06/19/2015, 00.00
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Pope’s encyclical urges Korea to “rethink its development"

The president of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, Bishop. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, comments to AsiaNews on Laudato sì: "A fundamental text for our country and for the Asian continent, a practical roadmap to combine economic growth and respect for creation. Korean society takes it very seriously, now our task as the local Church is to study it and learn about it as much as possible. " The question of energy and industrial pollution "problems to be solved as soon as possible."

Daejeon (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis encyclical on ecology and care for creation "will push South Korea to rethink its development model, helping the country and the population to reach an ecological conversion which we desperately need. I can say with joy that my country has taken it very seriously: now it is up to the local church to study it and learn as much as possible from it" says Mgr. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, president of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, and Bishop of Daejeon.

The prelate met this morning with journalists of major newspapers in the headquarters of the Korean Bishops' Conference (see. Photo) to explain the contents of the encyclical: "There were many different opinions, but I can say with great satisfaction that all the reporters present were said very happy with Pope Francis’ text. For my part I wanted to thank the Pope and Cardinal. Turkson, who helped us to prepare ahead of its publication. "

The "Laudato sì: on care of our common home" is dense and full of practical recipes for ecological protection, "these are issues here that we take very seriously. We have so many problems related to the environment - I think the project of the four rivers, the energy issue, the development of nuclear power - and as a Church we become increasingly aware that the challenges we face, we cannot limit ourselves to just denouncing the situation. In the country there is still a lack of awareness of recycling, we are the 12th country in the world for density of pollutant emissions, we waste a lot of energy ... In short, we really contaminate the air and water. "

Some say that this is the price to pay for economic development: "This is wrong. Economic growth and environmental protection can coexist, but this requires an internal conversion by all of us. It is true that the State and the multinationals must inevitably make the most significant steps,  but often they have economic or political interests that are at odds with the harmony of creation. They first have to take the Pope’s invitation seriously. I believe we need to provoke real debate, real dialogue on these realities that is not just ideological. We must change the way we live our lives. "

To do so "would be enough to start with the little things, those that each of us does every day. Saving water when brushing your teeth, turning off electronic devices when not in use ... They seem minutiae but are important things, which if everyone practices then can really contribute to saving the world. "

In short, said Msgr. You, "we must consume less and create a new energy policy. This depends not only on government, but on  a shared political vision that unites us all. I think that the Pope's position on ecology is the key to Korea. The relationship between man and God, the relationship between men, the relationship between man and nature are three inherent realities of which, here in Asia, we are not yet fully aware. "

This morning, the bishop concludes, "a journalist asked me what the Church wants the Korean society to do with respect this encyclical. I replied that the Catholic community want this text to be taken seriously, as a gift and a warning that comes from our universal pastor. We want to keep the spirit and the soul of this text, and try to put them into practice. We are ready to do our part, and we will do everything to turn Francis’ invitation into a reality. "

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