CBCK Newsletter No.66 (Spring 2009)
Closing Message of the 2009 Spring General Assembly
Message for the Week for the Sanctification of the Family
Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2009
Message for Overseas Aid Sunday 2009
2009 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
News from the Church in Korea
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea
Closing Message of the 2009 Spring General Assembly
A month has already passed since Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan departed from this life. He was a great pillar of the Catholic Church in Korea as well as the eldest brother of us Korean bishops.
Watching the great number of people, regardless of their different religions, who paid their respects to the spirit of the departed with deep sorrow for his departure, we as bishops of the Catholic Church in Korea were very surprised and deeply moved. We cannot but make a deep bow to all who payed their sincere condolences even when it meant waiting for hours in long lines to pray just for a few seconds before the casket of Cardinal Kim. We felt a kind of holy awe as we watched this long procession of silent mourners who visibly showed even deeper reverence and sorrow than we did as brothers of Cardinal Kim. It seemed to be a procession of the people of God, heading towards the Promised Land from the land of darkness and sin. The procession continued not only in Seoul but also in the provinces and even abroad.
We were astonished by the sheer presence of so many people paying homage to our departed brother but could not recognize their exact motive. According to the proverb, "the beacon does not shine on its own base." Even though we were very close to Cardinal Kim, we did not recognize the light which our departed brother shed much brighter on people far away. It seems that the passionate love of the departed for the poor and the weak is awakening the love which has been lying dormant in the hearts of so many people for whom he wanted with his heart and soul in his lifetime to be a friend. It was not the honorific title of Cardinal that aroused affection and gratitude in so many people but rather the luster of his 'self-emptying' and humility as he welcomed all people without reserve. That is why countless people gathered around the body of the departed as if they had lost their own father.
Closing the 2009 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK, we pledge to follow in the footsteps of Cardinal Kim who thawed the hearts of many people, frozen by uncertainty, conflict and despair, and who rekindled the light of courage to practice love. We give our word that we will reignite the flame of hope in our nation and country, humbly following in his footsteps.
Dear brothers and sisters,
We are now undergoing severe hardships without precedent in recent years. There is no way for the poor to overcome their poverty nor are there prospects for the unemployed to find jobs soon. As the result of decreasing demands, many factories have been closed down with no promise of speedy resumption.
We must not, however, be driven to despair. We have struggled through even more painful times, including wars. Sometimes the Lord lets us bear hardships, but He also provides us with a capacity to bear them. As gold is tempered by fire to be purified, so our souls are purified and strengthened through hardships before they are born again in firm and good shape. We need to wait with patience, firmly confident in our loving and saving God.
When we welcome our neighbors as members of our family and when at each and every moment we take care of one another with grateful and affectionate hearts, the dark clouds of hardship will soon disperse. May God bless your family with peace!
March 19, 2009
Bishops of the Catholic Church in Korea
Message for the Week for the Sanctification of the Family
Conjugal love is the sign of divine love
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today is a joyous day when the Child Jesus manifested divine love to all people as well as to all the world. I pray that God's abundant blessings may be poured out upon all your families as we celebrate this Christmas season.
Today we start the Week for the Sanctification of the Family, celebrating the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, as all family members remember the meaning of family. On the occasion of the Week for the Sanctification of the Family we have to be prepared for deep reflection on the proper image of the family as a community of unity and love as well as for reflection on ourselves in the family.
In the light of the Gospel, we can see that in Korean society the culture and the attitude toward values are tainted with excessive materialism As a result, personal love and spiritual values, the important virtues of the family community, are regarded as trivial matters. Sometimes a couple even does harm to conjugal love by making careless decisions about the matrimonial bond for the sake of mere economic logic. Such a tendency is related to the reciprocally inflicted wounds and pain among family members that lead to the disintegration of the family community. Therefore, we have to realize that such wounds and pain cannot be cured only through economic means.
