Korean Church supports struggling single mothers – UCA News

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Church officials hail single mothers for their decision to protect life despite hardships

Korean Church supports struggling single mothers – UCA News
Korean Church supports struggling single mothers

A priest baptizes a child in a Catholic church in South Korea in 2020. Seoul Archdiocese has been supporting single mothers with a monthly subsidy since 2018. (Photo: Catholic Times of Korea)

The Catholic archdiocese in South Korean capital Seoul continues to sponsor single mothers struggling to maintain their families as part of its pro-life activities. 

The Seoul archdiocese will stand with families in their difficult times, its officials said during a ceremony to deliver sponsorship certificates to 20 beneficiaries and heads of single-parent families in the capital city on Jan. 22. 

The program is titled Courage and Hope for Single Mothers, Catholic Times of Korea reported on Feb. 6.

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In 2018, the Unwed Parent Fund Committee under the Committee for Life of Seoul Archdiocese started the sponsorship program for single mothers in collaboration with Church-run Catholic Newspaper and Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corporation (CPBC).

Each sponsored family receives a subsidy of 500,000 won (US$418) each month for one year. It can be extended if necessary.

The sponsorship fund covers accommodation for the family, cost of living, medical expenses, and also preparing for employment during the period.

“It gives opportunities to mothers who are struggling economically and emotionally,” said Father Remigio Lee Dong-ik, head of the program.

The priest applauded single mothers for their decisions to protect lives despite their hardships.

“In a society where many decisions are made to destroy lives, thank you for cherishing and protecting life. We will continue to subsidize expenses for single-mother and single-parent families, even to fulfill their desire to go on a picnic. Together we pray for each other,” Father Lee added.

While attending the sponsorship ceremony, Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-Taick of Seoul, chairman of the Archdiocesan Committee for Life, said the Church will continue to support initiatives to protect life, which is a gift and blessing from God.

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“I feel again that life is a gift and blessing from God. Thank you for protecting the life you received from God. You will be in my arms,” the prelate said.

In April 2021, South Korea’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family unveiled its fourth Basic Plan for Healthy Families (2021-25), which for the first time sought to provide financial and institutional support to families including out-of-wedlock unions and children.

The plan is believed to be in response to the rising sentiments of young Koreans who see marriage as unnecessary.

The ministry’s survey last year found six out of 10 young Koreans think it is unnecessary to marry and have children.

In 2018, a study by the Institute of Child Care and Education found 25 percent of Koreans were positive about having children out-of-wedlock.

Data from state-run Statistic South Korea shows that single-parent households are increasing in the country.

In 2019 South Korea had about 30.2 percent single-parent households an increase from  29.8 percent households in the previous year.

South Korea, a nation of 51.8 million, had the world’s lowest birth rate of 0.84 in 2020, the agency reported last year.

The Asian economic powerhouse has failed to stop the constant decline in birth rates despite successive governments spending about 225 trillion won (US$188 billion) in the past decade until 2020 in childcare subsidies and maternal leave, media reports say.

Analysts predicted that at current pace of failing birth rate South Korea is expected to become “a superaged society” with 20 percent of the population over 65 by 2026.

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