Roman Catholicism in North Korea

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The Catholic Church in North Korea is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. It belongs to the Latin (or Roman) Rite of the Catholic Church.

It is impossible to know the exact number of Catholics in North Korea, or to establish a worthy estimate. Estimates of the number of Catholics range from 2,000 to 40,000. Christianity in North Korea is partly an underground movement, allegedly receiving missionaries from southern China. There is only one active Catholic church, called the “Changchung Church”, where a Liturgy of the Word is offered on Sunday in the capital city. However, the church is administered by the “North Korean Catholic Association,” created by the Communist government in June 1988 as a means of control over Catholic life. The remaining Catholic churches are inactive.[1][2]

An invitation for the Korean Catholic Association to attend a Papal Mass in Seoul on 18 August 2014, during a 4-day visit to South Korea by Pope Francis, was declined by the association, due to South Korea's refusal to withdraw from military exercises it was to engage in with the United States.

Dioceses and archdioceses[edit]


Cathedrals in North Korea[5][edit]

  • Changchung Cathedral in Pyongyang, North Korea (Roman Catholic Diocese of Pyong-yang 평양)
  • Tokwon Abbey of St. Benedict in Tokwon 덕원, North Korea (Roman Catholic Territorial Abbacy of Tŏkwon 덕원)


See also[edit]