ucanews.com reporter, Seoul
Updated: March 21, 2019 06:02 AM GMT
Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung addresses the annual spring Mass for Catholic congressmen on March 14. He urged all political leaders to abolish the death penalty and also spoke out against abortion. (Photo from Archdiocese of Seoul)
The archbishop of Seoul has reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s pro-life stance as South Korean lawmakers prepare to make crucial decisions on abortion and the death penalty.
Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung told the Youth Pro-Life Rally in Seoul on March 16 that human life is noble, honorable and dignified from the moment of conception.
“What we should do is to accept every life as it is from the moment of conception under the responsibility of both father and mother at the same time. Moreover, given that every life is under the common responsibility of our society, we should try to improve overall social welfare systems to support parents to give birth and raise their children.”
About 1,000 Korean youths and church leaders, including Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, apostolic nuncio to Korea, took part in the rally organized by the Committee for Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) in cooperation with the Organizing Committee for March for Life Korea.
On March 14, at a spring Mass for Catholic congressmen, Cardinal Yeom once again stressed the Church’s pro-life doctrine.
“Babies from the state of embryos should be protected and respected as independent beings, not regarded as possessions of either mothers or fathers. Human dignity cannot be decided by majority vote or judged by socioeconomic standards,” he said.
The 75-year-old cardinal also spoke about the death penalty, referring to the message of Pope Francis at the World Congress against the Death Penalty in February.
“Human life is the most important and fundamental gift, which is a source of all human rights. The death penalty is a serious insult and sin to this fundamental right to life for everyone. I urge all political leaders and government associates to take steps to completely abolish the death penalty in each country,” Cardinal Yeom said.
In 1996 and 2010, the Constitutional Court ruled that the death penalty does not violate the South Korean constitution. The CBCK filed a constitutional appeal in February calling for the abolition of the death penalty and is awaiting the court’s decision.
While the Constitutional Court is also expected to announce its decision on the constitutionality of the abortion law in early April, voices in support of legalizing it are growing.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea on March 15 submitted a statement to the court saying that criminal penalties for women who undergo abortion, as well as doctors who perform them, are unconstitutional. It said the current law on abortion violates the right to self-determination.
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