02/01/2006, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA – VATICAN

The encyclical "comforts the Korean Church, forced into silence in the North"

Msgr. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of  Seoul and Apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, tells AsiaNews: "The Pope was thinking of Asia when he wrote Deus caritas est, because  the people of Asia need to learn how to distinguish the different faces of Love".

Seoul (AsiaNews) – Charity is "the true centre of God's love" and the Pope "explained this very well in his encyclical; that the Church must at times carry out its mission of love in silence, as happens in North Korea". With these words Msgr. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul and President of the only Korean Bishops Conference commented on the first encyclical by Benedict XVI, Deus caritas est.

"The Holy Father – say the prelate, who is also Apostolic administrator in Pyongyang – gives us great comfort when he says that it is important to carry out the Church's mission in silence, because that is what we do in the northern part of the peninsula".  "Cooperating with Caritas Hong Kong – he explains – the Korean section does all that it can for our brothers and sisters on the other side of the border.  We help the North Korean population in many ways, but the Papal reference is fundamental and it gives us comfort in our work because we are often forced by circumstance beyond our control to carry out our mission on the "underground" . "We give all the help we can and we hope that this gets to the people who need it most".  

"It is important – adds Msgr Cheong – the clear and precise explanation of the meaning of agape, eros and charity. Now Koreans understand the difference between these concepts and that it is really charity that is at the centre of all Love".  "I believe – he concludes – that our Holy Father thought of Asia as he wrote this encyclical, because the people of Asia are those who have the greatest need to understand the difference between the various forms of love: this concept, the Pope explained very well indeed".

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Pyongyang and Rome: no one knows the fate of the bishops of North Korea
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Pope: encyclical "Deus Caritas Est", dedicated to the single source of love
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