03/30/2006, 00.00
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Card. Cheong: "I will do my utmost to host next WYD in Korea"

The new cardinal has proposed the Korean peninsula as a candidate to host World Youth Day. "It would be very useful for new vocations among youth, who may consider the north as a field for their ministry."

Rome(AsiaNews) – Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, has said he will "do everything possible" to have Korea host the next World Youth Day (WYD), "one of the biggest events organized by the Catholic Church".

In an interview with Chosun Ilbo, the neo-cardinal said: "If South Korea manages to host World Youth Day, we would naturally invite the pope to come to visit our entire country."

WYD takes places every two years in a different continent. Last August, more than one million youth from around the world attended the event in Cologne. The next is fixed for 2008 in Sydney, Australia. The event was only held once in Asia, in Manila in 1995.

"It is important to emphasize that having the WYD in Korea could give a considerable boost also to priestly vocations among youth, who may consider the north of the country as a field for their ministry," continued the Cardinal.

 "Any missionary work in North Korea is such a difficult job because both sides have to agree on the issue, and I need to know what Pyongyang's position on my becoming a cardinal is." But he promised to make all efforts possible to ensure the presence of resident priests in the Stalinist nation.

Mgr Cheong also commented about economic scandals that recently hit South Korea, in connection with the alleged corruption of the management of Hyundai and other multi-nationals, involving the lobbyist, Kim Jae-rok. "The problem is that people are becoming too greedy and too attached to money. I have tried to get the message across again and again that we need to be reasonable in life rather than pushing things too fast."

This was the stand taken by the cardinal even about the rise and fall of Professor Hwang Woo-suk, the "cloning pioneer" who fell into disgrace. "We have been too focused on progress," he said. "We need to take a rest to recover our breath."

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