Rome, Italy, Feb 17, 2009 / 09:05 am America/Denver (CNA).
Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou Hwan, South Korea’s first cardinal, passed away on Monday at the age of 86 after many years devoted to the Church in Seoul and the introduction of democracy. Pope Benedict has sent a telegram to Catholics in Seoul offering his condolences and prayers.
The late cardinal was known for his efforts to build up the Church in South Korea by reaching out to the youth, the working class and the educated. His advocacy for democracy was based on the Catholic faith and its understanding of God-given human rights.
According to his biography on his personal website, "He expressed his deep interest and grave concern for the repressed and the underprivileged and did not hesitate to speak out on the oppressive political situation."
Many South Koreans, including non-Catholics respected Cardinal Kim as the country's spiritual leader.
Cardinal Kim was hospitalized with frail health in October last year and fell into brief comas several times, Yonhap News reports.