08/04/2005, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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South Korea: Musical evenings aim to encourage people to have more children

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young

The evening shows are organised by a parish in Suwon diocese to promote more births. The national birth rate is among the lowest in the world.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – The Gwonseondong parish in Suwon diocese is holding a series of weekly concerts in support of the local pro-life movement. The concerts, held every Saturday, started on 16 July and will continue until 27 August. Proceeds will go to the Angelo Foundation of Love, a movement named after Mgr Angelo Kim Nam-su, who led Suwon diocese and dedicated himself to promoting the pro-life movement. Famous singers, Catholic and otherwise, have volunteered to participate in the shows. The parish priest, Fr John Lee Hun, said: "The concert is a good opportunity to bring together Catholics and the local community in a shared concern for the sacredness and dignity of human life, which is now under severe threat from all sides. Making the parish an open cultural space for all members of the local community, based on a theme as significant as respect for human life, is part of evangelization." The parish priest continued: "Having a third son is a special blessing from the Lord. I hope these evenings will be a small contribution towards a society which is more receptive to new births. I come from a large family; I have one brother and four sisters. When I was young, it was certainly not a shame for parents to have many children. Today, the trend is very different and many young couples would be ashamed to have many children."

The Angelo Foundation of Love is a pro-life movement in South Korea which lobbies for an increase of births in the country. The foundation also financially supports families with more than three children. Fr Lee promotes the pro-life movement at parish level, but he intends to expand it to all the local community to spread a pro-life mentality.

According to a study by the UN Population Fund, South Korea has a birth rate of 1.41 children per couple, one of the lowest in the world, compared to the average global rate of 2.92.

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