One of the great changes of the family in Korean society is the increasing number of the multicultural families. They account for about 11% (38,000 instances according to the national statistics of 2008) of all the marriages registered in the year and the tendency is expected to go upwards. In such a situation, recognizing 'difference' and choosing 'coexistence' are the urgent task for all of us. Therefore, all families must be ready to ponder upon the ways for an evangelical solution, with a proper recognition of the situation and challenges.
The perennial teaching about evangelical life indicates 'a way to a loving relationship, finding the true self in self-giving.' According to this teaching of the Church, the primary evangelical life of the family consists in nurturing the loving bond of the Sacrament of Marriage to bear fruit. Most of all, Christian couples should not forget that they are 'the loving sacrament of Christ, divine existence on earth, and the tabernacle where God abides'. Therefore, Christian families through their proper conjugal love must exert all efforts to build a brighter society.
Only in this way can a Christian family community be an agent spreading the love of truth which is the pure spring in a world muddled by distorted love. Here again I pray that the blessings of the Child Jesus may be abundant in each family and that every hope and plan of the new year will be accomplished with the blessings of the Lord.
December 28, 2008,
On the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
+ Paul Hwang Cheol-soo
Bishop of Pusan
Committee for Family Pastoral Ministry
of the CBCK
Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2009
"That they may become one in your hand" (Ez 37, 17)
The year 2009 has special significance since it marks the completion of the Pauline Year which began on June 29, 2008. St. Paul the Apostle was an apostle of unity bringing the faithful of the early Church together with the help of the Holy Spirit. We as Christians are called to confess "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph 4,4-5) and to break down the wall of division.
Annually, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches jointly proclaim a whole week before the Feast of St Paul's Conversion as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In this way, they urge the faithful to jointly pray for the unity of Christians in the world. Since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has made it clear that all Christians are the "People of God" on pilgrimage in this world in accordance with the calling to manifest the unity of all human beings in their deep inner unity with God. She is now filled with a passion to rebuild the unity which we received with the help of the Holy Spirit and she grieves over the reality of the division of the one Church which our Lord established.
It is a great blessing that a fervent flame of hope for unity is flaring in the Churches in Korea in 2009. The Catholic Church in Korea and the Protestant Churches in Korea have jointly tried to overcome the barrier of mistrust and to promote the unity of Christians in Korea for over 40 years since the Second Vatican Council. There have been mutual exchanges, theological discussions, pilgrimages for unity and discourses, academic colloquiums and prayer meetings for unity. This year we are witnessing a turning point of such activities for unity, as a group of representatives from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) and the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) jointly prepared the prayer materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2009. These materials were prepared to inform the world that the CBCK and the NCCK are actively engaged in the promotion of the Christian unity which both parties ardently long for in Korea where national division still continues. It is our privilege that these materials, accepted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches, can be used in all churches in the world.
Such a privilege belongs not just to some agents promoting Christian unity, but it is an achievement resulting from the help of Holy Spirit who is guiding the unity of Korean Christians. The churches in the world are paying attention to the Churches in Korea, since both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches in Korea have achieved an unprecedently remarkable growth in their unique history of evangelization. It is coupled with an expectation by the churches in Western Europe and in Asia that the churches in Korea will play a definite role.
The theme "That they may become one in your hand" (Ez 37, 17) is from the prophet Ezekiel who was called to arouse hope in the hearts of his many brethren who found themselves in a desperate political and religious situation as exiles after the fall of divided Israel. These words of the prophet lead us to face the reality of disunity in Korea where the churches are divided. The prophet confessed that God is the One who summons His people and blesses them, reestablishes His unity with them, and leads people to reconciliation with one another. Today we encounter the reality of a divided world of human beings resulting from the division and misunderstanding of the Churches, conflicts and violence, a gap between the rich and the poor. We are also facing a division of human beings detached from nature as the result of ecological destruction and indifferent to those who are suffering and marzinalized. Christians are called to practice a life of unity in the Holy Spirit and to overcome divisions and mutual institutional barriers.
