council, first used the term 'New Evangelization' in 1979, the Church has continued to stress this. New Evangelization expresses explicitly the efforts which the Church makes in the face of the challenges to the Christian faith, its proclamation and witness. New Evangelization, beyond the evangelization of neophytes, means that we, the faithful who are already baptized, return to the spirit of the Gospel that we received with our baptism.
Today's public education has been influenced by the negative trends of our society, such as secularism, academic cliquism, inhumanity. Catholic education, however, can suggest alternatives to this public education, reducing its side effects: competition, over-emphasis on academic achievement and entrance examinations, and school violence. It is certain that we can overcome competitive secularism with the 'value of spirituality' preserved in Catholic schools, as well as academic cliquism with their 'value of peaceful coexistence', and school violence and the anti-life culture with their 'value of life'. For proper school education for new evangelization, the Church, educators, and parents should cooperate with one another so that a good religious education based on the values of spirituality, peace and life may be revitalized.
I wish that we may live with the joy of the Risen Jesus Christ and imitate Him with all our hearts and minds. We also have been born again into servants of religious education in accordance with the call of the Holy Father for new evangelization that will proclaim the Kingdom of God.
+ Boniface Choi Ki-san
Bishop of Incheon
CBCK Committee on Education
The Church in Korea Welcomes
New Archbishop of Seoul, Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung
On May 10, 2012, the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Seoul, was appointed as the new Archbishop of the same archdiocese and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang.
Archbishop Yeom was born in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province in 1943, and was ordained as a priest in 1970. In 2002, he was appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul.
The Most Rev. Andrew Yeom took possession of the See of Seoul, succeeding H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, the Archbishop Emeritus of Seoul.
His installation ceremony took place at the Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul, on June 25, 2012. Some 3,000 participants attended the ceremony, including the Most Rev. Osvaldo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea, 29 other brother bishops, government officials and representatives of other religions.
In his homily during the Mass following the installation ceremony, Archbishop Yeom said, "On the basis of the 'Evangelization 2020 Movement' initiated by my predecessor, H.E. Cardinal Cheong, I will exert myself to open a 'new era, a new areopagus for missionary works' in which 'Christian beauty' is to be communicated in our society."
Message for the 2012 Youth Day (Summary)
"Rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil 4,4)
Dear young friends,
On the occasion of the 27th World Youth Day, Pope Benedict XVI issued a message with the theme, "Rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil 4,4). Joy is the essential fruit of following Jesus Christ in our daily life. Wherever youth gather, there is always joy in its fullness. Joy has the power to attract all people.
Deep in your heart you should cherish the joy of being Christians, and bear witness to the joy of love and the joy of conversion even in times of trials.
Today, in fact, all kinds of dangerous factors are hindering young boys and girls from enjoying wholesome lives. The gravity of school violence has been revealed through the mass media. There must have been serious problems festering for years. Therefore, the government and society must find out the fundamental causes in order to root out school violence and not simply look at the situation superficially. As the Gospels tell us, the Church should help the youth to grow up in a healthy environment.
Juvenile violence, the growing number of mental, suicidal and sexual problems of teenagers followed by distorted views on sexuality are not separate issues. There is a correlation among these problems as they contribute to a larger cause.
What are the causes of these pains among the young people today?
In conjunction with commercialism whose aim is to make more profit and to ignore spiritual values, violence and distorted views on sexuality have been imprudently revealed to teenagers through mass media. Though benefiting from the world's foremost ultra high-speed Internet network, Korean youngsters must feel emptiness in their souls. In a situation of fierce competition, teenagers cannot form true friendships that provide beautiful memories because his or her friend has become an 'enemy' to beat. This competitive situation triggers a culture of death as people are led to pretend that they are much better than others. This is far different from the culture of love where people practice love for neighbour by being in communion with them.
The juvenile problems are not only for the teens, but for the society as a whole. We should come to them with a broader and more radical view. As we reflect on ourselves and repent we should promote a proper culture of love.
