Appeal of the Catholic Church in Korea for Peace on the Korean Peninsula
“Let us walk in the light of the Lord!” (Is 2,5)
In the face of the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula where tensions are running high, the Catholic Church in Korea would like to present an appeal for peace as follows:
1. We appeal to the authorities of North and South Korea
Since North Korea test-fired Hwasong-14 missile in July, the tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been drastically escalated. North Korea’s nuclear test is clearly a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions. It is also an act of threat to peace in Northeast Asia, inciting the neighboring countries of Korea to nuclear armament. The Catholic Church in Korea strongly denounces North Korea’s recent provocations, and rejects all movements which escalate tensions, and undermine peace on the Korean Peninsula. The ultimate and genuine peace on the Korean Peninsula can never be achieved by nuclear armament. Therefore we urge the authorities of North and South Korea to open dialogue for peace and to cooperate with the surrounding countries of Korea in search of a stable system to guarantee peace on the Korean Peninsula.
2. We appeal to the authorities of the neighboring countries of the Korean Peninsula
Even a casual talk on the possibility of war which sacrifices innocent lives should be considered itself a verbal violence against humanity. A reckless military clash which manifests barbarism and madness will inevitably lead to countless casualties and mutual destructions, leaving degeneration and indelible scars in human history. Therefore, the Catholic Church in Korea urges all the related countries around the Korean Peninsula to make no mistake; war frustrates the universal love for humanity, and the spiritual and ethical progress of humanity. We sincerely ask all of them to resolve this crisis in a mature and peaceful manner, so that they can contribute to achieving one of the most essential goals of diplomacy and politics: peaceful coexistence of humanity.
3. We appeal to Korean people
The spread of nuclear armament is an act of evil, fundamentally threatening peace in the world as well as on the Korean Peninsula. The outbreak of war will bring out nothing but irreparable destructions and scars to our people. Peace on the Korean Peninsula cannot be guaranteed by nuclear armament and military reinforcement. A true peace on the Korean Peninsula can be achieved only when we strive for justice through dialogue, pursuing reconciliation and mutual development of the Korean people; “Justice will bring about peace” (Is 32,17). Our people should restrain the evil power which creates the recent crisis. The astronomical sums of money that North and South Korea have spent on the armaments should be cut down. Instead it should be used to develope human ability, relieve human pain, and enrich culture. In this sense, our people must pool every strength with one accord for justice and peace on the Korean Peninsula and all over the world.
4. We appeal to Christians and the whole world
Peace on the Korean Peninsula can function as a balance weight for international peace and stability beyond that of the Northeast Asia. The current situation on the Korean Peninsula demands our collective efforts to awaken our conscience and use our intelligence in the spirit of solidarity, compassion, cooperation and respect. We must not overlook this crisis with indifference and silence. Let us draw our collective wisdom to get to the bottom of this problem and so resolve it with our intelligence, conscience, and ethical and critical thinking. We also appeal especially to all the people who are called to participate in God's work of creation and salvation. The realization of denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula can be a turning point, making it possible for future generations to dream of the world based on justice, love, and respect for all creation. Let us pray and act together in solidarity so that all conflict zones, including the Korean Peninsula, may be transformed into the place where “they shall beat their swords into plowshares.” We should show solidarity through prayers and action, so that the light of God’s justice and love may chase away the shadow of animosity and conflict among us.
Especially on this occasion of Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15, we encourage the faithful Catholics in Korea to implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to bring peace on the Korean Peninsula. We also hope all the faithful to resume their work for peace. We desperately ask our brothers and sisters in the world for their care, prayers, discernment, and cooperation to resolve this crisis on the Korean Peninsula peacefully. The Catholic Church in Korea will pray and work together for this intention.
“Lord, have mercy on us! Grant us peace, Amen.”
August 15, 2017
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and the 72nd anniversary of Korea’s Independence Day
+ Peter Lee Ki-heon + Lazzaro You Heung-sik
Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People Committee for Justice & Peace
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea