Andrew Yeom Soo-jung

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His Eminence
Andrew Yeom Soo-Jung

Cardinal, Archbishop of Seoul
Archbishop of Seoul and Cardinal of Korea Andrew Yeom Soo-jung.png
Native name 염수정
Archdiocese Seoul
See Seoul
Appointed 10 May 2012
Installed 25 June 2012
Predecessor Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of San Crisogono
Orders
Ordination 8 December 1970
by Stephen Kim Sou-hwan
Consecration 1 December 2001
by Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk
Created Cardinal 22 February 2014
by Pope Francis
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Birth name
  • 염수정
  • Yeom Soo-Jung
Born (1943-12-05) 5 December 1943 (age 71)
Anjō, Anjō County, Keiki Province, Korea under Japanese rule (now Ansong, South Korea)
Nationality Korean
Denomination Roman Catholic
Residence Seoul
Parents Yeom Han-jin
Baek Geum-wol
Previous post
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul (2001-2012)
  • Titular Bishop of Thibiuca (2001-2012)
  • Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Seoul (2002–2012)
Motto
  • Amen. Veni, Domine Jesu!
  • (Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!)[1]
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
This is a Korean name; the family name is Yeom.
Andrew Yeom Soo-jung
Hangul 염수정
Hanja
Revised Romanization Yeom Soo-Jung
McCune–Reischauer Yŏm Soo-Chŏng

Andrew Yeom Soo-Jung (Hangul: 염수정; Hanja: 廉洙政; born 5 December 1943) is the Korean Roman Catholic Archbishop of Seoul, Cardinal and de facto Primate of Korea since his appointment was announced on 10 May 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.[2] Yeom succeeded the Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk and the fifth native Korean Archbishop of Seoul. In January 2014 it was announced that he will be elevated to the cardinalate at the next consistory on 22 February 2014.[3] The Metropolitan Archbishop of Seoul also serves as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Pyongyang in North Korea. Aside from Archbishop, he was also the Chairman of Peace Broadcasting Corporation (Korean: 평화방송 or PBC). Founded in 1990, this corporation included a Catholic television channel and a radio station, both of which became highly valued Christian voices and tireless champions of values such as peace, reconciliation, the defence of life, dignity and inalienable human rights.

Yeom was made a Cardinal by Pope Francis in a papal consistory on 22 February 2014 at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. He will be eligible to participate in any future Papal conclaves until he reaches the age of eighty on December 5 2023.

Biography[edit]

Yeom Soo-jung was born in Ansong, Gyeonggi Province, to a devout Catholic parents, Yeom Han-jin (Calixto) and Baek Geum-wol (Susanna) descendants of Joseph Yeom Deok-sun (who were among the first Koreans to convert to Christianity) and Peter Yeom Seok-tae and his wife Kim Maria who were arrested and executed in 1850 for their Catholic faith. His ancestors were among the lay people who brought Christianity to the Korean peninsula in the 19th century, and his great-great grandfather and his wife were executed as part of the Joseon Dynasty's persecution of Christians.[4] The Yeom family has kept their religious belief for generations through persecution, leading Archbishop Yeom, the fifth generation Catholic, to enter the priesthood. The third of six children, Yeom loves explaining how he discovered and cultivated his priestly vocation thanks to family prayer: his grandmother Magdalena Park and his mother, went to mass every day for 30 years to pray for their children to become priests. His two brothers Yeom Soo-wan and Yeom Soo-eui have also followed him, currently leading two dioceses in Seoul.

Further Studies[edit]

At the age of 15, Yeom decided to become a priest and entered the seminary. He graduated from the Catholic University of Korea in 1970[5] before being ordained a priest by Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan on 8 December 1970 for the diocese of Seoul. Yeom Soo-jung went on to obtain a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Korea University. He has also studied at the East Asian Pastoral Institute in the Philippines, while serving in various parishes.[6]

Priesthood[edit]

After his ordaination, he served as a Pastoral Vicar from 1971–1973, then as President of the Minor Seminary, Songshin High School, from 1973–1977, and then served as Pastor from 1977 until 1978. From 1987 until 1992, he was the Rector of the Major Seminary, thereafter he was appointed Chancellor of the diocesan curia serving in that role until 1998.