As the Holy Father mentioned in his message, we, as Christians, need to endeavor to create a positive environment where beautiful youth can live a healthy life. In addition, we should teach the youth the true values of what God taught the world. "What is the meaning of my life?", "What is the best value for me to choose?", "What do I want to be in the future and why?" They should find answers to these questions as they discern what they eagerly want and whether their efforts and results can be shared with others. They should be taught to make decisions on their own. Academic performance should not be a criteria for them to cherish a dream. On the contrary, their dream should be a motive for better academic performance. We have to help the youth do their best, form sound friendships, realize the value of faith, and share the joy of faith with others.
I would like to earnestly speak to the parents of teenagers. Parents need to reflect deeply on whether they themselves have become slaves to a contorted culture without any distinct purpose in their children's education. Parents with faith in Christ need to discern good values from secular ones, and they must be strong in their decisions. It would be great for parents to set themselves as examples to prove that education in faith is the best one, realizing that faith can help their children have a healthy spirit and not fall in line with others in a competitive society. I sincerely ask parents to lead their children to meet and experience Christ and look at the world through His eyes.
When it comes to the youth, the first thing we should seek is hope, joy, or love instead of anxiety, stress, delinquency or disorder. Only the Church can give the youth true hope, joy, love and freedom. To make sure that the young realize these true gifts, the Church must continue to make efforts to know the young. The Church needs to communicate with the youth and meet them on their own grounds, so that she can be loved by the youth who are wandering around looking for true values.
Dear young friends, "Rejoice in the Lord always."
May 27, 2012
+ Lazzro You Heung-sik
Bishop of Daejeon
CBCK Committee for Youth Ministry
Message for the 2012 Day for the Environment
We are God's Cooperators Cultivating and Caring for His Garden!
"The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it" (Gn 2,15)
Dear brothers and sisters,
God Himself created all things, and especially He created man in His image and ordered him to cultivate the soil and take care of all living creatures. In this regard, we are divinely entrusted with "service" and "caring" for all creatures of nature, chosen to be special workers and God's cooperators (cf. Gn 2,15). God's creation is still going on at this very moment; therefore, we must neither destroy nor abuse nature, but take care of it as God's cooperators. If man exploits the soil and destroys nature, the cooperative relationship with God in creation will be abrogated and nature will strike back with a great catastrophe against humanity and the whole world.
Nevertheless, ecological destruction is still committed today in every corner of the world, resulting in a total abrogation of the cooperative relationship between God and man. "Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 339).
Nowadays, the volume of the carbon dioxide gas is continually increasing as a result of the overconsumption of energy. To make matters worse, just 19 countries account for over 80% of the total emission of carbon dioxide gas in the world. The world population will be over 9 billion by the year 2050, an increase of 2 billion over the present population. To promote productivity of crops to feed such an explosively increasing population, we cannot but use a tremendous amount of fertilizer and this results in sterile soil because of too high acidity.
In the last 35 years, the forest area in Korea has continuously disappeared at a rate of 5 ha a year, 17 times as wide as the area of Namsan in Seoul. On the other hand, 36% of wetlands of the west coast in Korea, once ranked among the world's top five, has continuously disappeared in the last 45 years, because of land reclamation projects. It means the purifying function of rivers and wetlands will stop suppling pure water and clear air. On top of that, the Four Major Rivers Project, an artificial rivers refurbishment project, and the construction of Jeju naval base cause ecological destruction which denies a peaceful future and results in an uncertainty for our own generation and the generations to come as well. Pope John Paul II worried over the fact that man is "destroying many of its treasures and attractions and polluting the natural environment of earthly existence" ( John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Dilecti Amici, n. 14).
God the Creator has summoned us to practice 'green caring', to preserve and take care of the Garden, which has already become our vocation. It manifests itself when we take care of a tree as well as all other creatures.
Especially since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster following the To?oku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, some industrialized countries like Germany and Switzerland are adopting a 'green economic system' placing stress on renewable energies like solar energy, wind power, geothermal power, bio-gas from nature, all created by God, while they abolish nuclear energy which is in fact a deadly energy. At such a turning point in 'ecological civilization', we cannot but feel pity for the fact that our government is still not going to give up the proliferation of nuclear power plants.