Therefore, in this week for the promotion of Christian unity, all Christians must practice a life of unity, proclaiming the salvation and hope accomplished in Chris and overcoming reciprocal misunderstanding and prejudice. Especially, according to the spirit of unity, I would like to invite you all to pray together in fraternal love with and for our Protestant neighbors who are separated from us for many reasons. In various fields of life, we have to go on a pilgrimage bearing the cross of Jesus Christ who loves humanity, in a spirit of solidarity with them as fellow Christians. We have to pray for a life animated by the Holy Spirit, reciting the prayer of Jesus Christ who ardently asked that we "may all be one" (Jn 17, 21), even if quite a few people take a skeptical view of rebuilding 'one Church' in this world. The true unity of the Church begins with a life of spiritual unity, entrusting ourselves to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of unity itself.
In this regard, I hope that all the faithful may recognize their common Christian calling to be salt and light in the world when they meet Christians of other denominations who may be family members, colleagues and club members. I also hope that they can give an example of true Christian faith which can bring a change to the dismal reality of contradiction and irrationality in our society. I have confidence that we can sow the seeds of true unity and reconciliation, overcoming the division, when all Christians can share their fruitful experiences of ecumenical life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
January 18, 2009,
+ Hyginus Kim Hee-joong
Auxiliary Bishop of Kwangju
Committee for Promoting Christian Unity
& Interreligious Dialogue
of the CBCK
Message for Overseas Aid Sunday 2009
"In time of trouble remain true to your friends" (Sir 22,23)
- Overcoming the food crisis of the world -
Dear brothers and sisters in the love of God,
Since 1993 the Catholic Church in Korea has officially provided overseas aid and observed annually the last Sunday of January as the Overseas Aid Sunday to participate in the effort to find a solution for the poverty of many people.
Fact and Factors of the Food Crisis
Natural disasters, climate change, regional conflicts, unfair trade regulations, worsening agricultural production shortages, and higher food prices are all aggravating factors of the worldwide food crisis. According to the report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, food prices rose by 54% in 2007 and, as a result, 37 countries have had to face severe food shortages and more than 3 billion people of the world will experience a food crisis in the future.
According to the report of the World Bank, 100 million people have been newly reduced to poverty and live on less than 2 dollars a day. Of this 100 million, 35 million are still in their childhood. Ten million children are under the age of 5, and 35% of them are dying because of malnutrition. The report described the spread of the food crisis over the world as a "silent Tsunami crossing all borders."
Matter of Distribution
In recent years, climate change, bio-fuel production, oil price hikes, and population growth have made the supplying of food more difficult. Furthermore, unfair trade practices have made many farmers more dependent on the world market and have encroached upon the agricultural sector of poorer countries. World food production has increased more than double in the last 40 years. This number surpasses the population growth rate for the same period. It means that we are now producing more than enough food to nourish the whole population of the world. What, then, is the cause of the food crisis? Why are so many people still starving?
Food shortage is not the cause of starvation. The problem is the inappropriate and unjust distribution of food in spite of ever increasing productivity. The food crisis ultimately is a matter of distribution, i.e. a matter of distributive justice.
Remaining true to neighbours in trouble
The global food crisis is a matter of survival for the needy. Many people are now threatened with starvation. They are "the poorest of the poor." Being confident that we can eliminate starvation means being convinced of the possibility of a true change. We can contribute to the elimination or reduction of starvation in many ways. However, we have to first recognize the fact that there is a mysterious power in us, urging us to give ourselves to our neighbours with all our hearts, before we take necessary measures against starvation. Then we have to have a conviction that the lives of our neighbours and our own lives are inter-connected. Besides, the spirit of community is also required to promote mutual help and co-existence.
