04/26/2013, 00.00
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South Korean bishops: New Martyrs and the fight against pedophilia, priorities for 2013

The Korean Bishops' Conference sends request to open a cause for the beatification of Msgr. Francis Hong and his companions, "witnesses of God" during the persecution of Kim Il-sung to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Guidelines for safeguarding children in the church against abuse also approved.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - New Martyrs, the fight against pedophilia and reconciliation with North: these were the main issues under discussion at the recent General Assembly of the Korean Bishops' Conference. Among the priorities established for the coming year is greater attention to the situation in North Korea, with the decision to submit to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints a cause of beatification for the bishop of Pyongyang and his companions, the other is the implementation of the guidelines against pedophilia presented by the Doctrine of the Faith to the Bishops of the whole world.

In the final document, the bishops drew up a "road map" for the Church's activities for the current year. "After discussing it - the text reads - the bishops decided to ask the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to open a cause for the beatification for Bishop Francis Borgia Hong Yong-ho and his 80 companions." He was the bishop of Pyongyang, indeed he is still listed as the titular bishop of the diocese in the Papal Yearbook although referred to as "disappeared."

It is the second request for a beatification cause to be sent to Rome for Catholics in the North after that of the Abbot Boniface Sauer and his 36 companions. The bishops also chose to start a cause for the  beatification of "John the Baptist Byeok Yi and his 132 companions" following their martyrdom in 800 for their witness to the Gospel.

However, ample space was given during the discussion to reconciliation between the two Koreas. The bishops have in fact reviewed and approved the official plan for the "Month of Prayer for the reconciliation and unity of the Korean people," organized by the Episcopal Commission for Korean Reconciliation presided over by Msgr. Peter Lee Ki-heon, which aims to "change the rigid perception of the people of North Korea." The attempt to organize a Joint Congress (North-South) of the Religions for Peace was also approved.

Finally, the Bishops' Conference has approved the decision to prepare the guidelines inside the country against clerical child sex abuse. It is a response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith request that - at the behest of Pope Benedict XVI - was sent to the bishops around the world to drew up policies that combat abuses on minors while calling for it to be implemented on a "national level" and put it into practice. The General Secretariat of the CBCK was commissioned to prepare the text to be sent to Rome for final approval. (JYL)


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