Dear brothers and sisters,
The time has come for us as the ecclesiastical community to take the initiative in building a 'green civilization'. As members of the Church we must concentrate our efforts on building a 'green civilization', a social system for the service and care for all creatures. We have to gradually introduce solar energy systems in all family houses and public buildings, and specifically make various efforts to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide gas. We also have to communicate the value of life to take care of natural ecology, protesting the construction of a naval base and the proliferation of nuclear power plants, both of which aim at mere industrial development and materialistic values. We as the faithful should save electric energy in our everyday life, do away with unnecessary showy means and methods which destroy ecosystems, and choose a life of honorable poverty. This is the very way for us as the faithful to practice our duty and responsibility for the preservation of the divine order of creation.
The world will be changed into a world which "God saw how good it was" (Gn 1,10) as a divine gift, when we are united in our humble efforts. We have to be the hope for the ecology of the earth.
June 5, 2012
+ Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
Bishop of Suwon
CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for the 2012 Prayer Day for the Reconciliation and Unity of the Korean People (Summary)
"Peace be with you" (Jn 20,19)
Reconciliation, a Christian Mission
"Peace be with you" (Jn 20,19). These were the first words that the Risen Jesus Christ said to his disciples when he appeared to them for the first time after his death. When we remember that our Lord Jesus earnestly prayed for the communion of his disciples and the unity of the world (cf. Jn 17,11ff), we can confirm in our faith that peace is the fruit of our efforts for reconciliation and unity.
The Apostle Paul says that Jesus Christ came into the world to reconcile us to God (cf. Rm 5,10-11) through His true love presenting reconciliation to the world so that a true unity could be realized. This shows us clearly why and how to live as the faithful following Jesus Christ.
If we live a Christian life in its radicality to reconcile and lead the world to God, we can see more clearly the historical mission of the Church in Korea where division is still present. Her mission is to make a prayerful effort to overcome the conflict and division between the two Koreas as they march forward to a true unity.
The Present Situation on the Korean Peninsula
At the end of last year a great change took place in North Korea. Many people expected that there would be a change both in the regime of North Korea and in the relationship between the two Koreas. However, until now, six months after the change of leadership in the North, it seems that there has been no change in its inner situation and all is quite similar to the past. Rather, North Korea is displaying a firmer stance against the South. The two Koreas are producing again the tension of standoff, flinging provocative rhetoric against each other.
Many people diagnose the situation of the Korean Peninsula as a "crisis." The term 'crisis', however, connotes both a danger and an opportunity. Neither of the Korean governments must raise the stakes, triggering a terrible situation of mutual collapse, such as a civil war. They should take this crisis as an opportunity for future progress, pooling their wisdom with one accord.
Crisis management on the national level should not expand power infinitely in order to win a war, but should iron out wisely the differences or problems so as to prevent any conflict or dispute. We really need such crisis management more than ever before. Together we should try to make the Korean Peninsula not a field for a dangerous arms race but a zone for peace overflowing with love and sharing.
Steps towards Unification
True unification is not just a geographical one, but the unity of divided people. That is why the core of unification should be the unity of the Korean people. The case of unified Germany, which has been suffering from the moment of unification until now, reveals well the importance of the unity of the people. Therefore, there must be first and foremost frequent encounters, that is active exchanges and cooperation at the civilian level between the two Koreas. Both governments should permit and actively support civilian meetings on the cultural, social and religious level.
Economic exchange and cooperation will also be a sure solution to the economic problems of the two Koreas, greatly helping their citizens to improve the quality of their lives. If, in this process, the citizens of North and South Korea cooperate and go forward together, admitting their differences and opening their minds to each other, they will lay an important foundation for unification.
More Sincere Prayer
Dear brothers and sisters, peace is an important value which we faithful must appreciate. Building peace on the Korean peninsula is not only a duty of some politicians but our fundamental mission as the faithful. We should take off the stubbornness which turns our face away from misery, sorrow and the wounds of our neighbors (cf. Mk 3,5). We should only pay attention to the commandment of our Lord, "Love one another" (Jn 15,17).
