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Why South Korea could be the church of future
Catholics attend Mass in Seoul, South Korea. When Pope Francis visits the country this week, he will find a thriving Catholic community .
August 12th, 2014
05:08 PM ET

Why South Korea could be the church of future

Opinion by Candida Moss, special to CNN

(CNN) – When Pope Francis arrives in South Korea on Wednesday for a five-day visit, he’ll get a look at just the kind of church he’s been trying to create worldwide.

The trip, planned to coincide with Asia Youth Day, marks the first time a pope has visited the country since 1989, and is part of a new papal focus on globalization in general and on Asia in particular. (Francis plans to visit Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Japan in January.)

The time has long passed that the Catholic Church is elderly white men and women in European enclaves.

The last papal conclave and the election of the first Latin American Pope raised awareness of the Catholic Church’s growing presence in Africa, but Asian Christianity was hardly mentioned at all.

Even if it is rarely discussed in the media, Korean Catholicism is among the most vibrant in the world.

Here are five reasons South Korea might be the future of Catholic Church.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Catholic Church • Christianity • North Korea • Opinion • Pope Francis • South Korea

June 18th, 2014
12:37 PM ET

Vatican denies reports that Pope Francis is ill

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) A Vatican spokesman denied reports on Wednesday that Pope Francis is ill, saying that the curtailment of his public summer schedule is common for popes.

"There is no sickness whatsoever," said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office. "If there was, we would be open about that and asking people to pray for him."

Francis made his usual public appearance in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday morning and is planning a trip to South Korea from August 13 to 18.

But the Pope will curtail public appearances in St. Peter's Square during July, as he did last year, and will scale back his daily celebration of Masses at Casa Santa Marta for the summer.

It is customary for popes to vacation during the summers months. Francis, 77, will continue working, Rosica said, while limiting public appearances.

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Asia • Catholic Church • Pope Francis • South Korea

Spokesman: Unification Church founder hospitalized with pneumonia
Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, is shown here on July 22. He is now in intensive care, a spokesman says.
August 16th, 2012
08:14 AM ET

Spokesman: Unification Church founder hospitalized with pneumonia

By K.J. Kwon, CNN

Seoul (CNN) -
The founder of the Unification Church is unconscious and undergoing treatment for pneumonia at a hospital in South Korea, a spokesman said Thursday.

Doctors put the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 92, in intensive care Tuesday, where he is breathing through a respirator, the church spokesman said.

Moon felt ill suddenly and was hospitalized in Seoul in "grave condition." His doctor has given him only a 50% chance of survival, spokesman Ahn Ho-yeol said.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: South Korea • Unification Church

February 15th, 2012
04:39 AM ET

Pastor, wife accused of killing 'possessed' children

By Paula Hancocks, CNN

Seoul (CNN) - A pastor and his wife are in custody accused of killing three of their children by starving them to ward off evil spirits, police in South Korea said Wednesday.

The couple told police the children - aged nine, seven and three - had been ill, which they believed was a sign they were invaded by evil spirits after eating too much on Lunar New Year.

They then cut the children's hair to chase the spirits out and starved them from January 24 until February 2, only allowing them to drink water. Local media reports said the parents had beaten the children with a belt and a fly swatter numerous times.

The pastor, named only by his surname Park, and his wife, Cho, told police they tied the children's arms and legs with stockings. All three died on February 2, the first around 2am, the second at 5am and the third at 7am, according to police in the town of Boseong, more than 186 miles (300 kilometers) south of Seoul.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Asia • Scandal • South Korea

May 5th, 2011
05:57 AM ET

South Korean man found crucified, police say

By Richard Allen Greene and Judy Kwon, CNN

(CNN) - A South Korean man was found crucified, local police told CNN on Thursday.

Police in Munkyuong said they were overwhelmed with the investigation and declined to provide further details.

But local media depicted an elaborate reconstruction of the crucifixion of Jesus, with the victim wearing a crown of thorns and dressed only in his underwear. He put nails into the cross first, then drilled holes in his hands and hung himself on the cross, reports said.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Christianity • Faith & Health • Jesus • South Korea

August 9th, 2010
08:34 AM ET

South Korean pastor is also a trained killer

Kim Shin Jo is a protestant minister - the gentle leader of his church. But the 69-year-old is best known by history as a trained killer.

Three decades ago, he and 30 others slipped from North Korea into Seoul to kill the South Korean president.

He was the face of evil and terror for a generation of Koreans - a North Korean commando fighter who came into Seoul to assassinate the South Korean president at the time, Park Jung Hee.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • South Korea • Violence

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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