CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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Korean peace-sharing forum

SEOUL (SE): The Third Korean Peninsula Peace-sharing Forum was held at the Catholic University of Seoul on September 1 under the topic, Human Dignity and Peace, Paving the Way for the Korean Peninsula
 
Hosted by National Reconciliation Committee of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul, it brought together major Catholic leaders from countries in Asia including Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang; apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb; Oswald Cardinal Gracias of Mumbai; Luis Cardinal Tagle of Manila; Charles Cardinal Maung Bo of Yangon, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw of Lahore, and other Asian religious leaders as well as the South Korea’s minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Do Jong-hwan. 
 
Cardinal Yeom pointed out in his keynote speech that when Pope Francis visited Korea in 2014, he said that Christian community in Asia is such a small group of people but has a mission to spread the light of gospel to the ends of the earth and emphasised that the realisation of true humanity and evangelisation must occur in each region in Asia through the solidarity and cooperation of Asian Church. 
 
The forum was divided into two morning and two afternoon sessions.
 
Speaking during the first of two sessions on Human Dignity, Cardinal Gracias pointed out, “It is the need of the hour that we create a culture of peace in the world. The protection and promotion of human rights is essential not only for the individual good but also for the common good and as we commit ourselves to be bridge builders, we say a convinced and wholehearted yes to the building of solidarity among nations and a resolute not to all that brings division among people.” 
 
Cardinal Tagle added, “Each one of us finds his or her identity in relationship with the others. So it is peace! Peace is a profound relationship … and comes when you are with God, neighbour and creation.” 
 
Cardinal Bo, in the second session, highlighted how peace can never be accomplished without respect for human dignity, as shown by his personal experiences in Myanmar.
 
“Many times we must not be silent. For the sake of those who are suffering in poverty, conflict and injustice, those who are displaced, those who are refugees, those who are trafficked, those who mourn, we must be their voice, he said, adding, “The Church is the guardian of human dignity. The Church is a community that speaks for the weak and the vulnerable. Speaking of uncomfortable truths is part of the mandate of the Church today.”
 
Archbishop Francis Shaw stressed, “Many episodes of religious hatred are the consequence of fanaticism.” 
 
He added: “I always tell my faithful that we were born in Pakistan and that God has a special plan for us, otherwise we would have been born some other place, so we must be brave and not lose hope, we are the peacemakers and healers of society. “ 
 
The archbishop of Lahore also reports that they are trying to solve these problems by undertaking a courageous religious dialogue with other religious authorities.
 
In the afternoon sessions participants discussed the topics of Life In Oneness and Life in Peace, tackling matters affecting South Korea today from multicultural families, the resettlement of North Korean refugees and the growing gap between the rich and poor.
 
Participants were also slated to visit the peace village of Panmunjom, on the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.

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