Dark clouds overshadow the Korean Peninsula. In this time of crisis, let us remember our Lord's teaching that we can do nothing without prayer (cf. Mk 9,29). The first and foremost thing that we must do now is to pray in one accord in order to remove the dark clouds of division and conflict. I am sure that the Lord will answer us when we dedicate our sincere prayer to Him who guides our feet into "the path of peace" (Lk 1,79).
We are called to be apostles of peace. Let us strive to build peace in the world, especially in the Korean Peninsula, believing in our Lord who takes from our bodies our stony hearts and gives us natural hearts (cf. Ez 36,29). Our sincere prayers and efforts for peace in the Korean Peninsula will bear wonderful fruit in the grace of the Lord.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Mt 5,9).
June 24, 2012
+ Peter Lee Ki-heon
Bishop of Uijeongbu
for the Reconciliation
of the Korean People
● News from the Church in Korea
● Seminar of the CBCK Committee for the Lay Apostolate
The CBCK Committee for the Lay Apostolate (President: Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung) held a seminar at Isidore Retreat Center in Jeju Island on March 16, 2012. Two lay persons presented their papers on La Parrocchia Ritrovata: Percorsi di Rinnovamento (The Rediscovered Parish: Paths of Renewal) and La Bellezza di Essere Cristiani (The Beauty of Being Christian), both of which were published by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
Mr. Francis Xavier Oh Yong-seok, Director of the Institute of Social Apostolate of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea, in his paper said that the ideal models for the invigoration of pastoral ministry in a parish as a cradle of the faith are: a parish of harmony and communion like a family; a parish centered on the Eucharist; a parish reaching out to the poor and marginalized.
Ms. Julia Kim Nam-hi, lecturer at the Department of Religious Studies, Catholic University of Korea, said in her paper on the La Bellezza di Essere Cristiani that "the ecclesiastical laity movement and new communities must answer the calling of Jesus without 'if' or 'however'."
● Forum on "Law on Welfare and Self-Reliance of the Homeless"
Caritas Korea International (Chairperson: Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe) held a forum on the "Law on Welfare and Self-Reliance of the Homeless" at the Auditorium of the CCK on March 22, 2012.
Dr. Jeong Won-oh, Professor at the Department of Social Welfare, Sungkonghoe University, gave the keynote speech on the legislative process, outlining and explaining the Law on Welfare and Self-Reliance of the Homeless. The keynote speech was followed by a panel discussion on the possible problems resulting from the enactment of the law. About 40 participants in charge of welfare facilities for the homeless and vagrants took part.
The Law on Welfare and Self-Reliance of the Homeless was enacted on June 7, 2011 and took effect on June 8, 2012. The law was enacted to promote the human rights of the homeless as well as to provide help in their efforts for self-reliance, putting the responsibility for welfare services for the homeless on the central and local governments which are equipped with an integral supporting system.
● Episcopal Messages for Easter 2012
On the occasion of Easter, April 8, 2012, the bishops of Korea issued Easter messages.
In his Easter message, H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said, "A life with the faith in the resurrection means a life of love, sacrifice and service in conformity with the teaching of Jesus." He added, "The Catholic Church urges citizens not to forget their rights and duties to freely cast a vote for the protection and promotion of human dignity and for the common good, both goals of political life." He also urged the faithful to live and bear witness to the presence of the risen Lord in the world around them.
The Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, said, "The Risen Christ wants all humanity and all creatures to renew their original nature as He Himself rose from the dead, so that they can abide in the joy of the resurrection." He also asked the faithful to live a resurrected life and to participate in the divine works of creation. "We have to renew our original nature, marching together towards the goal of creation in our efforts for the harmony of all creatures."
The Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archbishop of Daegu, said, "We can learn a great truth from the resurrection of Jesus, that even before we enter into eternal life after death we already live a new life right here in this world thanks to the hope and power of the resurrection." He then asked the faithful to take the initiative in social evangelization by actively participating in the coming elections.
