Sunday, January 24, 2010

Not seeing all of the Culture for Life

The Church in Korea is working to establish a culture for life and showing how we, unknowingly, are often involved in a culture of death. The Catholic papers and articles in Catholic Magazines have begun to acquaint us with what we mean by making a choice for life and not death. The Church has called on the government to ban abortion, human embryonic stem-cell research, and to abolish the death penalty. They are fighting the movement towards euthanasia, suicide, the emphasis on outward appearance, all these areas of life in which we are not choosing life but death. There is one area, in which possibly, we do not think is part of this culture of death and that is smoking and drinking immoderately.

One of the members of the Committee For Life of the Seoul Diocese has mentioned the many ways that we have not been helpful in building a wholistic culture of life in Korea and he picks out the area of smoking and immoderate drinking. These are not considered important enough to merit the interest of the other areas but should.

The World Health Organization recently has reported that smoking causes the death of over 5 million people in the world and 70% of these live in Africa and Asia. In Korea 50,000 die each year from smoking this is 20% of the total of those that die every year. A figure we can not but be surprised to hear.

Drink causes the death of about 20,000 each year in Korea. If we consider those who die driving while intoxicated or are killed by drunk drivers, we get a figure that is similar to that from smoking.

The World Health Organization has made it known the havoc that smoking and drinking has on the health of our citizens. It does not take life quickly but gradually, and of a large percentage of the population.

Speaking very honestly the committee member says the Catholic Church has been very tolerant in comparison to the other religious groups in our society on smoking and drinking. The Protestants have been very much against drinking and smoking in Korea and so the word in society has been that being a Catholic is much easier than being a Protestant.

What ever the past reasons were for the Catholic position this is no longer valid. The writer goes on to say that the Catholic Church should no longer be so indulgent in accepting smoking and drinking immoderately, knowing the havoc this is causing so many people . The Catholic Church has always been very much in the forefront of the movement for life and this indulgence with smoking and drinking should no longer be tolerated.

The Catholic Church should now make this 'no smoking' and 'drinking in moderation' one of its areas of concern in the building up of the culture of life. And Catholics should be out in front living this life as an example to others.