The Catholic Church of Pyongyang

Posted on by

North Korea is officially atheist and is accused of widespread religious persecution. The United States claims its few state-run churches exist simply to give the appearance of religious freedom.

Its Catholic Church is known as the “silent church.” It has no ties with the Vatican and there is not one single residing priest in the country. They were once referred to as the “Vatican’s spies.” There are strict controls over what is permitted — many religious processes such as confession are out of the question. A confidential one-on-one conversation between a South Korean — even if that person is a priest — and a North Korean is impossible and both could be accused of espionage.

In the 1970s, Pyongyang proudly insisted that the country was “free from religious superstitions,” according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry. Then for no apparent reason, the authorities in the North created a small number of churches and temples in the late 1980s, all of them under very strict government control.

Says Andrei Lankov, an associate professor in social sciences at Kookmin University in South Korea, “From [North Korea’s] point of view, [Christianity] is a very real threat. Right now, Christianity seems to be their most dangerous ideological challenge to the existing regime.”

Kenneth Bae, an American citizen who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea, was accused of bringing down the government through religious activities. And he is not the only missionary to be detained in the country.


This entry was posted in by Grant Montgomery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.