He spent the next 28 years serving as bishop of Cheongju, where he helped to establish Kkottongnae, the largest Catholic charitable organization in South Korea.
Cheong led the years-long effort to translate the 1983 Code of Canon Law into the Korean language and published more than 50 books during his lifetime, including 15 commentaries on canon law.
He served as president of the Korean bishops’ conference from 1996 to 1999.
St. John Paul II appointed him archbishop of Seoul and apostolic administrator of Pyongyang in 1998. Pope Benedict XVI made him a cardinal in 2006.
From 1998 to 2004, the cardinal was president of the Korean bishops’ conferences Commission for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, which worked toward bringing about the peaceful unification of the Korean peninsula.
He then launched the Catholic Life Committee in 2005 and advocated for investment in adult stem cell research.
The cardinal retired as archbishop of Seoul in 2012 but continued to write and publish books.
Pope Francis sent a telegram to Cardinal Yeom expressing his condolences upon the death of Cardinal Cheong.
“United with you in thanksgiving for Cardinal Jin-suk’s many years of service to the Church in Korea and to the Holy See, I join all assembled for the solemn funeral Mass in commending his noble soul to the compassionate love of Christ the Good Shepherd,” the pope wrote.
“To all who mourn the late cardinal’s passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Risen Lord.”