09/27/2010, 00.00
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Korean Catholics and Buddhists: organ donation against the culture of death

by Matteo Choi Seok Kyoon
A national network of donors and beneficiaries is founded, inviting Koreans to donate organs. The initiative born of the example of card. Kim, who before his death chose to donate his corneas. It aims to combat widespread materialism in Korean society.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - Following the example of the card. Stephen Kim Sou Hwan, Catholics, Buddhists and Korean doctors are promoting organ donation amongst the population, through the Korea Donate Life Network (Kodonet). Present in major cities across the country, the network aims to link donors and transplant beneficiaries and publicize the donation of organs. The opening ceremony of the Network was held last September 11 in Seoul, in front of Dong-Guk University, one of the most important Buddhist universities of Korea. The initiative was proposed by three NGOs: One Body, One Spirit Movement (Osoba), an organization of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul founded by card. Kim, the Buddhist-operated Share Life Association, and Vitallink, an organization of physicians specializing in organ transplantation.

Il-myon, Buddhist monk and Director of the Buddhist-operated Share Life Association says: "Donating an organ can be a great gesture of communion with which one offers the hope and dream of a new life to someone else." "I pray - he adds - so that the culture of organ donation will spread in our society through the creation of this network."

Don Augustine Min, Kyoung Il, chairperson of Osob, says that organ donation is "a beautiful way to end your life, because you share it with others". "So far –he adds - each of these three organizations has walked alone. But it is more important to work together instead of everyone developing their own movement. "

In South Korea, organ donation is not yet widespread. The choice of the card. Kim to donate his corneas after his death - 16 February 2009 - has generated a small change, however, at least among Catholics. From February to December 2009, more than 3,825 Koreans have chosen to register as donors, at the facility created by the archbishop of Seoul in front of the Myong Don Cathedral. At the inauguration of Kodonet, over 1000 people attended the march and hope to promote the sharing of life through organ donation.

A Catholic, who recently chose to register as a potential donor, said: "Development has not only brought well-being to Korea but also materialism, creating spiritual damage such as excessive competition, consumerism, the rise in suicides and abortions". "The Catholic Church in Korea - he continues – has for years been fighting this 'culture of death' in society through various initiatives and is trying to spread 'the culture of life'”. He points out that one of these initiatives is its campaign for organ donation. "Who is in a state of brain death - he adds – if he donates his organs, may give new life to seven people, and if he donates his eyes and cornea, he can show the world to two blind people."

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