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Church threatens revolt over base

Catholics plan to pool resources across the country, step up opposition to proposed naval base

Church threatens revolt over base
The Mass to launch the Catholic Solidarity to Realize Peace in Jeju was held on October 10 in Jeju reporter, Jeju island

October 11, 2011

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Priests and Religious from 15 dioceses in South Korea yesterday joined ongoing opposition to the building of a proposed naval base on Jeju island and have said civil disobedience might be employed if construction does not halt. Father Andrew Park Dong-ho said during a Mass, announcing the nationwide movement, that opposition to the project has now become “the decision of the Catholic Church” in Korea. Previous protests have been led by Church leaders and parishioners in Cheju diocese, led by its ordinary Bishop Peter Kang U-il. Now the diocese has been joined by justice and peace committees from 15 other dioceses across the country. Father Park, president of the Committee for Justice and Peace in Seoul archdiocese, also said in his homily yesterday that the Church opposes “a naval base on the island according to the teachings of Christ, who is peace.” Some 1,000 Catholics including 350 priests and Religious across the country participated in the Mass to launch the movement. Fr Daniel Kim Chang-hoon, vicar general of Cheju who presided over the Mass, said “the Church has a duty to protect life and peace,” further noting “the protest against the naval base is also one of the Church’s duties.” Following the Mass, participants issued a statement signed by 964 priests, 2,664 women Religious and 107 men Religious, and announced in the name of “Jesus Christ and faith” that they oppose the naval base construction on “the Island of Peace” – the island was so named by the government in 2005. The statement added that signatories would begin a civil disobedience movement if construction did not cease. Plans to build the base were announced in 2007 and construction is expected to be finished by 2014. Related reports: Peace plane flies in for protest rally Objections grow to Korean naval base
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