Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, R.I.P.

Mourners wait to pay respects to the late CardinalKorea is mourning the passing of Cardinal Kim Sou-Hwan, one of the most respected religious leaders in the country, and a strong fighter for democracy, and critic of the dictatorial rule during the 1970s and 1980s. Korea Times' write-up called him the "Conscience of Korea".

Cardinal Kim was the one who opened Myeongdong Cathedral to shelter those protesting the dictatorship in 1987, and stood between them and the police coming to arrest them (source).

Leaders of different Buddhist orders pay their respects to Cardinal KimHis body has been in state at Myeongdong Cathedral for the last few days, and will be from 6am to midnight, until his funeral on the 20th. The line of people waiting in bone-chilling cold to pay their respects to him has snaked all the way from the Cathedral to Myeongdong Station (about a kilometer), and included President Lee Myung-Bak and former President Kim Dae-jung, as well as the top leaders of pretty much every other religious organization in Korea.

The more I know about this guy, the more I respect him; a good friend of mine is Catholic, and remembers his leadership with a lot of warmth and nostalgia: the first conversation we had after news came of his death, she was a mess.

President Lee Myung-bak pays respects.

More about Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-Hwan

Korea Times

more Korea Times, and more

Wikipedia's Cardinal Kim entry

NY Times Obituary

The Joongang Daily has a really great short look at his life story.

Chicago Sun-Times Obituary

LA Times Obituary

photos from Korea Times and English Chosun.

cross-posted at The Hub Of Sparkle

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