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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Social Contributions of the Catholic Church and Regional Solidarity: Analysis of the Korean-Japanese Conferences of Catholic Bishops

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2019, v.59 no.3, pp.5-26

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This study focuses on the history of regional solidarity among Catholic churches in East Asia as civil society organizations within the axiological frame of peace and social order. This paper endeavors to show the significant role of the Korean-Japanese Catholic bishops conferences, which have developed over 20 years, not only in contributing to civil and social solidarity but also to congeniality between the Korean and Japanese people. The cooperative activities of the Korean and Japanese bishops, which have their origins in efforts to deal with the historical issues between Korea and Japan, are considered purposeful undertakings in support of peace and order in the East Asia region. With the passage of time, the solidarity of the bishops has developed toward solving diverse regional social dislocation issues. The thrust of the bishops’ unified action can be seen in two aspects. The first is the bishops’ view that society, to become peaceful and mature, requires structural changes, and thus the cooperative efforts of the Korean and Japanese bishops have a socio-political orientation. The second aspect is its role as social charity, that is, volunteer work on behalf of the impoverished and social minorities. When regional peace and cooperation are threatened by the self-interests of nation-states, the case of regional cooperation by a religious organization demonstrates how civil society is able to contribute to the progress and peace of a given region beyond the efforts of national governments.

civil society Catholic Church bishop solidarity East Asia cooperation local peace



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