Korean Catholics oppose missile defense system deployment

Initiative more likely to provoke a war than prevent one, they say
Korean Catholics oppose missile defense system deployment

Catholics from the Daegu Archdiocese, Andong Diocese and St. Benedict Waegwan Abbey participate in a rally on July 18 that opposed the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system. (Photo by The Catholic Times of Korea)

ucanews.com reporter, Seoul
South Korea
July 21, 2016
The Catholic Church in Korea has voiced its opposition to the deployment of a U.S. anti-ballistic missile system in the country, saying it will only inflame tensions with neighboring North Korea.

"The deployment of THAAD [Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system] will reignite a new cold war," read a combined statement from the Korean Bishops' Committee for Justice and Peace and the Reconciliation of the Korean People on July 15 citing their opposition to the U.S. missile defense system designed to guard against North Korean attacks.

The South Korean Defense Ministry last week announced that it would deploy the advanced missile defense system in the country's southeast.

The Franciscan order in Korea also released a statement opposing the deployment of the missile defense system which has become a divisive issue in the country.

"Peace that can only be protected by THAAD is a false one," said the Franciscan's statement.

On 18 July, Daegu Archdiocese, Andong Diocese and St. Benedict Waegwan Abbey jointly organized a rally and a Mass at the abbey against the THAAD deployment.

"The deployment of THAAD in Korea will lead Korea not into peace and prosperity but into a standoff and war," said Abbot Blasio Park Hyun-dong who was main celebrant at the Mass.

"We Catholics should not forget our prophetic duty proclaiming the true peace of Christ in our society," said the Catholic priest.

After the Mass, participants marched to the main U.S. Army base, Camp Carroll, in Waegwan, praying the rosary.

Father Benedict Shin Jong-ho, president of the Daegu Archdiocesan Committee for Justice and Peace, said the church teaches that peace is the gift of justice.

"Peace can be obtained not by an arms race but concession, dialogue, compromise and sacrifice," said Father Shin.

The planned missile system deployment has evoked threats from Pyongyang and has also upset economic giant China. North Korea fired three ballistic missiles off its east coast on July 19 to show their disapproval.

 

Mass was held at St. Benedict Waegwan Abbey on July 18 for those Catholics who participated in a peaceful rally against the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system. (Photo by The Catholic Times of Korea)

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