Other diocesan bishops urged the faithful to show the world that justice, truth and love prevail in the end through a life based on the resurrection. All of them made mention of the coming general election in their messages.
● Joint Seminar on Life and Post-nuclear Society
Representatives of four major religions in Korea, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism and Won-Buddhism, held a joint seminar on "Life and Post-nuclear Society" at the International Conference Room of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism on March 26, 2012.
The seminar was held on the occasion of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul from March 26 to 27, 2012 to give wider publicity to the opinion of the religious circles on the post-nuclear society as well as to arouse public awareness to dangers and side-effects of nuclear power.
At this seminar four papers were presented: Rev. Stephen Yang Gi-seok, Secretary of the Sub-committee for Environment under the CBCK Committee for Justice, on "Reflection and Practice of the Faithful Concerning the Problems of Nuclear Power Plants"; Rev. Jang Yun-jae, Director of the Korea Church Institute for Ecology, on "Confession of the Faith of a Korean Protestant for a Post-nuclear Society"; Ven. Beob-eung, Co-representative of Buddhist Bioethics Association, on "The Role of Religion for Post-nuclear Society"; Ven. Choi Seo-yeon, Co-representative of Won-Buddhist Solidarity for Ecology, on "Life and the Post-nuclear Society."
● Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2011
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (President: Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il) published Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2011 on April 13, 2012.
According to the Statistics, as of December 31, 2011, the number of Catholics in Korea was 5,309,964, an increase of 2% (104,375) over the last year. This accounts for 10.3% of the total population. The total number of Catholics in Korea has slightly and consistently increased at a yearly average of 2-3% during the past 10 years. It has passed the 10% mark of the total population since 2009. By gender, the number of the male faithful was 2,193,464 and the number of the female faithful was 3,095,332, 41.5% and 58.5% respectively of the total Catholics in Korea.
Of the 15 dioceses and the one military ordinariate in Korea, the Archdiocese of Seoul was the most populous with 27% of the total Catholics in Korea, followed by the Diocese of Suwon (14.8%), the
Archdiocese of Daegu (8.8%), and the Diocese of Incheon (8.6%). The combined number of the faithful in Seoul, Suwon, Incheon and Uijeongbu accounted for 55.4%. This indicates that most of the faithful reside in metropolitan areas. In terms of the percentage of the Catholic population compared to the local population, the Archdiocese of Seoul represented 13.6%, followed by the Diocese of Cheju 11.9%, the Diocese of Cheongju 11.0%, and the Archdiocese of Daegu and the Diocese of Suwon 10.4%.
According to the Statistics, the number of newly baptized in 2011 was 134,562, a decrease of 4.3% from the previous year. By gender, newly baptized men represented 73,228 and women 61,334. The number of infants baptized amounted to 25,717, an increase of 7.5 % over the previous year.
The Statistics also indicates that the number of clergy in Korea in 2011 amounted to 4,655, with 34 bishops including one Cardinal. There were 4,455 Korean priests and 166 foreign priests. 141 priests were ordained in 2011, an increase of 3.3% over the previous year. The number of the faithful per priest was 1,149. The number of seminarians was 1,587, a decrease of 5.2% from the previous year (1,413).
The number of parishes in 2011 was 1,647, an increase of 38 over the previous year, while the number of mission stations was 793, a decrease of 20 from the previous year.
With regard to men and women religious, there were 1,521 men religious, including novices, religious in temporary and perpetual vows as well as foreign religious, while there were 10,146 women religious.
The number of marriages celebrated in the Church amounted to 20,429 in 2011 and of this number 12,361 were marriages between a baptized and a non-baptized person. The number of the faithful who received the Sacrament of Confession was 5,133,665, a decrease of 2.5% from the previous year. The average rate for Sunday Mass attendance was 13.2% (1,231,140) of the total Catholics in Korea.
● The 6th Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue Program for Deacons
From June 20 to 22, 2012, the CBCK held the "6th Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue Program for Deacons" to broaden the seminarians' understanding of the teachings and spirit of other religions in Korea.
