|Rev. Sebastian Heinrich Rothler|
Sebastian Heinrich Rothler, a German priest who did missionary work in Korea for more than four decades, died on Sunday, the Order of St. Benedict Waegwan Abbey in North Gyeongsang Province said.
Rothler died of an undisclosed chronic illness, aged 78, at Muensterschwarzach Abbey in Germany.
Born in Nuremberg in 1935, he entered Muensterschwarzach Abbey in 1955, became a Roman Catholic priest in 1956 and studied the psychology of religion at the University of Munich.
He was ordained in April 1965 and sent to Waegwan Abbey the following September as a missionary.
In 1971, he became president of Bundo publishing company, established by the Korean monastery.
In more than 20 years heading Bundo, he published about 400 books, including the Korean translation of Peruvian theologist Gustavo Gutierrez’s 1917 text “Teologia de la Liberacion (Liberation Theology),” which was read by many democracy activists in the 1970s and 1980s.
Bundo published not only religious books but also literary bestsellers, including a collection of poems by a Korean Catholic sister Lee Hae-in and “The Giving Tree,” a children’s picture book authored and illustrated by Shel Silverstein.
Rothler made use of movies and other video materials as well as books for his pastoral ministry.
He imported and played foreign films in Korea. He headed Waegwan Abbey’s Benedictine Audiovisual Center, from where he disseminated DVDs of religious movies and art house films. He believed that religious messages could spread through a variety of media, not only through books. His favorites were images and movies.
In 1987, he broke his pelvis in a traffic accident and received surgery four times.
As his health began to deteriorate two years ago, he returned to Germany for treatment.
Waegwan Abbey held a funeral mass for Rothler on Monday and will hold a memorial service on Oct. 31.
By Chun Sung-woo (email@example.com)