Nuclear Power Generation is Like Nuclear Weapons

By Dr. Paul Hwang (Director ALL Forum)

In this September issue, I will talk about and focus a Korean issue in relation to nuclear power generation for Asian young ones.

South Korea’s new president, who was elected in the presidential election last May, has made a number of problematic remarks. Among them, he denounced the previous administration’s nuclear-free policy as “stupid.” “If we had not done stupid things for five years and had built a solid nuclear power plant ecosystem, there would be no competitors now,” said the new president.

Judging from this logic, the current government’s ‘not stupid’ is, of course, a ‘pro-nuclear policy’. To revitalize the nuclear power plant industry, it is said that the nuclear power plant will be built again, and old nuclear power plants close to its expiry will be utilized by extending their lifespan. t is an energy policy in the opposite direction to that of the previous government. From the current government’s point of view, not only the previous government, but also the Korean Catholic Church, which opposes all nuclear technologies including nuclear power plants, is doing something stupid also.

This is because the Catholic Church’s opposition to nuclear technology is clearly expressed in the document titled “Nuclear Technology and the Teachings of the Church – The Korean Catholic Church’s Reflection on Nuclear Power” published by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) in November, 2013. After the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan in March 2011, the CBCK published this document to urge the transition to a nuclear-free society.

This pamphlet is based on the conviction that “nuclear power generation poses a serious threat to mankind and will leave a catastrophe for future generations.” In particular, the bishops decided to use the term ‘nuclear technology’ as an official term rather than the term ‘atomic power generation’ in response to the problem of diluting the negative image of nuclear technology. In particular, it raises the issue of the right to life and the right to the environment in relation to nuclear weapons.

“In relation to nuclear weapons, things to reflect on are especially the right to life and the right to the environment. Nuclear technology (nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants) seriously violates the right to life and the right to the environment. The logic of nuclear deterrence that we have nuclear weapons to protect our right to life is not valid. … The logic that nuclear power is a means for economic development is also unacceptable. Everyone has economic rights. But no right can take precedence over the right to life” (no.119).

It also points out that “The government, business, science and media all approach nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation only with economic logic without ethical reflection.” (no.135) As I mentioned earlier, the current government announced that it would push ahead with the plan to include nuclear power in Korea’s “K-Taxonomy” or the green classification system, going beyond the ‘foolishness’ of the previous administration’s policy to phase out nuclear power. Renewable energy, which must be urgently increased to respond to the climate crisis, is behind the scenes. It remains to be seen whether the energy policy of ‘increasing only nuclear power plants’ in Korea, where the share of renewable energy is the only one among major countries, is desirable.

Let’s go back to the document of the Korean bishops who are deeply concerned about the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis in Japan. They point out that the problem of radioactive contamination at the Fukushima nuclear power plant still shows no sign of being resolved. The problem with nuclear power plants, as seen in the Fukushima accident, is beyond human capabilities to manage.

I talked much about the Korean nuclear power issue here, but in fact, the confrontation between India and Pakistan both of whom have nuclear weapons, is a very serious problem, along with the issue of denuclearization between the South and the North Korea, and the discharge of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plants. It is important to publicize the still controversial nuclear power plant issue and lead an open and transparent discussions on it.

From a Christian’s point of view, it seems appropriate for the current society to move away from the social atmosphere that despises life because of its economic value and move toward a society that truly respects life. It is time to seriously consider the transition to a renewable, eco-friendly energy-centered policy, rather than nuclear or coal-fired power generation that forces the suffering of the powerless.

THE CHURCH AS AN EMERGENCY HOSPITAL

THE CHURCH AS AN EMERGENCY HOSPITAL

By Eliza Halim

Our beloved country Indonesia is currently facing the Covid-19 pandemic. Confirmed cases are increasing every day. This requires adequate health facilities, but hospitals in Indonesia are full of Covid-19 patients. This makes the government take various ways to overcome this problem. The government created  emergency or field hospitals for Covid-19. The first emergency hospital to operate was Wisma Atlet (Athlete’s House) Kemayoran. Apart from Wisma Athletes, several emergency hospitals were also prepared. Starting from the central government, local government and assistance from the private sector. The Athletes’ House was adapted in only four days to become a Covid-19 Emergency Hospital[3].

Even though it was built briefly, the Athlete’s House has all the adequate quality and facilities. In addition, 25 state owned companies supply medical equipment for this emergency hospital.

With the second wave of covid 19 (May 2021) the Indonesian government is using several more places such as the Pondok Gede Hajj Dormitory which began operating on July 10, 2021 to receive a booming Covid-19 patients, which according to some sources the number has now jumped to 10x in DKI and 5x in Bali [4]

We see this in our country, Indonesia, how about the situation in other countries? The New York Times and reported by AFP, Tuesday (7/4/2020): A large cathedral in New York, United States was converted to become an emergency hospital during the corona virus pandemic. The move comes as the state struggles with a crisis that has killed thousands of people.[2]

The Pope’s offer to see the Church as a field or emergency hospital actually loosens rigid institutional ecclesiastical barriers, so that they can resonate with people living today [1]

This unusual picture of the church actually offers a new and fresh perspective on the Church. There are at least four new perspectives that Pope Francis offers through the new ecclesiology [1]

First, the Church as an emergency hospital shows the aspect of flexibility to move true to its name emphasizing mobility. The second shows that the Church must be among the wounded. Three, that the visible churches need to reveal its identity so that it can be easily found by those who are suffering. Fourth, to empower citizens. The emergency hospital is a kind of pit stop, a temporary stop so that the injured can be treated, but after receiving adequate treatment, they will resume their struggle in solidarity with many survivors who share the same direction of struggle. This means that the ultimate goal of service is empowerment.[1]

Even though Pope Francis has made this appeal since September 30, 2013 in an interview with Antonio Spadaro, it is still very relevant to the current situation where the second Covid-19 pandemic is occurring in Indonesia. This vision was emphasized by Pope Francis in the Evangelii Gaudium document. He said, “A community that evangelizes engages with the words and actions of people’s everyday lives. This community bridges the distance, is willing to serve itself if necessary, and embraces human life, by touching the humanity of Christ who suffers in each other” (EG 24). A louder phrase emerges in this passage, “I prefer a church that is bruised, hurt and dirty because it has been out on the streets than a church that is sick of shutting itself in and comfortable clinging to its own security. I don’t want an ambitious Church to be at the center and end up caught in the trap of obsessions and procedures” (EG 49).