Most of all, we have to eliminate the causes of the prevalent misery and poverty, starvation and destitution, even if much money and resources are spent for the development of new weapons. Extreme economic inequality, resulting from a desire for dominance, contempt for human beings, mistrust, and selfish desire, should be promptly eliminated. We have to be concerned about various requests from many regions of the world where people are suffering from poverty and destitution, including demands for food, health care, education and employment. We also have to be concerned about the rescue of an ever increasing number of refugees, migrants and their family members. Furthermore, many people of the world are still suffering from extreme poverty. Such a dire situation, where many people are still deprived of the basic necessities of life, tormented with hunger, disease, and every kind of misery, should be immediately overcome (Cf. Gaudium et spes, n. 88). We should give not only out of our abundance, but also out of our necessities.
Remembering what Jesus told us, "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13,34-35), and listening to the words of God, "In time of trouble remain true to your friends" (Sir 22,23), we as Christians should give our word that we will take the initiative in serving and loving our neighbours who are suffering from all kinds of poverty and will provide hope for them through our words and deeds.
I pray that God may bless you in abundance on your way to hope and love. I will remember and give thanks to the many faithful who contribute to the special collection for Overseas Aid Sunday and to the many supporters who make donations.
January 25, 2009
On Overseas Aid Sunday
+ Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok
Bishop of Masan
Committee for "Caritas Coreana"
of the CBCK
2009 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) held its 2009 Spring General Assembly at the Conference Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) from March 16 to 19, 2009 and decided as follows:
1. The bishops approved the publication of 'Pilgrim People of God', the third in a series of seven volumes of the Catechism for Youth, prepared by the Committee for Catechesis of the CBCK.
2. The bishops decided to issue a message in the name of the Conference on the death of the late Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan. There was also a report of the Permanent Council of the CBCK that it had made a decision to mandate the Committee for Justice & Peace of the CBCK to prepare in the name of the Conference a draft on social teaching dealing in depth with problems of development.
3. The bishops decided to establish a 'Council of Bishops and Religious' to be able to have a regular conference to discuss common interests, thus enhancing the status of the existing semi-annual meeting of the Permanent Council of the CBCK and the presidents of the Korean Conference of Major Superiors of Men's Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life and the Association of Major Superiors of Religious Women.
4. Regarding the submission to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints of the acts for the cause of the beatification of the Servants of God "Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 companions" and for the cause of the beatification and canonization of the Servant of God "Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop" the bishops decided to nominate as postulator for the cause Fr. John Kim Jong-su, who as Rector of the Pontifical Korean College lives in Rome.
5. The bishops decided to keep the existing title of the Commission as it prepares for the promotion of the cause of the beatification of the 'martyrs and confessors in the Joseon Dynasty (Corea)', as well as for the 'investigation into the beatification of the confessors of the faith of the Catholic Church in modern and contemporary Korea'. Moreover, the bishops decided that the office room and the staff member of the Commission should be retained until the end of 2009. The bishops will later discuss the future of the Commission, after the final presentation of the related materials from each diocese for the promotion of the cause of beatification of the 'martyrs and confessors in the Joseon Dynasty (Corea)'. In addition, the bishops decided to deliberate on the inter-diocesan measures for the 'investigation of the confessors of the faith of the Catholic Church in modern and contemporary Korea' asking each diocese to investigate cases and make a report on them.
6. The bishops decided to change the official title from the 'Headquarters of the Life 31 Movement of the CBCK' to 'Pro-Life Activities of the Committee for Bioethics of the CBCK'.
7. The bishops elected the Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju, Bishop of Andong, as the Korean Bishop delegate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress which will be held in Dublin, Ireland in 2012.
8. The bishops appointed Fr. Thaddaeus Lee Ki-rak, Secretary of the Biblical Committee of the CBCK, as Executive Secretary of the CBCK and Secretary General of the CCK.
● News from the Church in Korea
● Death of H.E. Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan
H.E. Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan, Archbishop emeritus of Seoul, died at the age of 87 on February 16, 2009. As the first and longest-serving Cardinal of Korea, he devoted himself to the Catholic Church and the Korean people. In accordance with his will, his corneas were donated as transplants for two patients, giving them new light. Born to a devout Catholic family in Daegu on May 8, 1922 as the youngest son of eight children, he was ordained a priest in 1951 during the Korean War and was consecrated as a Bishop in 1966. In 1969 he was created a Cardinal by H.H. Pope Paul VI. Cardinal Kim became a symbolic figure in Korea, as he braved the political authorities during the era of military dictatorship from the 1960s all through the 1980s. Many Koreans, both Catholics and non-Catholics, asked him for advice and help whenever they were oppressed and had to endure trouble.
