The archbishop of Seoul meets South Korea’s unification minister
Lee In-young praised the Catholic Church's commitment to reconciliation. Archbishop Chung, who is also apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, announced a “Synodal Path of Peace” for 2022 centred on memory, communication and communion, together as well as new humanitarian initiatives.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – The new archbishop of Seoul, Mgr Peter Chung Soon-taick, reiterated the Korean Catholic Church's commitment to peace in the peninsula by meeting South Korean Unification Minister Lee In-young. The ministry was created in 1969 to manage relations with North Korea.
Archbishop Chung is also apostolic administrator for Pyongyang. Since 1949 the Catholic Church has had no official presence in the Communist-ruled part of the country, following the arrest and subsequent death of Bishop Francis Hong Yong-ho.
Over the years, South Korean Catholics have kept alive the desire for unity between the two Koreas, nourishing it through solidarity initiatives promoted by the local Caritas, even north of the 38th parallel.
For the past 26 years, Mass has been celebrated every Tuesday evening in Seoul cathedral with the intention of reconciling the Korean people and showing closeness to the Christians of North Korea.
During the meeting at the archbishop's residence in Myeongdong, Archbishop Chung expressed the Church's gratitude to President Moon Jae-in for asking Pope Francis, on his recent visit to the Vatican, to pray for peace on the Korean peninsula.
For his part, Minister Lee thanked the Catholic Church for the assistance and humanitarian aid offered to North Korea through various channels and to North Korean refugees who fled to the South.
He also praised the initiatives of the Korean Church for peace education, such as the pilgrimage held every year with young people in the demilitarised zone along the 38th parallel.
Archbishop Chung also spoke to the minister about “The Korean Peninsula and the Synodal Path of Peace”, an initiative to be held this year centred on “memory, communication and communion”.
The prelate also asked the South Korean government to work with the Church on some new humanitarian assistance initiatives that it is organising for North Korea.