02/04/2013, 00.00
KOREA

World Council of Churches calls on S Korean Christians to be God's peacemakers

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
WCC Chairman Dr Olav Fykse Tveit makes the plea during a visit to the Asian country ahead of the Council's next annual meeting in November. Believers must "make life together in peace on this peninsula possible again".

Seoul (AsiaNews) - South Korean Christians should be "peacemakers" in the peninsula, said Reverend Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, head of the World Council of Churches. "Peace is something radical, something that has to be told and has to be believed, so that it may become possible," he explained during a visit to Busan, South Korea, venue of the Council's next annual meeting next Fall.

Citing Psalm 85, Dr Tveit told an audience of Korean Protestants that "God will speak peace to his people" since "The Korean people have been longing for a final peace to be settled, a peace that can bring life together, make life together in peace on this peninsula possible again."

"We live in a time when life is threatened, when injustices in the world are a reality, even a threatening reality," he said, reflecting on the global need for peacemakers in places like Syria, Israel and Palestine.

War is not however the only threat to peace. As Benedict XVI said in his message for World Peace Day, "The difference between rich and poor is growing. The unemployment of young people is growing. The consequences of climate changes are disturbing, sometimes dangerous."

Yet, "God speaks peace to his people so that we can become peacemakers."

The World Council of Churches is set to meet in Busan from 30 October to 10 November 2013. Its guiding theme will be 'God of life, lead us to justice and peace'.

Christians represent 29.3 per cent of the South Korean population. The irreligious represent 47 per cent, whilst Buddhists are another 22 per cent. Catholics are 10.9 per cent, and their numbers have been constantly growing for the past ten years.

In the recent presidential elections, both leading candidates were Catholic. The winner, Park Geun-hye, said however that she was "non-practicing".

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