● New Diocesan Bishop of Suwon
The Apostolic See announced on March 30, 2009 that H.H. Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop Paul Choi Deok-ki from the pastoral care of the Suwon Diocese for reasons of health and that Bishop Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, Coadjutor Bishop of Suwon, would succeed him automatically and hold the office of the 4th Bishop of Suwon. Bishop Ri was born in 1951 in Hwasung, Gyeonggi-do and was ordained a priest in 1979. After obtaining a doctorate in moral theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in 1988, he held various posts at the Catholic University of Suwon until 2002, e.g. instructor, professor and President. He was nominated as the Auxiliary Bishop of Suwon on March 7, 2003, and then as Coadjutor Bishop of Suwon on October 10, 2008.
● New Auxiliary Bishop of Daejeon
On February 10, 2009, Rev. Augustinus Kim Jong-soo, President of the Catholic University of Daejeon, was nominated as the new Auxiliary Bishop of Daejeon and Titular Bishop of Sufasar. After his graduation from the graduate school of Seoul National University, he entered the Catholic Seminary of Seoul in 1984. From 1990 to 1994, he studied the Bible at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. After his priestly ordination in 1989, Bishop-elect Kim served the Church in Korea as a parochial pastor and then as professor at the Catholic University of Daejeon where he became the president of the university in 2007. With the addition of this new bishop the Catholic Church in Korea now has 32 bishops, including 9 Bishops emeriti.
● Episcopal Messages for Easter 2009
Each diocesan bishop in Korea issued a message for Easter 2009, admonishing the faithful to prudently overcome the present economic crisis and to be salt and light in this world giving strength and hope to our neighbors, following in footsteps of Jesus Christ who defeated the death and rose from the dead. The Bishops also urged the faithful to live a life of gratitude and sharing in this world, following the exemplary life and faith of the late Stephen Cardinal Kim Su-hwan.
In his message entitled "Let us live the life of resurrection with gratitude and love," H.E. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, said, "Practice of gratitude and love, which the late Cardinal Kim left to us as a legacy of love, is the realization of the spirit of resurrection in our life. Even with our humble gratitude and love, we can bear fruit and eventually witness a miracle in our society when many people tread in our steps."
In his message entitled "Surrexit Dominus Vere, Alleluia!", the Most Rev. John Choi Young-soo, Archbishop of Daegu, said, "We can experience the encounter with our risen Lord, only through our faith life, especially when we take part in the eucharistic life, in which we share our life. When we willingly abandon our selfishness and take share in the life-giving example of our Lord, we can encounter the risen Lord, and the people in the world can also see Him through us."
The Most Rev. Andreas Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Kwangju, urged, "We Christians should manifest constantly fruits of grace in this world imbued with sin, and we have to be sons and daughters of God, participating in the afflictions of Christ for His body which is the Church."
● Seminar on the Role of the Catholic Church in the Recognition of the Republic of Korea by the United Nations
The CBCK held a seminar entitled "On the Role of the Catholic Church in the Recognition of the Republic of Korea by the United Nations" at the Auditorium of the Catholic Conference of Korea on February 4, 2009.
Along with the Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, President of the CBCK and Bishop of Cheju, the Most Rev. Choi Deok-ki, Secretary of the CBCK and Bishop of Suwon, the Most Rev. John Chang Yik, Bishop of Chuncheon, the Most Rev. Boniface Choi Ki-san, Bishop of Incheon, Rt. Rev. Abbot Simon Peter Ri Hyong-u, Apostolic Administrator of Territorial Abbacy of Tokwon, about 40 guests participated in this seminar.
