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Korean government lashes out over Catholic priest's comments

Broadsides fired after priest says Mass to call for president's resignation

Korean government lashes out over Catholic priest's comments

Picture: The Hankoryeh

Key figures in the government and ruling party - including President Park Geun-hye, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, and Saenuri Party leaders - unleashed a barrage of criticism on Nov. 25 in response to comments made on Nov. 22 by priest Park Chang-shin. During a special mass calling for Park’s resignation held by the Jeonju diocese of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ), Father Park Chang-shin mentioned North Korea’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

During her morning meeting with Blue House secretaries, President Park referred to Father Park’s comments. “There have been a lot of activities that are stirring up confusion and divisions,” the president said. “Do not intend to tolerate behavior that hurts the public’s trust and divides people.” Park had previously brought up the fact that Nov. 23 was the third anniversary of North Korea’s provocative shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

Park continued by saying, “Not only has North Korea failed to show contrition for its shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, it continues to threaten to turn the Blue House into a sea of fire. National security cannot be preserved through cutting-edge weaponry alone. Even more important is the patriotism and the unity of the people.”

The remarks made by Prime Minister Chung were even more strident. During an emergency meeting of senior officials, Chung criticized Park Chang-shin’s remarks as “destructive to the country and supportive of the enemy.”

“Park Chang-shin may be a priest, but he is first and foremost a citizen of this country. Not only is he parroting the arguments of North Korea by making statements that violate the basic duties of a citizen, he is also overlooking North Korea’s provocative action. We cannot turn a blind eye to this. He must be held responsible for his actions,” Prime Minister Chung said.

Full Story: Park administration’s prickly reaction to priest’s comments

Source: The Hankyoreh

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