Woori Theology Institute (WTI) Conducted a Monthly Online Seminar on June 2022

Woori Theology Institute (WTI) conducted a monthly online seminar on “Peace on the Korean Peninsula beyond Discrimination and Exclusion” in Seoul on June 28, 2022. The speaker working for the Committee for Reconciliation of Korean People in Masan Diocese in the local Church, focused on how to achieve reconciliation and peace between the two Korean groups, how to heal the deep wounds caused by war and division, and furthermore, how to cultivate a spirituality of peace that goes beyond discrimination and exclusion in Korean society. It is no exaggeration to say that the deepest wounds in current Korean society system from the forced division of the countries and confrontation between them.

Due to war and division, the South and the North Koreans have expressed feelings of hate and exclusion that are close to a curse between the peoples. In fact, deep-rooted feuds between peoples of the same ethnic group underlie all the feelings of ‘hate and exclusion’ that surround Koreans. Also, within South Korean society, many people were sacrificed and had to walk the path of hardship due to the so-called ‘red gang’. The authoritative regimes for some 70 years after the war have used and maximized the ‘redneck or spy device’ against ordinary people especially in South Korea which killed all the political opponents until today. Now with the increasing number of North Korean defectors, the question of how to well embrace them is emerging.

Two days later, a Symposium was held in Seoul on June 30, 2022 by the Woori Theology Institute (WTI) and the Korea Catholic Culture Research Institute. Themed “The Korean Catholic Church in the Post-Covid19 Era”, the joint conference was firstly conducted offline since the deadly infected disease has spread all over the world in 2020. There were three presentations with the themes of “Reflection on Korean Religions and the Korean Catholic Church during the Covid19 Pandemic”; “Post-Covid19 Era, the Path of the Catholic Church in Korea”; “Theological Reflection on the Covid19 Pandemic” each. The three talks with different approach from religious studies, pastoral angle and theological reflection respectively had 6 commentators including two from Italy and the US. Dr. Paul Hwang who is senior researcher of WTI and the director of ALL Forum joined as moderator and commentator in the seminar and the symposium respectively.

An Antidote for Discrimination

By: Neilan D’Souza

Dear readers, what a horrific point of time it is to be living in this world. Unimaginable, inhumane acts are taking place across the world. Discrimination has diversified itself on the basis Caste, Race, Class, Ethnicity, Language, Nationality, Gender, Age, Religion, Sex, Sexual Orientation, Disability and continues to grow ever more. When will all forms of discrimination end?

With the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine we are witnessing immense suffering faced by Ukrainian inhabitants. The war has led them to flee and even during these difficult times the neighbouring countries who are welcoming refugees are prioritising safety only to Ukrainians and not other inhabitants. Many ethnic and racial minorities are being held back from receiving equal and adequate support for one or the other reason at the border. It is saddening and unfortunate to observe such discrimination despite the brutal war.

In this month we observe two important annual commemorations. Firstly, 8th of March is observed as International Women’s Day (IWD) commemorating the cultural, political, and socio-economic achievements of women. IWD originated from labour movements in North America and Europe during the early 20th century. Spurred on by the universal female suffrage movement and after many demonstration and commemorations from 1909 in various parts of the world, IWD was made a national holiday on March 8, 1917 After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia.

Secondly, we observe the 21st of March as The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination on this day in 1966 commemorating the Sharpeville Massacare which took place back in 1960 when police opened fire at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid pass laws; killing 69 people, and injuring around 180 more.

Dear readers we must recognise the fact that discrimination is not a natural phenomena but a ruthless invention of mankind and a ruthless sin . We have created discrimination and we solely hold the responsibility to heal the world from it. As we begin the Lenten season this year, remembering the sufferings of Christ Jesus, reflecting on ourselves and repenting for our sins, let us also pledge to become an antidote for discrimination by first – recognising all acts and forms of discrimination as wrongful acts and sin; second – deny and desist its practice and implication in society; and most importantly third – clarify, resolve and settle all impairments caused by discrimination. Therefore denouncing and actively putting an end to all discriminatory practices.