Archbishop of Gwangju: The Korean family is in ruins, we need answers from the Synod
Gwangju (AsiaNews) - The family, the basis of social peace and thus world peace, "is disintegrating because of selfishness, consumerism and the deterioration of traditional values. I expect realistic and concrete measures from the Synod hat has just ended and the one next year, before it is too late" comments the Archbishop of Gwangju, Msgr. Hyginus Kim Hee-jong, speaking to AsiaNews. He adds: "We need answers for the inter-Korean conflict, which is getting worse."
According to the prelate, South Korea has several problems, first of the deterioration of the family: "In the past, Korea had a beautiful tradition that of helping each other in the family and the extended family structure. However, the traditional extended family system is breaking up owing to rapid industrial development and economic growth. The high-tech gizmos are all around and many people have struggled greatly to get jobs as well. With this background, the nuclear family is now spreading to all parts of society".
The situation is, in fact, more serious than people might think. The number of senior citizens living alone reached 1 million last year, up 25 % from 2006. This vertical growth can no doubt be attributed to the rapid disintegration of families and aging population. In this social atmosphere of economism, the family communities are dissolving and divorce rate is also rising rapidly. It is because the family values on the basis of love and sacrifice have taken a back seat and the society has changed into egoistic competitive society".
In this sense, he adds, the Synod on the Family that has just ended and the one scheduled for October 2015 "come up with substantial and realistic measures and also reestablish the value of family community and meaning of marriage so that we all realize again the fact that 'Peace of Family' is the peace of society and basis of world peace at the same time".
The theme of peace is deeply felt on the peninsula, still formally at war and divided in two after the conflict of the 1950's. Even so, Msgr. Kim, says "The current situation of Korean relationship is steadily getting worse and worse. The reason is, the South and the North of Korea are now distrustful of each other. The country that considers itself stronger than the other should make a concession. I think it is a betrayal for the people who have intense aspirations for reconciliation and peace of South and North that put their self-esteem or strength before benefits and future of people. Moreover, complicated dynamic international politics and geopolitical reason between four powerful nations which surrounding Korea can be a great factor of this situation".
In this context, he concludes, "I believe that the Korean Church should make more effort to improve the relationship between two countries. We are of course providing humanitarian aids to help North Korean residents through various channels. But I consider that we are still not doing enough for inter-Korean reconciliation and peaceful coexistence freely because of Government restrictions on this issue. However, I strongly think that the Korean Church have to do our best with the people in this situation". (VFP)