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.