This is the 60th year of the outbreak of the Korean War. The Suwon Diocese with a questionnaire examined the thinking of the Catholics about North Korea. Since the sinking of the Chonam navel ship, a coldness has set in, and we have a hardening of the different ideologies to the North.
Those who would like to see unification irrespective of time were 93.2%, and those who like the situation as is, was 4.6%. Those who thought it impossible were 2.1%. A Gallup poll made earlier this year found that 26% found the situation now to their liking. The Catholic response was decidedly for unification.
The question, whether you would be willing to pay on an individual basis to see unification, 58.6% said that they would accept the burden. 25.7% didn't know and those not willing were 15.6%. 72.3% of the men and 44.9% of the women were willing to finance the unification.
38% thought that aid should not be given, unless they knew how it was going to be used. 37.1% thought aid should be given unconditionally. 24.1% thought aid should be given on the North's advances on the way to peace.
If we had religious freedom in the North 39.2 % would be willing to volunteer for a certain period of time. Those 20 to 30 showed the greatest interest. 37.6% would be willing to help out monthly in supporting those working in the North. 7.6% would go North to evangelize. Half of those over 50 would be willing to support those working as missioners in the North.
To the question what can the Church do to prepare for unification: 33.8 % thought the church should prepare those who will be going North to evangelize. 24.1% wanted to help the people in the North stabilize their living conditions. 19.8% felt that building hospitals and schools important and 14.3% thought priest and religious should be prepared to go to the North.
The Catholic Church has accepted seminarians who will work in North Korea. The Church has also taken an active part in helping the refugees from the North to accommodate to the South. Maryknoll continues to help fund the work in North Korea with the tuberculosis patients in cooperation with the Bell Foundation. After 60 years of division besides the physical needs, the North will have to take time to become part of the world.