Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Red-Baiting Korea's Catholic Priests

"Ultra-right groups have included South Korea’s Catholic Priests’ Association (CPAJ)... on a list of groups which allegedly support North Korea," reports John Choi — Korean priests dismiss ‘leftist’ accusations. Mr. Choi informs us that "the Right Korea and Citizens’ Solidarity for Clean Cyber Space groups jointly released a list of 37 groups that they accuse of spreading 'pro-North Korea' and 'anti-state' information," which also included the Protestant National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK).

The joint statement said, "These leftist groups clearly assist North Korea and promote anti-state activities by arguing for the abolition of the National Security Law and the withdrawal of US forces from South Korea." (Interesting that "arguing for the abolition of the National Security Law and the withdrawal of US forces from South Korea" makes one "anti-state.") Father Mark Kim In-kook, secretary of the CPAJ, countered, "I don’t think that these immature groups released the list in good faith."

"We are a ‘pro-NK group’ in the sense that we love North Koreans as Jesus mandated us to love even our enemies," he explained. "And we are an ‘anti-state’ group in so far as we object to the government acting against the Kingdom of Heaven. Our activities are based on the Church’s mission of spreading the Good News beyond ideology," he continued. "It is insensitive to divide our activities into right or left, without understanding religion."

I once devoted an article to where I think these priests are a bit misguided — Have Korea's Protesting Priests Chosen the Right Fights? However, to redbait them is, as Father Kim said, "immature", and it is better not to "divide [such] activities into right or left."

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Blogger Peter Kim said...

In spite of decades-long fight for human rights, CPAJ is so silent about North Korea, while so vociferous against any issues related to America and South Korean government. So strange.

11:08 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I'm of two minds on criticizing North Korea. On the one hand, the country is obviously a horrific tyranny. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much outside criticism helps. I leave the issue to the Korean people to best decide themselves. Ut unum sint.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Peter Kim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Peter Kim said...

I wonder CPAJ's silence about abortion issue may have the same premise: Let them make their own decisions.

12:47 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

That I do find troubling, as I mentioned in my article. Even from a merely nationalist perspective (and Korea's leftists are nationalists), abortion is a national demographic disaster.

12:49 PM  

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