Seoul - "Dialogue with North Korea but especially the defense of
life in an increasingly secular society" these are the challenges facing
the new archbishop of Seoul, Msgr. Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, who was appointed by
Pope Thursday". Fr. Luke Kim, priest of the
Korean capital, tells AsiaNews.
The new archbishop "had been auxiliary for a long time and the retirement of Cardinal Nicolas Cheung Jin-suk was due to his age. Now the new pastorwill have to address those issues that have always been uppermost in the thoughts of the Korean Church: how to respond the secularization of our society and how to live with the North. Bishop Yeom is in fact also Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang. "
The new archbishop, now titular bishop of Tibiuca, auxiliary and vicar general of Seoul, was born December 5, 1943 in Ansong, Diocese of Suwon, to a Catholic family of 5 generations. His grandfather's grandfather was martyred in 1850 along with other believers in the early years of the Catholic Church in Korea. Two of his 5 sisters are nuns.
Bishop Yeom was ordained priest on December 8, 1970 in Seoul, by Cardinal Stephen Kim. After ordination, he held various positions: assistant pastor, professor and dean of the minor seminary Songshin, pastor; chancellor of the Major Seminary of Seoul, the archdiocesan chancellor of the curia. On 12 December 2001 he was appointed titular bishop of Tibiuca and Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Seoul. He was ordained January 25, 2002.
The new archbishop has always been engaged in the battle in favor of bioethics and dialogue with the North. Since his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop he has served as President of the Episcopal Commission for Life, an organ of the Korean Bishops' Conference, which deals with issues related to genetic manipulation, a hot topic in South Korea.
He also served as President of the Commission for the reconciliation of the Korean people of the archdiocese. During his work at the Commission he has always favored dialogue and, in 2002, sent a letter to the president of North Korea's Catholic Association Samuel Jang Jae-eun asking for prayer for the reconciliation and unity of the peninsula.
In the text he wrote: "I am very happy to be involved in this noble work, to reunify the Korean people. Now, with patience and much prayer, we must focus our minds and our efforts to push forward a peaceful long overdue reunification of the Korean people. "
The archdiocese plans to celebrate the inauguration of its new Archbishop June 25th: Until that day, Cardinal Cheong will continue in his position.