04/28/2021, 12.46
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Card. Nicholas Cheung, archbishop emeritus of Seoul, has died

He was 90 years old. He was bishop of Cheongju (1979) and then of Seoul, as well as apostolic administrator of Pyongyang. Always dedicated to evangelization, care for the poor, the dignity of life, religious freedom. Thanks to his work - and to that of Card. Kim, his predecessor - the Korean Church has grown to 10% of the population.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - Card. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, who was archbishop of Seoul from 1998 to 2012, has died. The 90-year-old cardinal was hospitalized at St Mary's Hospital in the capital.

His life’s work was dedicated himself to evangelization, to care for the poor, to the dignity of life, to religious freedom.

Card. Cheong (left in the photo) was born in Seoul in 1931 and became a priest in 1961. In June 1970 he was appointed bishop of Cheongju by Pope Paul VI. In 1998 John Paul II appointed him archbishop of Seoul, as successor of Card. Stefano Kim Sou-hwang (right in the photo), a great architect of the Church’s commitment to democracy in Korea.

Pope Benedict XVI made him a cardinal in 2006.

Card. Nicholas Cheung was always committed to the fight against South Korean social inequality, demanding a policy "closer to human beings and more attentive to the weak segment of the population".

As bishop of Cheongju he founded the "Kkottongnae (Flower Village)", the most important body of the Korean Church for aid to the poor.

He also entered the debate on stem cell research, when experiments on embryonic stem cells were being carried out in his country and created a "Fund for Life" aimed at raising money for research on adult stem cells, also launching groups dedicated to the "Dignity of human life".

As Archbishop of Seoul, he was also apostolic administrator of Pyongyang (North Korea). Through the sending of aid, attempts at dialogue, visits, he has tried to open even minimal spaces for religious freedom in the North, mobilizing the Catholics of the South in prayer campaigns and the collection of aid for North Korea.

Having become archbishop emeritus (10 May 2012), he spent his time writing books on spirituality and editing - having a degree in canon law - the Code of canon law in Korean, with annotations.

Thanks to his work - and that of Card. Kim, his predecessor - the Korean Catholic Church has grown in faithful, reaching 10% of the population of the South (in the 1960s they were 1%).

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