The church that is mentioned here is that we are all faithful Catholics, who are expected in a situation like this, to be among people who are suffering and in need of our help. We must not just focus on our personal affairs, but we also have to look at the situation around us, what we can do to help those who are suffering, especially the people who live below the poverty line.

Within our Catholic community there is no cooperation in helping and easing the burden of residents suffering from Covid-19, both Catholics and non-Catholics. We who are able to work together to collect funds to be donated to people in need and those who live around us, need to be provided with support and prayers to the sufferers. We must be steadfast, patient and surrender all our life problems to Jesus our Savior.

There are also Catholics in our neighborhood, who go around giving rice wraps in markets for the poor, and there are also Catholics who go around providing food and dry goods such as biscuits and other essentials as well as money to “ manusia gerobak” (a poor family who lives in a carriage).

Hopefully the Covid-19 pandemic will end soon so that the life of in Indonesian returns to normal and we all can live normally as before the pandemic.

Sources:

[1]5221_bambang_rohani__05_66_2019

[2]news.detik.com.internasional.internasional

[3]Republika.co.id/berita/qqf51n456/

[4]merdeka.com/peristiwa/satgas-sebut-kasus-aktif-covid-di-jakarta-naik-10-kali-lipat-sejak-18-mei-2021.html

A Reflection on Interreligious Dialogue

A Reflection on Interreligious Dialogue

By Niru Maya Tamang

Interreligious Dialogue of Catholic Church is the most enlightening and informative session to me. The highlighted topic of this session attracted me to take part in it. It was my first online session from the Asian Lay Leaders Forum and I had mixed feelings of both excitement and nervousness. In the first week of the session when pluralism in the Bible was introduced, I felt I was not meant for this session because I was not able to understand anything.

The whole topic, terms and words used in this session was all new to me. I even planned to discontinue this session but I challenged my self and determined to pay good attention in the session and ask the the questions I if did not understand anything. I payed proper attention and found that Fr. Bagus was trying to make us understand each and every new topic in more simpler way, it was me who was stopping to understand that new words not that the words were too difficult. So, the session became more and more interesting with the new topic such as Vatical II, Abu Dhabi Document, Interreligious dialogue of Catholic Church with other religion and much more.

As Nepali Catholic girl, studying in an Islamic country, Bangladesh. In the beginning, found it very difficut to talk with Muslim students due to the stereotypical thinking which I had about them and that they were against christians and that they’re terrorists. I used to feel safe and had a feeling of family with any chiristian students despite of their nationality but used to feel that I was in another planet when I was with non-christian students. But this session especially: Interreligious Dialogue of Catholic Church with Islam and Abu Dhabi Document really helped me a lot to accept each and every person as a creation of God and to respect their religions too. Currently, I have a good relationship with other non-christian students in my university, thanks to this session.

The group discussion was my favorite part of this session because I got to learn and know different experiences and views of other participants in the group. Actually, I did not actively participate in the group discussion, and  sometimes when I did I found that other group members were very supportive, kind and passionate to hear my unrelevent explanation. This group discussion had taught me to open up my self mentally and spiritually and to be more confident in myself.

Lastly,  I used to feel that I knew about my religion: Catholic Church fully but from this session I learned that there are still many things left to be learned and that I did not know about my religion completely. Now I feel that I need to keep on learning about my religion and know about it completely so that one day I can really defend my religion with full confidence against the world of controversies.

Reflection on “Basic Knowledge on the Lay People in the World”

Reflection on “Basic Knowledge on the Lay People in the World”

by Jayani

Hello everyone. I am Jayani from Sri Lanka. First of all, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in the course “Basic Knowledge on the Lay People in the World” being held through the ALL Forum. Although I am studying for degree in Christianity at first I did not have a good understanding regarding Lay Theology, but after attending to this course I was able to gain a better understanding of Lay Theology.

This course had eight sessions. By participating in this course I had the opportunity to study new topics each week. Topics such as who is laity?, Aparecida document, historical signposts in the making of laity, Catholic/Ecclesial movements, Liberation of the Laity, Gaudete eat Exsultate by Pope Francis, etc. When we focused on Aparecida document, I learned about Kingdom of God. Besides I was also able to learn how to promote human dignity and how to put it into an action. Apostolical Actuositatem is the second Vatican council decree on the apostolate of the Laity. This was an important resource for this course. We discussed about different Catholic movements around the world. Gaudete et Exsultate is the third apostolic exhortation of pope Francis. It addresses the universal call to holiness, with a focus to repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time. This course also focused on the various encyclicals presented by the Pope Francis.

I decided to take this course to gain a broad knowledge of this subject. The most highlighted event of this course was the group discussion. Because it enabled me to gain knowledge as well as share our ideas with members in other countries. Through this group discussion it was also possible to know others social information.

All these lessons were very well explained by Ms. Kochurani. Here I express my heartfelt thank to her. I would like to thank Mr. Neilan who managed this course very well. I also appreciate the support received from members in other countries for the successful completion of this course. Overall, this course was a great success! Thank You!