Friday, January 26, 2007

The Asian Church

Saint Polycarp, Bp of Smyrna
Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops

The newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam:

At the meetings, PM Dung informed the Pope Benedict and Cardinal Bertone about Vietnam's achievements after 20 years of implementing renovation policies aimed at openness and international integration.

PM Dung affirmed that the Communist Party and the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam have always respected democracy and the right to freely practise one's beliefs and religion, which have been written into laws, and consistently implementing them to facilitate the advancement of religious groups, considering this as an important element to ensure national unity.

All the other news stories out there say pretty much the same thing as far as there was a meeting, it lasted about half an hour, the PM met with Cardinal Bertone and everyone came away saying relations ought to improve.

Sandro Magister has up an interview with the Archbishop of Seoul from the CEI newspaper from November 22 of last year.

“Over the past ten years the Catholic Church in Korea has gone from less than three million faithful to over five million,” recounts cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, who has been archbishop of Seoul since 1998. “And vocations also continue to flourish. By now we are 10 percent of the population, the highest percentage in Asia after the Philippines and Vietnam. In Seoul, we make up 14 percent of the population, and we have launched an initiative called the Evangelization Twenty Twenty Movement, with the aim of reaching 20 percent by 2020. Particularly promising is missionary activity among the young soldiers, whose ranks have swelled to 18 percent Catholic as of last year.”

A: I think of the defense of human life beginning with conception, and of clear opposition to any attempt at genetic manipulation. Unfortunately, our country has become famous throughout the world for the activities of a pseudoscientist who manipulated more than two thousand embryos for research that turned out to be phony. Another challenge that our society and our Church are facing concerns the family. Currently, one marriage out of three ends in divorce after just three years. Not to mention the problem of young people besieged by a mass culture saturated with sex and violence. With respect to these issues, the Catholic Church in Seoul, but also in other places, is on the front line of spreading the Gospel and defending those Christian values that are so valuable for personal happiness, but also for harmonious coexistence.

Last but not least, Cardinal Zen's interview with the AP has been published by the International Herald Tribune. It is all worth reading, but this caught my attention as it applies not only to Vatican policy, but everyone's policy.

"I think in this moment the most important thing we have to do is to assess the situation, to assess what we have done in many years and realize that we must change strategy," he said. "Because in so many years we have accepted compromises which in the beginning were good and necessary, but after so many years we can see there is a bad side effect."

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