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.

.- 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: Bishop Toso


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

#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Jul
28

Liturgical Calendar

July 28, 2014

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:31-35

Gospel
Date
07/28/14
07/27/14
07/26/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 13: 1-11
Gospel:: Mt 13: 31-35

Saint of the Day

St. Victor I, Pope »

Saint
Date
07/27/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:31-35

Homily
Date
07/28/14
07/27/14
07/26/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: