To root and spread "the Francis effect" in the Diocese of Daejeon.
The papal visit in 2014 was a turning point in Korean society, in
particular helping foster a more favorable attitude toward the Catholic
Church and her social doctrine.
A goal which Bishop Lazzaro You Heungsik (pictured, on the occasion of
the papal visit) has spoken of in recent days with Pope Francis and for
which the diocese has organized a diocesan Synod (December 8, 2015 ~
A "coming together" which is expected to give birth to two
currents: one is to actively live the spirituality of martyrdom; the
other is to apply professional knowledge and skills of the laity in
Regarding the first: the spread of the spirituality of martyrdom,
understood in its original sense as testimony.
The Diocese of Daejeon
has established the so-called 'School of martyrdom' to remind today's
society of the spirituality of the martyrs.
The 'School of martyrdom'
manages programs to move the focus from 'dying' to 'living witness' with
the help of experts, pastors, priests, religious and laity. Against the
'isms' dominant in today's world: materialism, economic liberalism,
selfishness, etc. that destroy the dignity of creation, the school
strives to promote a sense of communion in order to create justice and
Through a pilgrimage made on foot, the 'School of martyrdom' helps
connect the faithful to the life of the martyrs. In addition, the
commissioning of studies and research on the lives of martyrs, aims to
spread their life story worldwide. And the commission for the
beatification and canonization of the martyrs will organize movements to
imitate the lives of martyrs in which faith and life were one.
The need for evangelization through the active participation of the
laity, the second "current" that will be addressed by the synod, was
clearly highlighted by the Pope’s visit. It is the change needed to
fulfill the mission of the Church in Korea for the Asian Church and
Worldwide. If this is going to happen, the most urgent task is recover
the role of the laity who actually founded the Church in Korea.
Recognizing the value of evangelization by the laity, the diocese wants
to offer them the opportunity to play a central role in the design and
implementation of the Pastoral work. And the fact that the best
scientists, technologists and administrators are concentrated in the
diocese gives reason to hope that they, by engaging in their secular
work, can carry out their mission to build the kingdom of God.
This work, inserted in the projects of the Synod, is expected to become
the central activity of diocesan pastoral outreach. ① The pastoral care
of families and young people ② The dialogue between science and faith ③
The establishment of migrant workers and farmers ④ The reconciliation
and reunification between South and North ⑤ The deepening of the social
The urgency of a family ministry
The crisis facing families in South Korea is highlighted by factors such
as the continued growth of the divorce rate, currently the highest in
Asia. In addition, Korea has become a stable country with the lowest
birth rate in the world.
The diocesan Synod is seeking concrete
educational methods, practices to help the family and life. For those
who have difficulties because of misconceptions about love and
sexuality, the Pontifical Theological Institute of Marriage and Family
of St. John Paul II was inaugurated at the Catholic University of
Daejeon to train religious and lay people who to serve family and life
in the parishes and in the various institutions operating as catechists.
The Evangelical School for Family and of Life that lasts 12 weeks is
also about to be launched. This school follows on from the weekend for
engaged couples, the marriage education at Cana, the ME (Marriage
Encounter), the renewal of marriage, and the school for parents.
The fact that the diocese of Daejeon boasts the best research
institutions which are world leaders in the scientific-technological
development means it can provide opportunities in which secular
scientists, experts in the scientific-technological sector can study and
discuss regularly with the pastors and theologians . This can help
overcome the existing disharmony between the scientific world and that
of faith, one of the causes of indifference among young people.
After the visit of Pope Francis, a lot of discussion and research were carried out on the contents of documents such Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Sì, Misericordiae Vultus Amoris Laetitia.
Thanks to this flourishing of studies, the knowledge of the social
catechism that permeates the Christian faith is developing.
of Daejeon wants to contribute to the systematic research and become
active on its pastoral direction, identifying the diplomatic, political
and social problems that Korea is facing and correct them from the
evangelical point of view. The diocese also aims to promote
opportunities to systematically study the social teaching of the Church
and to apply it to the current problems of the country. These
educational programs are aimed at making concrete efforts to live the
moral values such as respect for life, justice, and freedom according
to the ministry of the laity.
The effort for reconciliation with the North
Another key reality that the Church is facing is the effort towards
reconciliation between South Korea and North Korea and the attitude
towards 30 thousand refugees from North Korea. The latter often become
victims of prejudice and even hatred making integration into the South
Korean society difficult. They must be approached with a friendly gaze
and warmth, cultural sentiment and emotional heterogeneity converted
into sympathy, the difference of views on reunification downplayed.
Since the division of the country in 1953, the Church in Korea has been
trying to foster reconciliation between the South and the North by
implementing various initiatives to send food, medicine and machinery in
the name of human rights and fraternity.
Today, however, there is an attempt to restore the Cold War atmosphere
because of the deployment of THAAD missile system. All forms of
exchanges, even on a civil level, was recently canceled and the tension
between the South and the North is growing dangerously.
According to the
social catechism of the Church, the Korean bishops (Commission for
Justice and Peace) have announced their position contrary to the THAAD
deployment in Korea, as it is contrary to the agreement between Korea
and Japan on the problem of sex slaves (so-called Korean 'comfort women'
for the Japanese military) during the second world war that destroys
human dignity, and the publication and distribution of history textbooks
that distort history.
The best way to reduce tension in Korea is to promote reconciliation
and unity, by reducing economic and cultural differences between the
South and the North. At this point, the current situation seems to
support the intention of the Japanese government, to solve its problems,
it wants to become a military superpower and increase weapons sales by
introducing a new Cold War.
At the same time, the people of North Korea
will face even more severe economic difficulties and the violent regime
of Kim Jong-un will be strengthened, creating a situation of even
greater social injustice and reducing the space for peace. This is the
reason why the Church in Korea is opposed to the deployment of THAAD and
calls for the suspension of economic sanctions against North Korea.