In his opening remarks, Bishop Kang put emphasis on the interpretation of the role of the Catholic Church in the recognition of the Republic of Korea by the United Nation in light of the ecclesiastical history and faith.
Two papers were presented by Prof. Huh Dong-hyun, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Kyung Hee University, and Rev. Pontianus Yeo Jin-cheon, Secretary of the Committee for Culture of the CBCK, respectively.
This seminar was held to appreciate especially the prominent role of Dr. John Chang Myun (1899-1966) in the recognition of the Republic of Korea by the United Nations, representing both newly founded Republic of Korea as an official chief delegate to the United Nations and the Catholic Church in Korea as a pious lay person.
Dr. Chang could represent the Republic of Korea and make a great achievement, because of his faith in the Catholic Church, promoting more support of the Holy See, as well as his unique diplomatic prowess par excellence at that time.
● Statistics of the Overseas Korean Catholics 2008
According to the Statistics of the Overseas Korean Catholics 2008 (as of December 31, 2008), issued by Committee for the Pastoral Care of Overseas Koreans of the CBCK, there are 156,665 Korean Catholics living abroad, showing a 4.4% (6,699) increase over the year 2007. This accounts for 2.22% of all overseas Koreans (7,044,716) as of 2007.
● Celebration of the Mass for Life 2009
A Mass for Life 2009 was celebrated at Myeongdong Cathedral of Seoul on February 9, 2009, on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of enactment of the so-called 'law for mother and child health care'.
His Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jinsuk, Archbishop of Seoul, presided over the Mass along with the Most Rev. Osvaldo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio to Korea, and the Most Rev. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Chairman of the Committee for Life and Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul. About 1,200 people went to the Mass, including the diplomatic delegates residing in Korea, members of the National Assembly of Korea, and the faithful.
In his homily, Cardinal Cheong said, "His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI placed, most of all, emphasis on the establishment of the proper value attitude for the cause of the protection of life." Then he continued, "It is more important to live as a decent man than to have more fame and fortune. …… A reasonable education in a family is the precondition for the upbringing of the children to be men and women who can take the life seriously."
● 2008 Annual Report on Religious Freedom in North Korea
The Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People of the CBCK, together with the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, published The 2008 Annual Report on Religious Freedom in North Korea - Actual State of Religious Freedom in North Korea in March 2009.
This is the sequel of the first report of its kind issued earlier in February, 2008. This report has a significance as a material that presents the overall state of religious freedom in North Korea. It is composed of four chapters: religious policy of North Korea; facts of religious freedom in North Korea; religious persecution in North Korea; suggestions for the relief and prevention of the religious persecution in North Korea.
This report is based on a survey on 2,047 North Korean defectors who entered in South Korea between 2007 and 2008 as well as the data of 345 cases of religious persecutions in North Korea with 252 related persons.
According to the report, 99.7% of the respondents said they cannot freely practice their religious faith in North Korea. When a North Korean practices or confesses his or her religious faith in public, possesses religious things or comes in contact with religious people, he or she is persecuted in North Korea.
The report gave suggestions for solution to relieve and prevent the North Koreans from the religious persecutions as follows:
· monitoring of the reality of religious freedom and persecution in North Korea on regular basis;
· working on a method to prevent North Koreans from the religious persecution and help the victims;
· promoting of the inter-Korean religious exchanges and making examination of a connection between humanitarian aid from the religious community to North Korea and the extension of religious freedom;
· strengthening official and unofficial religious approaches to North Koreans;
· organizing an interreligious federation to extend the religious freedom in North Korea;
· strengthening the assistance to North Korean defectors in South Korea for the practice of their faith;
· developing a long-term strategy for evangelization of North Korea.
● Research on the Pastoral Activities of the Lay Faithful in Seoul
The Pastoral Administration of Seoul Archdiocese issued Research Report on the Pastoral Activities in Parishes of the Seoul Archdiocese. According to the report, there has been continual development in catechesis and mission work. On the other hand, activities related to life and liturgy have diminished considerably. However, the increasing importance of activities related to social pastoral care has brought about more vigor in this area.