This time, for the first time, the program was carried out at the national level with about 90 deacons in attendance from 12 dioceses in Korea. They visited the Anglican Church of Korea, the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea, the Korea Muslim Federation, Sung Kyun Kwan, the Association of Confucianism in Korea, and Jogyesa, the headquarters of Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, as well as the CBCK and the Apostolic Nunciature in Korea. These visits gave the deacons an opportunity to encounter the doctrines and cultures of other religions.
News in Brief
The Sub-committee for Environment under the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace (President: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon) published Catholic Teachings on Environment. It is a compilation of articles of the Catholic Church on environment. It contains 96 documents in all including some excerpts concerning environment from Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes, some papal documents on environment, some documents on environment issued by the Holy See and episcopal conferences around the world including Korea, and CBCK messages on environment and farmers.
In his Note from the Publisher, Bishop Ri said, "We may have an opportunity to find solutions for the problems of our society when we spare time for deliberation on the efforts of the Catholic Church in diverse situations around the world."
The CBCK Committee for Promoting Christian Unity & Interreligious Dialogue (President: Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju) held the '12th Forum for Christian Unity in Korea' with the National Council of Churches in Korea (KNCC) and the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea on May 17, 2012 at the Franciscan Education Center in Jeongdong, Seoul. This forum was an occasion to seek an orientation for ecumenical movements in Korean society, which has been becoming more multi-religious.
The Most Rev. Hyginus Kim said, "When we all, the Catholics, the Protestants and the Orthodox together witness to Christ, seeking and sharing our common heritages rather than finding out our differences, we will propagate the Gospel more strongly."
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Yi Agatha (1824-1840)
Yi Agatha was put in prison with her father, Yi Kwang-hŏn Augustine, and her mother, Kwon Hŭi Barbara, on April 8, 1839, when she was 17 years old.
Agatha was repeatedly interrogated and tortured. The police chief tried to persuade her to renounce her faith. Since he was not successful, he used violent means to force her to surrender. He was surprised that even violence was not effective. The young girl endured the threats and tortures so courageously that the people around her could hardly believe the strength of divine grace.
It was a miracle that Agatha was able to preserve her virginity living among the prison guards who were like beasts.
The prison guards lied to her, telling her that her parents had given up their faith and had been released from prison. Agatha answered for herself and for her brother Damian, saying: "Whether or not our parents denied their religion is not our business. We cannot deny God!"
Agatha was whipped 300 times and beaten 90 times. All these sufferings, thirst, hunger and sickness did not discourage her. Throughout all her sufferings she was thinking of her father, beheaded on May 24, 1839, and her mother, martyred on September 3, 1839, trying to imitate their example. Agatha, after nine months of imprisonment, was strangled to death in Seoul on January 9, 1840, at the age of 17.
Chŏng Hwa-gyŏng Andrew (1807-1840)
Chŏng Hwa-gyŏng Andrew was a very dull man who was easily deceived. As a result a bishop and many Catholics were arrested. Kim Yŏ-sang, the traitor, told him that the government people in Seoul were becoming Catholic and would welcome the French missionaries. Andrew foolishly believed them and led a group of captors to Bishop Imbert, whom they arrested.
Andrew was born in 1807 to a wealthy Catholic family living in Ch'ŏngsan in Ch'ungch'ŏng Province. In order to practice his religion more freely, he left home and moved to Seoul. He helped the Church as much as he could. But even after Bishop Imbert was arrested, Andrew was deceived again by the police. They told him that there would soon be freedom of faith and they then had some new Catholics arrested.
The policemen tried to arrest Fathers Maubant and Chastan through Andrew, but Andrew finally realized his foolishness and didn't reveal the whereabouts of the missionaries. Instead, he quietly went to the missionaries and told them to escape. Andrew confessed his sins, and then wanted to give himself up to the government authorities.
He was finally arrested, and the police chief demanded that he renounce his faith. Although Andrew was foolish, he had a strong faith. He continued to refuse the police chief's demand and endured all the pains of being twisted and stabbed. He was beaten more than a hundred times and was strangled to death in Seoul on January 23, 1840, at the age of 33.