Korean bishop calls for ‘virtue of hope’ in global pandemic response

The new head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea called on the global community to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with the “virtue of hope.”

“Let us identify what is important in our life,” said Archbishop Mathias Lee Yong-hoon of Suwon reported Vatican News.

“We must stop and reflect on what happened and take on the fundamental commitment to give love and help those who suffer.”

The prelate said the world needs to respond to the challenges caused by the pandemic by supporting and encouraging each other.

“I pray that the pandemic will end soon,” said Archbishop Yong-hoon, adding that the virus is one of the effects of the destruction of the environment and of the abuse of the “common home.”

Noting that South Korea is observing the bicentenary celebration of the birth of St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon, the first Korean priest and martyr, Archbishop Yong-hoon said Korean Catholics are called to become “light and salt of the world” by reaffirming their identity.

He said the Korean Church should be more committed to defending life, protecting the environment, and accelerating the reunification and reconciliation process between the two Koreas.

Women wearing traditional Hanbok costumes in front of Jeondong Catholic Church on Dec. 11, 2015. (Photo by Chanchai Duangdoosan/shutterstock.com)

The bishop said renewal and involvement in pastoral activities should be the cornerstone for further growth in the Church in Korea.

He said differences can be addressed through peaceful dialogue that respects each one’s role and ideas.

The church leader said political leaders should find some common ground because “only the culture of listening and of mutual respect can guarantee us a future.”

“Even in the most complex situations we must be able to follow the example of the Good Samaritan,” said Archbishop Yong-hoon, adding that “a true leader is never self-referential, but knows how to listen and not be overwhelmed by his own ideas.”

“You can exercise your authority and change the world only if you are willing to serve your neighbor,” he added.

Archbishop Yong-hoon was elected head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea during its General Assembly in October.

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