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Bishop Gives Moving Eulogy of Late Cardinal Kim

Posted February. 21, 2009 07:44,   


“The late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan has become Korea’s grandfather, not Hyehwa-dong’s (a district in Seoul) grandfather. In his final days, he recognized that he had no way to return the love he received and called himself a fool. But, I believe God will certainly tell Kim, ‘Welcome, my lovely fool. It’s enough.”

Peter Kang Woo-il (photo), president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Korea, said these words in his farewell speech for Kim at the funeral Mass at Myongdong Cathedral yesterday, causing many people in attendance to cry.

The bishop’s comments reflected his decades-long friendship with the late Kim.

In 1977, Kang became a curate and began working for Kim, who was then head of the Seoul Archdiocese. He maintained his close relations with Kim while working as commissioner of education and promotion and coadjutor. Kim is said to have treated Kang like a son.

When Kang said Kim had been in and out of the hospital over his final two years, many mourners at the cathedral seemed surprised and felt sad.

“For a time, he had difficulty digesting and excreting. In other words, his body began to stop functioning properly. He struggled to urinate and defecate by himself, but needed help in the end. As his physical condition got worse, he long fought physical and psychological pain and loneliness. But we couldn’t be of any help to him,” Kang said.

The bishop even used unusually strong words for a bishop to express how painful it was to watch his friend in pain.

“Why did God force the late Cardinal Kim to suffer pain for such a long time? Did he commit a sin? If God treated the late Cardinal Kim so harshly, how severely will he treat laypeople like me? I’m so scared,” Kang said.

He said he made this prayer a few weeks ago: “God, I think it’s enough. Please, let the cardinal rest in peace.”