Home News Archdiocese of Seoul opens cause for beatification of Cardinal Kim, 2 others

Archdiocese of Seoul opens cause for beatification of Cardinal Kim, 2 others

Cardinal Kim was known for his “courageous work in defense of freedom in the years following the coup d'etat by General Chun Doo-hwan”

The Archdiocese of Seoul has launched the cause for beatification of Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan and two other leading clergy — Bishop Barthelemy Bruguiere, a French missionary, and Father Andrew Moo Bang Ah Yoo Ryong.

“Cardinal Kim was loved and respected by many for his personal example of virtue, his contribution to the growth and esteem for the Korean Church and his commitment to the affirmation of human rights and democracy,” read a statement from the Archdiocese of Seoul.

It described the late prelate as a “friend of the poor and marginalized” and treated them “as if they were another Christ, based on a fundamental compassion for man, which is the foundation of Christian thought, thus representing a perfect example of the Christian love.”

A report on AsiaNews said the cause of beatification of Cardinal Kim is “an important message to Korean society today.”

It said that many in the country remember his “courageous work in defense of freedom in the years following the coup d’etat by General Chun Doo-hwan.”

During the riots of June 1987, student demonstrators in Seoul sought refuge in the Myeongdong cathedral and were protected by the cardinal.

He reportedly told soldiers that if they want to take the students, “first you have to shoot me down.”

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“After me you will have to shoot down the priests, and after the priests there will be nuns. Only then can you take the students,” Cardinal Kim reportedly said.

The cardinal was archbishop of Seoul for 30 years from 1968 to 1998. He was born in 1922 and was ordained a priest in 1951.

He took up philosophy at the Catholic University of Jochi Daigaku in Tokyo and sociology at Munster University in Germany.

He became bishop of the Diocese of Masanin 1966 and archbishop of Seoul in 1968. Pope Paul VI elevated him to the position of a cardinal in 1969.

He was president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea from 1973 to 1977 and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences from 1974 to 1977.

He was credited for evangelization efforts in Seoul and was known for his work in inter-religious dialogue.

Bishop Bruguiere, meanwhile, was the first apostolic vicar of Korea and the first coadjutor bishop of Thailand.

He belonged to the Paris Foreign Mission Society. He died in China as a missionary but his remains were moved to a cemetery in Seoul in 1931.

Father Bang founded the Congregation of Sisters of the Blessed Korean Martyrs on April 21, 1946, and the Clerical Congregation of the Blessed Korean Martyrs on Oct. 30, 1953.

Raised in the early 1900s in a Korean Catholic family, the priest was educated as a Confucian scholar by his grandfather, a famous scholar of the time. His knowledge helped him established local religious communities when he became a priest at the age of 30.

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