03/14/2014, 00.00
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Korea, records sales (even among non-Christians) for Evangelii Gaudium

by Pietro Kim Jaedeok
Since the publication in Korean two weeks ago, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation has sold 25 thousand copies compared to the usual quantity of 4 thousand for papal documents. Catholic publishing sources explain: "It’s because of the Pope's impending visit, but also to its simple language and its discussion of current issues such as social inequality".

Daejeon (AsiaNews) - The announcement of the pastoral visit of Pope Francis to South Korea has also sparked the curiosity of non-Christian Koreans who have chosen Evangelii Gaudium as a tool to better understand the Pope and the Catholic Church. The publication of the first apostolic exhortation of Francis in Korean (see photo) took place two weeks ago and since then has sold a record number of 25 thousand copies. Usually papal documents, local Catholic publishing sources explain, do not exceed 4 thousand copies.

A Catholic nun who works in the "Daughters of Paul" book shop explains: "Christians, Catholics but also Protestants and Anglicans, have come in droves to buy the book. Even non- Christians have begun to read it, and the announcement of the visit has boosted sales".

According to a Catholic newspaper, the publishing success of Evangelii Gaudium is down to several factors: on the one hand the Pope's' "easy and reader-friendly" language, on the other hand his strong criticism of social inequality, a very topical issue in the country. In Korea, the Hankook newspaper writes "today this inequality is felt not only on an economic level, but also a spiritual level".

Sister Kown, from the Pauline bookshop says: "Normally it is difficult to sell papal documents of, because there is a certain prejudice against these texts among Koreans: they consider them complicated, far removed from the life of the faithful. Instead this exhortation is seen as a letter, which speaks of current issues and explains how to live well in a normal language".

To further explore the text, the Seokang university - run by the Jesuits - has organized for tomorrow (March 15, 2014 ) a symposium on the theme "Gaudium Evangelii and the Church of Korea". The opening address will be given by the bishop of Jeju and president of the Korean Bishops Conference, Msgr. Peter Kang Woo -il, other speakers will include Jesuit priest Park Sanghoon and Fr. Park Dongho, chairman of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Seoul.


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