The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) held its 2021 Spring General Assembly at the Conference Hall of the Catholic Conference of Korea (CCK) from March 8 to 11, 2021 and made the following decisions:
1. The bishops decided that the Catholic Church in Korea would join the Movement for Sharing Vaccines with Poor Countries as requested by the dioceses of Seoul, Suwon, Daejeon, Chunchon, and the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea, which are participating in the Movement. This Movement is a part of the celebration for the Jubilee of the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of St. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn and preparation for the beatification and canonization of the Venerable Servant of God Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop. During COVID-19, this Movement encourages people to make donations for poor countries where vaccines are most needed. The collected contributions will be sent to the Pope and, in turn, they will be given to poor countries in need of vaccines.
- 2. The bishops decided to issue a statement in the name of the Korean bishops expressing concern about the current tragic situation in Myanmar. Hoping that no more victims will be claimed, they wanted to show solidarity with Myanmar.
- 3. The bishops approved the revision of the Guidance for Catechesis in the Catholic Church in Korea, submitted by the CBCK Committee of Catechesis (President: Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man). The Committee commenced its revision of the Guidance, approved at the 2005 Spring General Assembly of the CBCK, so that The General Directory for Catechesis, published by the Congregation for the Clergy in 1997, could be better adapted to the Guidance. In its revised Guidance, the Committee endeavored to grasp and reflect the reality of catechesis as found in the contemporary Catholic Church in Korea and Korean society.
- 4. The bishops decided to make greater efforts, at the level of the entire Catholic Church in Korea, to provide pastoral care to migrant workers during 2021 because of their difficult situation as a socially disadvantaged group. Migrant workers in urban and rural areas often find themselves in a blind spot for human rights. In addition, the pandemic has hit their working and living conditions hard and exacerbated xenophobia. Consequently, there is likely to be an increase in related issues of prejudice, inequality, and infringement of human rights for migrants in Korea. Accordingly, the bishops decided that the Catholic Church in Korea should pay more attention to migrant workers during these difficult times by providing them with better pastoral care.
- 5. The bishops elected eight bishop delegates to participate in the Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC) to be held in the Archdiocese of Bangkok, Thailand on May, 2022. The elected delegates are: H.E. Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon (President of the CBCK), Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man, Most Rev. John Baptist Jung Shin-chul, Most Rev. John Kim Sontae, and Most Rev. Peter Chung Soon-Taick. They also elected the Most Rev. Joseph Son Sam-seok as a substitute delegate. The assembly, originally scheduled to be held in 2020 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the FABC, was postponed until 2022 because of COVID-19.
- 6. The bishops appointed Rev. Timothy Jung Yeon-Jung, new Rector of the Pontifical Korean College in Rome, as Postulator in Rome for the Cause of the Beatification of the Venerable Servant of God Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop; the Cause of the Beatification of the Servants of God John Baptist Yi Byeok and 132 Companions; and the Cause of the Beatification of the Servants of God Francis Borgia Hong Yong-ho and 80 Companions.
- 7. The bishops appointed Rev. Stephanus Lee Cheol Soo, Priest of Suwon Diocese, ordained in 1990, as the new Secretary General of the CBCK and the CCK.
- 8. The bishops elected a number of Chairmen of the CBCK Episcopal Commissions and Presidents of the CBCK National Committees as follows:
1) Newly Elected Chairmen of the Episcopal Commissions:
- Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs: Most Rev. John Baptist Jung Shin-chul
- Episcopal Commission for Mission & Pastoral Care: Most Rev. Joseph Son Sam-seok
- Special Episcopal Commission for the Reconciliation of the Korean People: Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-heon
* For reference, the Most Rev. Ga- briel Chang Bong-hun was elected as member Bishop of the Episcopal Commission for Doctrine.
2) Newly Elected Presidents of the National Committees:
- Committee for Bioethics: Most Rev. John Baptist Moon Hee Jong
- Committee for Justice & Peace, Subcommittee for Labor Pastoral Care, and Subcommittee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment: Most Rev. John Kim Sontae
- Committee for Culture & Art: Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon
- Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People: Most Rev. Simon Kim Ju-young
- Committee for Commemoration of Martyrs & Pastoral Care of Pilgrimages: Most Rev. Constantine Bae Ki-hyen
- Committee for Foreign Mission Work and Pastoral Care of Overseas Koreans: Most Rev. Stephanus Han Jung Hyun
3) Moderator in charge of Health Pastoral Care: Most Rev. Titus Seo Sang-Bum