07/17/2012, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Frenzy and overconsumption must be stopped, S Korean bishops say

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
Speaking on Farmers' Day, Mgr Ri, president of Peace and Justice Commission, called on believers to take care of the world "God created". Overconsumption and waste of natural resources must stop. The US-South Korean Free Trade "pact must be revised" because as it stands it "could create new social imbalances in our country" and harm the weak.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - "God created the world on the basis of justice. The creator gave each one of us according to our needs. Human frenzy leads to overconsumption." For this reason, "We must go back to God's justice in farming," said Mgr Matthew Ri Iong-hoon in a message to Catholic farmers on Farmers' Day (15 July).

For the bishop of Suwon, who is also president of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Korean Bishops' Conference, "God created the world on the basis of justice and equity, to guarantee sufficient resources to all." However, "We have used them up. Hence, we have famine, energy crises and an urban-rural divide, which are against God's will and must be corrected."

In his message titled 'My father is the vine grower,' the bishop attacked the controversial US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement that came into effect in March after it was signed two years.

"The pact must be revised for the good of the weak since it threatens access to natural resources and could create new social imbalances in our country."

The free trade agreement has elicited major protests. Under its terms, South Korean growers and pig farmers are required to sell their product to the government first at a fixed price for sale in the United States.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets against this clause, which would place parts of farm sector under de facto government control, but failed to have it changed.

For the prelate, Catholics must be conscious of the importance of rehabilitating rural areas. "We must build a community based on solidarity like the earliest Christian communities. This campaign helps build true communion between rural and urban communities, sharing basic goods and Christ's values."

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