● Admonition on the Matters Related to Julia Youn of Naju
The Archdiocese of Kwangju issued a letter of admonition entitled 'The Position of the Archdiocese of Kwangju in Relation to the Matter of Julia Youn of Naju and Its Related Phenomena II' on February 24, 2009. This is a sequel of the 'The Position of the Archdiocese of Kwangju in Relation to the Matter of Julia Youn of Naju and Its Related Phenomena', issued on November 19, 2007. With this letter, the Archdiocese of Kwnagju has made it clear that it reaffirmed its existing position, manifested in the aforementioned letter of November 19, 2007.
The Lives of the 103 Martyr Saints of Korea 79, 102
Cho Hwa-so (Peter)
Peter Cho Hwa-so was born in Suwon in 1914, the son of Andrew Cho who was martyred in 1839. Later he moved to Sinchang in Chungcheong Province and worked as an assistant to Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop. In 1864, he moved to Jeonju for farming. He married Magdalene Han, and they had a son, Joseph Cho. After his first wife died, he married Susanna Kim. He was about 40 years old when a new persecution broke out.
Peter was a light-hearted man. He tried his best to live like a Catholic, fulfilling his duties faithfully. He was well-known for listening to and understanding others.
Peter lived in a mountain area so remote that it was difficult to hear outside news. On December 5, 1866, when Peter was visiting his neighbours with his son Joseph, a group of police rushed in and arrested Peter. He told his captors that he was a Catholic and had learned the catechism from his father. He said that he knew no other Catholics except his son.
When his son Joseph returned home, Peter urged him to run away. Joseph would not flee but surrendered himself to the captors. The two were taken to Chonju and joined other Catholics in prison. On their way to Jeonju, Peter and his son encouraged each other to be steadfast in their faith. Even non-Catholics who heard them admired their strong faith.
Peter encouraged his cellmates in prison to accept martyrdom and to be ready for death. For this he was more severely tortured than others. It is a known fact that Peter encouraged Bartholomew Cho not to give up his faith, saying" "We will be abundantly rewarded in heaven." He reminded his son that they would meet each other in heaven. He was tortured again and again for denying that he knew other Catholics and that he had some western books.
When he reached the execution site, he made the sign of the cross slowly and devoutly and told the executioners to believe in God. Then he was beheaded at Supjeongi in Jeonju on December 13, 1866, at the age of 52.
Cho Yun-ho (Joseph)
Joseph Cho Yun-ho was born in 1848. When the persecution broke out, he was only 17. Since Joseph had just been married for a short time, he and his wife were living with their parents. Joseph's faith was very deep and he observed all the Church regulations faithfully.
Young Joseph resembled his father and was very courageous and outspoken. The whole family practiced their religion faithfully.
When his father, Peter Cho, was arrested and interrogated, Joseph was coming home. Peter asked his son to run away, but Joseph gave himself up. Both father and son encouraged each other not to abandon their faith.
Joseph told the interrogators that his grandfather had taught him the Catholic religion. He also told them that he did not have any Catholic books. They tortured him severly to make him deny his faith, but Joseph would not succumb. He was sent to the Jeonju prison with his father.
Joseph strongly and courageously defended his faith despite all the tortures. One day as he saw his father being taken out for execution. Joseph asked to be taken out too, but he was told that according to the law father and son could not be executed on the same day in the same place. The governor urged Joseph to give up his faith. He promised Joseph that he would all his lost properties back to him if he denied his faith. Joseph wouldn't listen to him.
On the way to the execution site, the executioner ran fast, pulling the wooden board around Joseph's neck to make him tired.
At the execution site, the governor offered again to restore all his lost properties, but Joseph strongly refused the offer. He ate his last meal, making the sign of the cross very devoutly before eating. Joseph was beaten very severely, and finally was beaten to death at Seocheongyo in Jeonju on December 23, 1866. He was 19. Thus three generations, Cho Joseph, his father and grandfather, had the honor of being martyrs.