Leader of Korean Bishops Says 'We Must Be a Poor Church for the Poor'

Speaks About a Fund to Help Poor in Asia, Middle East

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The president of the episcopal conference of Korea has exhorted the Church to put the poor at core of its mission.

Archbishop of Gwangju, South Korea, Igino Kim Hee-Joong, who is in Rome for his bishops’ ad limina visit, said, “Our ministry now has a clear aim: to be a poor Church for the poor,” reported Fides.

Pope Francis’ visit to South Korea in August 2014, he said, “is a starting point for the change and renewal of the Korean Church.”

“This visit is very valuable for the Korean Church,” he said, “especially for us bishops who have the opportunity to renew our hearts.”

“Despite being a minority in Korea,” the archbishop said, “Catholics have good influence in society, thanks to social work and education. But today the emphasis is on being a poor Church and for the poor, as Pope Francis said.”

“This is why,” he underscored, “the bishops have created a special financial fund which will be used to help the poor, even for the benefit of other Churches of Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Central Asia.”

The president of the nation’s bishops said this approach is inspired by the mercy of the Gospel.

“Mercy,” he said, “means to have a heart open to all, not only for our brothers or within the Church, but also towards non-Christians, helping those in need, without distinction.”

Even toward countries such as China and North Korea, the head of Korean bishops concluded, “The Church in Korea continues its mission to be a bridge of evangelization for Asia.”

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