For the first time in about 40 years the Catholic Church in South Korea began to teach seminarians, who will serve as priests in North Korea, a country that is often criticized U.S. and international organizations for the oppression of believers.
“We cannot say that North Korea wants us to do. But we do it with hope for the future, when the two parts of the country will unite,” he said in an interview with Monsignor Matthew Hwang In-Kook, Episcopal vicar of the diocese of Pyongyang.
Catholic priest are not allowed to be on a permanent basis in North Korea, the country, the Catholic community which before the war, 1950-53 had about 55 000 believers.
The first five seminarians, who should be the clergy of the Pyongyang diocese, started training last week. According to Mons. Hwang, a small group of new students will be recruited each year.
Their preparation will take about 10 years, but then they may not be allowed to the North.
Clerics from the South and occasionally come to the DPRK, most often, they accompany the cargo of humanitarian aid or oversee the launching of charitable projects. According to some, one South Korean priest was able to conduct mass in Pyongyang on the day of death of Pope John Paul II.
Earlier in the Pyongyang diocese, Continue reading