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Chunchon bishop in 'peace building' plea

Defensive position is 'not the way' to break down barriers between the two Koreas

Bishop Lucas Kim Woon-hoe Bishop Lucas Kim Woon-hoe
  • ucan staff, Seoul
  • Korea
  • June 10, 2011
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A Catholic bishop has issued a call to "build peace" rather than maintain a "defensive peace" with regard to relations between the two Koreas, especially at a time when ties are extremely frosty.

Koreans are facing their biggest crisis since the peninsula split in 1945, said Bishop Lucas Kim Woon-hoe of Chunchon yesterday in a statement.

There has been increasing enmity between the two countries in recent years, the president of the Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea added.

However, "while we dwell on this and do nothing, others in Europe and the US are planning to send food aid to North Korea after noting that people there are under severe threat of starvation," he said.

North Koreans’ basic right to life must be considered first as they are dying of hunger, he urged.

He said the two Koreas need to find a "positive peace doctrine" to understand and accept each other rather than maintain a "negative one" with which to defend themselves.

To this end he asked Catholics to pray, forgive and reconcile and love one another.

He said the committee will hold a special Mass for peace on the Korean peninsula on June 17 in Imjingak, just south of the Demilitarized Zone.

On June 19, all parishes in South Korea will hold their annual Mass for Prayer Day for the Reconciliation and Unity of Korean People.

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