After the future Archbishop left his post as Chancellor, he was appointed as one of the Seoul Archdiocese's Vicar Foranes, and at the same time, as a Pastor, serving in these two roles until 2001. He also served as a member of the Presbyteral Council.

Styles of
Andrew Yeom Soo-jung
Coat of arms of Andrew Yeom Soo Jung.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Seoul

Episcopacy[edit]

On 1 December 2001 it was announced that Pope John Paul II had appointed him, at the age of 58, as an Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul and at the same time Titular Bishop of Thibiuca. He was consecrated on 25 January 2002 in the Changcheon-dong Stadium, Seoul, by Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul, assisted by Andrew Choi Chang-mou, Archbishop of Gwangju, and by John Chang-yik, Bishop of Chunchon. After his episcopal consecration, he became the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Seoul and episcopal vicar for the pastoral and the apostolate of the mass media. Member of the Permanent Council and of the Commission for Missions, and for the Commission for the Pastoral of Health of the Korean Episcopal Conference; as well as president of the Committee for the Apostolate of the Lay. He retained these roles until 10 May 2012, when Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as the next Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul. He succeeded his former superior, Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, 80, who had surpassed the canonical retirement age after offering his resignation back in 2006. Because the Archdiocese of Seoul is the most important diocese in the Koreas and has been headed by a Cardinal in the past, it is likely that, since his predecessor is over the voting age for a Papal Conclave, he will be named a Cardinal himself in a Consistory in the near future.[5]

Archbishop of Seoul[edit]

The Holy See appointed Yeom as the 5th Archbishop of Seoul on 10 May 2012, succeeding Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk and thus making him de facto Primate of Korea. At the installation ceremony he said "We need to keep the dignity of human life in a society that takes life lightly. The church will fight for that," said Archbishop Yeom during the inaugural mass. The Seoul Archdiocese held the inaugural ceremony for the new archbishop on the 62nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, as a symbolic gesture, praying especially for the reconciliation and reunification of the two Koreas. Since then, martyrdom has left an indelible mark on his Episcopal ministry. His ministry has also been marked by constants references to the precious faith of martyrs which is seen an example of authentic testimony all Christians should follow no matter what their life condition or state. He also expressed a strong eagerness for dialogue, reconciliation and peace between the two Koreas to calm the tensions that are circling the peninsula, introducing the risk of a new conflict.. The inaugural Mass was attended by Cardinal Cheong, Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik, Vatican Nuncio Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, political leaders including former opposition leader Sohn Hak-kyu, Rep. Kang Ki-gap and Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo.[7] As Archbishop of Seoul, he is head of the largest local Church in the Koreas, and the officeholder is traditionally also apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. The Pyongyang diocese has been vacant since the death of its last ordinary, Bishop Francis Hong Yong-ho, who was imprisoned by the North Korean government in 1949, and was later disappeared.

A Growing Church in Korea[edit]

According to statistics, as of 31 December 2011, of the 15 dioceses and 1 military ordinariate in Korea, the Archdiocese of Seoul is the most populous with 27% of the total Catholics in Korea. The number of Catholics in Korea is 5,309,964, an increase of 2% (104,375) from 2011. Catholics account for 10.3% of the total population. The total number of Catholics in Korea has slightly and consistently increased at a yearly average of 2–3% during the past 10 years. It has passed the 10% mark of the total population since 2009. According to the Statistics, the number of newly baptised in 2011 was 134,562, a decrease of 4.3% from the previous year. By gender, newly baptised men represented 73,228 and women 61,334. The number of infants baptised amounted to 25,717, an increase of 7.5% over the previous year.

In 2012, the Church grew by 1.6%, as nearly 85,000 Koreans became Catholic. There has also been an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life in recent years. Earlier this month, two auxiliary bishops and 38 new priests were ordained for Seoul. Government surveys have shown that more than 45% of South Koreans practice no religion and that about 22% are Buddhists. Yet when Catholics (11%) and Protestants (18%) are combined, Christianity as a whole claims the largest number of religious adherents. By contrast, Christianity is officially suppressed in North Korea under the communist regime, and unofficial estimates by South Korean Church officials place the number of Catholics there at only 5,000.[8]

Archbishop Yeom received the Pallium from Pope Benedict XVI on 29 June 2012 (the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul), along with several archbishops from various countries. Yeom was one of several Asian archbishops whom the Pontiff granted the pallium, one of whom being the Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle.

