04/18/2006, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Christ's resurrection "prompts believers to respect life"

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young

In a message published for Easter, the Korean bishops underlined the importance of the Eucharist, a "privileged meeting place with Jesus" and urged "each and every Catholic to reject those unethical techniques that go against man, God's creation".

Seoul (AsiaNews) – A pro-life culture and spiritual renewal were the main themes of a message issued by the Korean bishops on Easter Sunday. "Christ's resurrection is the salvation that shows us the path towards eternal life. Catholics must respect life in all its forms in order to transform this gesture into good news for the whole world."

The neo-cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, wrote: "The sacrament of the Eucharist is a privileged meeting place with the risen Christ. One of the best ways to live in the Eucharistic spirit in every day life is by respect for life and man, created by God. From this perspective, it is important to reject all those unethical acts aimed at its destruction, like abortion, euthanasia and murder."

Mgr Paul Choi Deok-ki, bishop of Suwon, expressed a similar mind view urging worshippers "to be of good example and to participate in pro-life campaigns, in movements for adoption and those against the abolition of the death penalty.

The pro-life crusade is one of the war cries of the Korean church that has often voiced opposition to the research of the "cloning pioneer", Hwang Woo-suk about cloning embryonic stem cells, and against the national increase in abortions. In an interview with AsiaNews soon after his recent appointment, Cardinal Cheong announced this would be a main focus of his commitment as leader of the Archdiocese of Seoul, saying the issue "even had government approval".

The Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun, has announced a meeting with the cardinal and other bishops on Friday 21 April, for an official dinner "of congratulations for the new cardinal's appointment and discussions with Catholic leaders about the situation of the country".

Other than the archbishop of Seoul, the Cardinal Emeritus Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, will be present, as well as Mgr Augustine Cheong Myong-jo, bishop of Pusan and president of the Korean bishops' Conference and Mgr  Andreas Choi Chang-mou, archbishop of Kwangju.

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