Skip to content

South Korean bishop: Before Pope Francis plans a trip, some things in North Korea should change

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By (CNA/EWTN)
10/11/2018 (8 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

There must be "some sort of religious freedom" in North Korea before a papal visit to Pyongyang, a South Korean bishop said Thursday.

Highlights

By (CNA/EWTN)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
10/11/2018 (8 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: South Korean bishop, Pope Francis, North Korea


Vatican City, (CNA) - Bishop Yoo Heung Sik of Daejeon, who has made multiple trips to North Korea on behalf of the South Korean Bishops Conference, originally welcomed the news that South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong Un had discussed inviting Pope Francis to visit the DPRK during their meeting in late-September.

"It would be a giant step forward for peace on the Korean peninsula," Bishop Yoo told reporters at an Oct. 11 Vatican press conference.

The bishop cautioned that "in order for him [Pope Francis] to go there, some things in North Korea should change."

"For example, there are no priests in North Korea," he continued.

Pyongyang was once referred to as the "Jerusalem of the East" and was considered a center of Christianity in Northeast Asia.

Just before the Korean War broke in 1950, most of the priests in North Korea were captured, killed, or disappeared, according to the Korean Bishops Conference. The beatification process has begun for 40 monks and sisters of Tokwon Benedictine Abbey who were martyred by the Communists.

In 1988, the "Korean Catholic Association" created by the Communist government registered 800 members. This association is not recognized by the Vatican, but is one of three state-sponsored churches that operate in North Korea under strict supervision of the Communist authorities.

Mass is occasionally celebrated in Pyongyang's Changchung Cathedral when a foreign priest is on an official visit to the country, but on Sundays a liturgy of the word is usually celebrated by state-appointed layperson. The Catholic See of Pyongyang is vacant and the last bishop was appointed in March 1944. There are no native Catholic clerics in North Korea.

North Korea has consistently been ranked the worst country for persecution of Christians by Open Doors. Christians within the atheist state have faced arrest, re-education in labor camps, or, in some cases, execution for their faith.

A United Nations investigation in 2014 produced a 372-page report that documented crimes against humanity, including execution, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, forced abortions, and knowingly causing prolonged starvation.

The U.S. State Department estimates that there are currently an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 people in North Korea's six political prison camps.

On June 12, President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un met in Singapore and signed a joint-statement making commitments "to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula."

Human rights were "discussed relatively briefly compared to denuclearization," according to President Trump, who also said that North Korea's abduction of Japanese citizens and the regime's persecution of Christians were brought up in his 45 minute conversation with Kim.

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea to discuss details for a second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim to continue negotiation of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, according to the State Department.

If President Trump helps Koreans achieve "a peaceful, united Korea" then "he will become an American president who makes history working for world peace," Bishop Yoo told CNA.

The South Korean bishop said that the de-escalation of nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula this year is "thanks to the Holy Spirit."


Comments


More Europe

Vatican's doctrinal office expected to release document on gender theory Watch

Image of

The Vatican's doctrinal office is preparing a document which will address Church teaching and the anthropology of the human person in the ... continue reading


Vatican Secretary of State marks 25 years of diplomatic relations with Israel Watch

Image of

 Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin marked the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and ... continue reading



Christians must sow hope among the poor, pope says Watch

Image of

Pope Francis challenged Catholics to be a source of hope for those in poverty, especially in the face of divisions in wealth and a ... continue reading


Francis tells his ambassadors not to criticize him behind his back Watch

Image of

Pope Francis sent a message to apostolic nuncios Thursday informing his ambassadors that they have a responsibility as papal ... continue reading


Chartres Pentecost pilgrimage draws 14,000 Watch

Image of

More than 14,000 Catholics walked 62 miles from Paris to Chartres Cathedral in three days in an annual Pentecost pilgrimage of prayer and ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.