Cardinal-Priest[edit]

The Pope named Archbishop Yeom to the College of Cardinals on Saturday, 22 February 2014. As Cardinal-Priest, he was assigned the titular church of San Crisogono. Yeom is the Third Korean national to be made Cardinal in the Catholic Church, following the two preceding Cardinal Emeritus Nicholas Cheong Jin-Suk, and the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan. On 23 February, the day after the announcement was made, a celebratory ceremony was held at Seoul’s Myeongdong Cathedral, where he said, "I will make efforts to realize Pope Francis' vision of a Church toiling for the poor and those on the margins of society and to make it a Church serving the community. ... I respect efforts made by late Cardinal Kim and Cardinal Cheong, and will add mine to them." His appointment as cardinal was welcomed by many Koreans, though only 11 percent of the country is Catholic.[9] On May 22, 2014, he was named member of the Congregations for the Evangelization of Peoples and for the Clergy. On Saturday, 4 October 2014, he took possession of the title of San Crisogono. He participated in Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, October 5 to 19, 2014, on the theme "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization", by papal appointment.

Coat of Arms[edit]

Arms of Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung. The motto below is Amen. Veni, Domine Jesu! ("Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!")

The Coat of Arms of Archbishop Yeom features the Traditional Red Hat, or the galero, replaces the Green one with its 15 tassels dangling in two five-tiered formations from either side. Below the Red Hat is the Crucifix symbolizes the Holy Martyrs of Korea who were the victims of religious persecution against the Catholic Church during the Joseon Dynasty in the 19th Century.

The shield is a symbol of God's salvation, and the three Rainbow colors: Purple (Love), Blue (Hope) and Green (Faith). The Herald of a new life, Dove, symbol of peace as a messenger came in the past, and will come in the present and future, and the spirit of the Lord brings into the presence among us even today and revealed that symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The Big Star in the center represents the Virgin Mary as she protects the two shining stars below symbolizing the peaceful reunification between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea. An anchor cross and the two Greek letters "A" (Alpha) and "Ω" (Omega) that all the hopes and aspirations of the Korean People will be in the God's plan. The background's color Blue, Yellow, and Red symbolize Peace, Sharing, and Sacrifice.

Archbishop Yeom's Latin motto is taken from the Book of Revelation 22:20, Amen. Veni, Domine Jesu! meaning "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"

Views[edit]

His pastoral approach is also characterised by a respect for life and the mission. Respect for life is an aspect that is especially important to the Korean Church. Indeed, over the course of the years, it has doubled its efforts to increase public awareness as research centres using human embryos for scientific experiments continue to grow in number. The Church has focused its missionary work primarily on Asia, a sign of how this unique Church has matured.[10]

Reconciliation Between North and South Korea[edit]

Cardinal Yeom made history on Wednesday morning, 21 May 2014 becoming the first Korean Roman Catholic leader to cross the inter-Korean border into the North. He and his South Korean priests traveled to a joint North-South industrial park in Kaesong, North Korea to tour the complex and meet South Koreans working there. Yeom told reporters after his return from the one-day visit that seeing South and North Koreans working in harmony gave him hope that the two countries can "overcome their pain and sorrow."

The joint industrial park, located just north of the heavily armed border, is the last remaining cross-border rapprochement project between the rival Koreas. It combines South Korean initiative, capital and technology with cheap North Korean labor. Operations at the decade-old complex were suspended for months last year when tensions sharply rose over repeated North Korean threats of nuclear war. South Korean Catholic officials denied media speculation that Yeom's trip might be aimed at preparing for a possible visit by Pope Francis to North Korea when he visits South Korea in August. Fr. Heo Young-yup, who went to Kaesong with the cardinal, said Yeom didn't meet any North Korean officials there. Pope Francis plans to visit South Korea on Aug. 14-18 to participate in the 6th Asian Youth Day, preside over a beatification ceremony for Paul Yun Ji-Chung and 123 companions and bring a message of peace to the war-divided peninsula. His visit will be the first in 25 years by a pope to the Korean Peninsula.[11] after Pope John Paul II

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk
Archbishop of Seoul
2012 – present
Incumbent