As a Catholic and long-term resident of Korea I feel a need to respond to the remarks made by Catholic priest Park Chang-shin as reported on the front page of your paper on Nov. 25.
The statement attributed to Park, “What should North Korea do if South Korea-U.S. military exercises are being carried out (near) the problematic NLL? North Korea needs to open fire. That was the shelling of Yeonpyeongdo Island,” spoken at a Catholic Mass held on Friday, has no place in the Catholic church, and in fact is diametrically opposed to the teachings of Catholicism and Christianity.
To advocate a military response that resulted in the killing of innocent civilians as well as soldiers is an abomination of the Christian Gospel, which preaches love for our fellow man and forgiveness, and any priest who says such a thing in church before a congregation of worshippers has no business being a priest. The Catholic church needs to remove this so-called priest from his post immediately. If I were a member of that congregation I would boycott the services whenever Park is present and demand his expulsion.
I attend church services at Sooyoungro Church in Busan, a Presbyterian church that offers English translation at its Sunday service at 10:50 a.m. I cannot imagine Pastor Lee, a dedicated man of God, ever making such an egregious statement condoning violence. If he did so, I would feel compelled to seek a meeting with him and demand an explanation. But again, Pastor Lee is a fine upstanding Christian minister and as such would never even dream of making such a statement in direct contradiction of Biblical teachings.
The fact that Park did so at his Catholic church is a challenge to all of the members of his congregation to speak up and ask him by whose authority he makes that statement. It is certainly not in keeping with any of the tenets of the Catholic church. So whom does he answer to? The Catholic bishop in charge of his diocese needs to be made aware of these hateful statements and relieve the man of his duties immediately.
Park Chang-shin has no place in a Christian church.
By Charles Edward Vignos
Charles Edward Vignos teaches English at Stanford Academy in Busan. ― Ed.