South Korea: Marginal difference between Catholics and non-Catholics on the question of respect for life

Source: FSSPX News


Carried out among 2000 Koreans, aged 15 years or above, partly Catholic and partly non-Catholic, the enquiry focused on eight subjects: life, the elderly, the family, birth, marriage, sex, the young, and acts such as suicide, euthanasia and the death penalty. It was requested in preparation for the 8th Plenary Assembly of the FABC (Federation of the Bishops Conference of Asia),which is due to take place next August in South Korea.

On the subject of abortion, nine out of ten people, taking all religious membership together, said that it should be allowed. In 2000, a survey showed that 38.7% of Catholic women had had at least one abortion. The figure for the whole population was 44%. The current survey gives the figures of 34.2% and 40% respectively. It should be noted that many more Catholics than non-Catholics said that they had had more than three abortions. The study also shows that three out of ten Catholics believe that life does not begin until birth.

For Fr. Paul Lee Chang-young, under-secretary of the Bishops Conference of Korea, the results of this study reveal that the Church is not being heeded by her faithful, concerning these matters, and that government policy, “which has directed all its action at economic development”, has prevented the Koreans from becoming aware of the important questions related to life and the family. According to him, faced with such results, the Church must center its pastoral work around ministering to the family. The family, in itself, must become “the object and the subject” of pastoral work, and in order to contribute to this development, each parish must take this responsibility seriously. In March of last year, during the 37th Assembly of the Council of the Apostolate of Korean Laity, organized in Seoul, the organizers had insisted on the necessity for Korean laity to work in favor of the family.

In accordance with the well-known Western paradox, despite the Koreans’ laxity on the question of abortion, the survey recorded a clear rejection of the death penalty. While 40.4% of non-Catholics declared themselves against capital punishment, the percentage rises to 64% among Catholics.