Pope: Church in Korea, Church of martyrs and lay people, a “promise for all of Asia”

March 20, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

korean christian prayVatican City, March 13, 2015: For Pope Francis, the Church of Korea, carried forward for two centuries by lay people, “drenched” in the blood of the martyrs, is a “promise for all of Asia”. Currently, it must be on guard against “religious affluence,” which can turn Christians into wishy-washy softies, since the “devil is clever” and seeks to weaken the faith.

The Holy Father spoke yesterday afternoon, greeting Rome’s Korean community, led by the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea who are in the Eternal City for their quinquennial ‘ad limina’ visit.

In remembering his “beautiful, very beautiful visit” to Korea in August, the pope highlighted two traits of the Korean Church. “First, the laity. Your Church was carried forward for two centuries only by lay people. Help the laity be aware of this responsibility. They have inherited this glorious history. First, the laity: let them be brave like the first ones! Second, the martyrs. Your Church was ‘drenched’ in the blood of the martyrs, and this created life. Please, do not give in. Be on guard against ‘religious affluence’. Be careful, because the devil is clever.

“Let me tell you an anecdote: during the period of religious persecution, the Japanese tortured Christians – a lot of torture in your country too – and then took them back to prison. However, a month before their sentence, when they had to abjure, they took them to a beautiful house, gave them good food, in a nice environment. Why did they take them there a month before? To soften their faith, so that they would feel good, and then they proposed them to abjure their religion when they were at their weakest. Cardinal Filoni gave me a very good book on the history of the Japanese persecution. Some people gave in and fell by the wayside, whilst others fought on, until the end, and died.

“I am no prophet, but this can happen to you. If you do not go forward with the strength of faith, with zeal, with the love of Jesus Christ, if you go soft – [adhering to a] weak, wishy-washy Christianity – your faith will fail. As I said, the devil is clever and he will propose this to you, this religious affluence – ‘Let us be good Catholics, but only up to a point . . .’ – and will take away your strength. Please do not forget, you are children of martyrs, and apostolic zeal cannot be negotiated.

“I remember what the Letter to the Hebrews says, ‘Remember the early days, when you fought and suffered for the faith. Do not go back now (cf. Heb, 10:32-36). In another passage, towards the end, it says, ‘Remember your fathers in faith, your teachers, and follow their example’ (cf. Heb, 12:1). You are the Church of martyrs, and this is a promise for all of Asia. Go ahead. Do not give up. No spiritual worldliness, nothing. No easy Catholicism, without zeal. No religious affluence. Love for Jesus Christ, love for the cross of Jesus Christ and love for your history.”

– asianews

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