South Korea’s Cardinal Yeom on the Sanctity of Life

Il-kardinal Yeom jippriedka dwar is-santita tal-ħajja

“Every human being has a sacred and inalienable dignity, and life is inviolable from the moment of conception. What we should do is accept every life as it is from the moment of conception under the responsibility of the father and mother. Furthermore, given that every life is under the common responsibility of our society, we should try to improve the general systems of social assistance to help parents give birth and raise their children.”

This is what Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo Jung, Archbishop of Seoul pointed out, speaking to the pro-life movements in South Korea, gathered in the “Youth Pro-Life Rally”, held in recent days in the Korean capital, under the guidance of the Episcopal Commission for family and life.

Embryos not property of parents

As reported to Agenzia Fides by the Office for Communications of the Archdiocese of Seoul, about a thousand young Koreans took part, but also priests, religious and leaders such as Cardinal Yeom and Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, Apostolic Nuncio in Korea.

In the solemn Eucharist that preceded the march, organized in particular for Christian parliamentarians, Cardinal Yeom reiterated the pro-life doctrine of the Catholic Church, stating that “embryos should be protected and respected as independent beings, not considered as property of mothers or fathers. Human dignity cannot be decided by the vote of a majority or judged on the basis of socio-economic standards”.

Abolish death penalty

In the Mass, the Archbishop also commented on the issue of the death penalty and recalled: “Pope Francis, in the World Congress against the death penalty last February, clearly said: Human life is the most important and fundamental gift, it is the source of all human rights. The death penalty is a serious insult and a sin against this fundamental right to life. I urge all political leaders and government members to take steps to completely abolish the death penalty in each country”.

The debate on issues such as abortion and the death penalty has become increasingly controversial in Korean society these days. While the Constitutional Court should announce its decision on the constitutionality of the abortion law in early April, some sectors of society insist on legalizing abortion and women’s self-determination rights.

Even on the death penalty, a ruling by the Constitutional Court is awaited. The subcommittee on the abolition of the death penalty, in the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, presented an appeal to the Constitutional Court last February, asking it to be repealed by the national legal system.