Loading
By Catholic News Agency's Vatican Observer, Andrea Gagliarducci
Church's witness in South Korea has converted many, bishop says
Bishop Mario Toso, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who travelled to South Korea last month. Credit: Marta Jimenez/CNA.
Bishop Mario Toso, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who travelled to South Korea last month. Credit: Marta Jimenez/CNA.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The vitality of the Church in South Korea is behind the many conversions that have taken place in the nation which Pope Francis is set to visit Aug. 13-18, according to a Salesian bishop.

Bishop Mario Toso, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, visited South Korea June 21-26 to give lectures on Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” in the nation's archdioceses: Kwangju, Daegu, and Seoul.

Bishop Toso told CNA July 2 that he was “profoundly stricken by the interest and love of the Korean Church for poor and those who suffer. I was especially struck by priests who advocate for the weakest people and share their pain in different social contexts.”

This commitment “proves that Korean priests are a good example of what Pope Francis said: ‘Priests must go to peripheries, be a shepherd with the smell of the sheep.”

“I could personally witness that the Catholic Church is a sort of ‘hook’ for poor and unemployed people in South Korea,” Bishop Toso recounted.

Catholics in South Korea represent 12 percent of the population. Despite the fact Catholics are a minority, they are a strong community, which includes at least 30 parliamentarians.

Bishop Toso recounted that “secular, I would say secularist, media depict the Church in Korea as a conservative community, and one on the side of the government and the rich.”

“I could highlight in my lectures and I personally saw,” he said, however, “that the Catholic community in Korea is strongly committed to the announcement of the Gospel and Jesus,” and that this is “a revolutionary step, since the presentation of Jesus faces the dominant culture – in Korea as well as in the rest of world – of a materialism and consumerism ready to adore the idol of money and to consider the weakest people as useless.”

The bishop said the Church in Korea has been “very much on the side of the people” during social difficulties in recent years; he also recounted saying Mass for the unemployed of the country.

“There was great participation. And among the participants, there were atheists. After the celebration, they told me that they were very stricken by the words of the Mass, 'only say the word and my soul shall be healed.’ When we took a picture all together, everybody wanted to hold, to shake my hands. This proved to me that people are looking for the Church, because the Church in Korea is very close to the people.”

Because of this proximity, Bishop Toso said, “many have converted in recent years … I could experience that many people have converted in the course of the years.”

The Catholic population of South Korea has grown rapidly, having been around 0.6 percent of the population in 1949, and 10.9 percent by 2010.

Tags: South Korea, Bishop Toso, Pope in Korea

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
21

Liturgical Calendar

October 21, 2014

Tuesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:35-38

Gospel
Date
10/21/14
10/20/14
10/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 2: 12-22
Gospel:: Lk 12: 35-38

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/21/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:35-38

Homily
Date
10/21/14
10/20/14
10/19/14