It is not easy to distinguish between the different committees of Justice and Peace in the Catholic Church of Korea: the Committee for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, the Catholic Priests' Association for Justice, CPAJ , started on their own initiative and there are some 13 different diocesan Justice and Peace Committees. At the present there is some unity in the way they see our society.
Many within the Catholic Church feel the direction of the present government lacks concern for the weaker members. Political authority must be exercised within the limits of morality. The Government should listen to the voice of the people. There is a feeling that the government is curtailing freedom of speech and using force to a degree that is not necessary. Are these objective judgement of those who know the situation? Maybe not, but many have a gut feeling that does not go away.
The Pope mentions in the Encyclical God is Love three areas in which the Church must be active: (1) prayer and teaching, (2) work for the poor, (3) work for justice.
In this week's Incheon bulletin one of the older priests Fr. O Kyeong hwan, knowledgeable about our society mentions these three areas of Catholic concern, quoting from the Encyclical. He was a participant in the recent seminar in Seoul sponsored by the Bishops' Justice and Peace Committee. Below is a quote from the encyclical of Pope Benedict: #28-29 "The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply."
Bishop Choi of Incheon the Committee Chairman introduced the seminar by stating sovereignty starts with the people. All the power comes from the people . We can not disregard the prescriptions of the Constitution and must always have the the good of the people and their solidarity in mind.