Catholic Hospital Opens in North Korea

RASON, North Korea, AUG. 23, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Rason International Catholic Hospital has opened in this town in Hamgyeongbuk-do province.

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The hospital was built with the assistance of the Catholic International Cooperation Medical Service and thanks to the cooperation between the Congregation of St. Ottilien of the Benedictine Order and the Catholic Church in Korea, according to AsiaNews.

The three-story building covers an area of 25,000 square meters and is equipped with facilities for medical diagnosis and treatment. It has 100 beds and employs 80 doctors, nurses and medical staff.

«Catholic hospitals give hope for peace and cooperation. I hope that this hospital also can pave a way for further cooperation,» Benedictine Abbot Notker Wolf.

«It is a happy occasion that a hospital can open in North Korea with the concern and assistance of the Church,» said Archbishop Paul Ri Moun-hi of Daegu, South Korea, and head of the Catholic Foundation that funded the project.

There is no religious freedom in North Korea, and the food and health situation of the population is disastrous.

Archbishop Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul, who is also the apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, appealed on Aug. 17 for religious freedom in the North, saying that it would «go along with socioeconomic improvements in the country.»

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