04/12/2006, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA - NORTH KOREA

Korean Church: a new cathedral rises on border with north

Joseph Yun Li-sun

The place of worship "is intended to be a tangible sign of the desire to live in full and lasting peace with our brothers in the north".

Seoul (AsiaNews) – The Korean Catholic Church is building a new Cathedral 10km south of the border dividing the peninsula: it is a sign, expressed in this Easter season, of the wish for reunification and peace between the two Koreas. "The new place of worship, like the Resurrection of Christ we celebrate at Easter, is intended to be a tangible sign of the desire to live in full and lasting peace with our brothers in the north," a Catholic source from the Seoul Archdiocese told AsiaNews.

The as yet unnamed Cathedral will be completed within two years and is set to be dedicated to "reconciliation and peace". The source continued: "In the time we were divided, the citizens of both south and north committed sins: we hope they can be cancelled out through prayer and pardon."

Alongside the Cathedral, the Catholic Church has started construction of a Unification Centre that will "serve to welcome refugees from the north, but also to prepare lay people, especially youth, for eventual reunification". The source added: "We hope to be able to launch courses aimed at the younger brackets of the population, to avoid the situation that came about in Germany after the fall of the Wall: we must educate people to be altruistic and understanding, or else we risk ending up with millions of social outcasts." The centre "will also undertake to integrate refugees, with a special section taking care of their education if they are youths, and the search for new employment for adults."

For the moment, "it is impossible to do anything for Catholics in the north who officially do not exist. Our commitment is dedicated exclusively to humanitarian aid. For Easter, delivery of food aid will be more generous than usual."

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