Korean Priests Urged to Speak Up Against Abortion

Bishop Appeals for Courage and Pastoral Leadership

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SEOUL, South Korea, NOV. 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- A Korean bishop has called on priests to forcefully address the pro-life issue in their country, where abortions outnumber births 3 to 1.



In a recent pastoral letter, Bishop Boniface Choi-Ki-san of Inchon exhorted priests to adopt clearer positions against the killing of unborn children, Vatican Radio reported.

"If pastors keep silent on this problem, the culture of death will dull the conscience of Catholics," he said.

"Abortion is a particularly heinous form of murder, because it kills an innocent child who cannot defend himself in its mother's womb, which should be the safest place in the world," he added.

The bishop also challenged priests to be more courageous in reaching out to faithful who have opted for abortion.

There are a staggering 1.8 million abortions compared with 600,000 births in Korea each year. The abortion figure is 20 times higher than Germany's and 11 times higher than Italy's.

Many of the faithful are ill informed on the Church's teachings regarding abortion, and it is precisely in this area that the preparation of Korean parish priests is often inadequate.

"Many priests do not speak openly of sexuality because they consider it taboo," explained Anna Jang Eun-ja, diocesan director of the Office of Family Pastoral Care.

Her office is adopting measures to overcome this mentality, to promote education programs on natural methods of family planning, to study preventive measures and offer pastoral assistance to those have already who opted for abortion.