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Liberal priest group must heed to Cardinal’s warning

Posted February. 24, 2014 07:55,   


Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jeong held an interview with the "L`Osservatore Romano," the official daily of the Vatican, ahead of a ceremony to appoint new cardinals. Asked by the reporter “What do you think of the Catholic Priest Association for Justice’s demand for President Park Geun-hye’s resignation,” Yeom said, “Irrational.” When this phrase caused controversy, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Seoul gave explanation, saying that the reporter misinterpreted Cardinal Yeom’s remarks "not reasonable" in English.

The cardinal’s succeeding remarks suggested that the two different versions of interpretation seem to be hardly different, as he was highly critical. Yeom said, “If the ruler loses approval, the public has an opportunity to replace the ruler every five years. Up until 1987 when a democratic government was not established, the Catholic Priest Association for Justice spearheaded very important struggle that could be sufficiently sympathized and supported. Up until then, I also formed alliance with them. However, dictatorial power that (priests) should fight against no longer exist today.”

Posting of comments by National Intelligence Service staff was illegal act and the case is awaiting trial. However, few people believe that comments by spy agency officials had influence strong enough to change the results of the 2012 presidential election. The opposition camp and civil society are not demanding Park’s resignation because they don’t have as strong courage as the priest group. It is because such demand is not just.

Yeom also mentioned the method of how the church can participate in politics. He warned that “the priests` association should be able to use methodology that is more evangelical to advance society. If they insist on the current method, they will be forced out to margin of society.” We urge the priests` association to realize now rather than later that the method the Catholic church used when the opposition camp or civil society could not properly play their function under military dictatorship in the past can no longer work.