'Catholics Protecting the Republic of Korea' made known at a press conference, the list of 100 priests who they considered friendly to North Korea, against the United States and the Korean Government. The Catholics protecting the country made it clear they were not condemning the priests but only wanted them to repent and be converted. They are sick and tired of activist priests, and think they represent the ordinary believers.
are seen in many other countries where those who see the
social aspects of the Gospel as important as the spiritual. We are made
up of body and soul and Jesus made it clear that the commandment to love
includes God and our brothers and sisters. This holistic
understanding of the Christian message is understood by most, but here in
Korea as in other parts of the world, many have difficulty when the
Church speaks about social issues.
A large number
of Korean Priests have been vocal on the side of the social Gospel
from the time of the democratization in Korea. Catholic Priests'
Association for Justice played a big part in moving to democracy when they began in 1974. Sad, when we have Catholics fighting over what should be
understood by all as integral to our message but in the minds of many,
it is not having problems with the way it is done, where a difference of opinion would be expected, but the confrontation seems to be religion
has no place in the public square.They want the priests to stay with the
the Pastoral Bulletin one of the priests whose name was on the list of
one hundred writes about his feelings on seeing the list. He admits that
in every group or organization you have a difference of opinion. If we are not to go contrary to our beliefs, we are free to
express our opinions frankly.
However, there are limitations on what we say, especially when names are made known.
Even in society to say something false about
another is libel, and there are criminal penalties-- no small
matter. In the list was the name of his bishop. Seeing the name of his
bishop he was astounded, and the names of two other bishops were also
on the list.
Looking over the 'Catholics Protecting the
Republic of Korea', he gives us his thoughts on the subject. They want the
priest to repent and be converted and he can't figure out what they have done wrong. He is willing to even put his priesthood on the line
to defend his bishop. He has not heard one word, seen any action that
was contrary to his calling as a priest. How can one without
hesitation show this kind of disrespect.
What have these
Catholics done for their fellow human beings who are on the periphery
of society? His bishop, in a general meeting of the priests, has requested when he visits a parish every thing be done simply. He asked the
priests to put no burden on the parishioners when they are assigned to a
parish or on their feast days. They are also giving 10% of the income from Mass
stipends to help the poor. Does it make any sense to criticize this bishop. He's surprised to see how many Catholics have allowed this to continue. The language they use is far from what we would expect from those attending the same Mass. To the credit of the priests' association they have kept relatively quiet in the face of the criticism.