Clergymen's death wish for Yoon gets them in trouble
Two men of the cloth are facing consequences for saying they hoped President Yoon Suk-yeol's jet would crash during his trip to Southeast Asia.
Rev. Kim Gyu-don of the Anglican Church of Korea was dismissed Monday for a post on Facebook earlier that day saying the entire Korean population should wish for Yoon to go down in flames — literally.
"I hope that the presidential jet will crash," Rev. Kim wrote. "I hope the entire population will come together to pray for a crash."
President Yoon, accompanied by first lady Kim Keon-hee, began a six-day trip to Cambodia and Indonesia last Friday to attend Asean-related meetings and a G20 summit.
After a barrage of criticism, Rev. Kim deleted his post and claimed it was supposed to have been private. It was made public by "mistake," he wrote.
Later Monday, he posted on Facebook that he "sincerely apologized to those who have been hurt." His Facebook account was then made private.
The church was bombarded with complaints and the Daejeon Diocese of the Anglican Church said in a statement Monday that Kim had been immediately dismissed.
The church said his comments were personal and did not reflect the views of the Anglican Church.
Bishop of Daejeon Moses Yoo Nag-jun made the decision to immediately dismiss Kim.
"We offer our sincere apologies to all the souls who were angered and hurt by the priest who caused the controversy," said the Daejeon Diocese in a statement.
"If an Anglican priest is dismissed for disciplinary reasons, he is deprived of his priesthood," said Rev. Choi Jun-gi, provincial secretary of the Anglican Church of Korea. "Kim is no longer an Anglican priest."
This is the highest disciplinary action that can be taken by the church.
Meanwhile, a priest from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Daejeon, Park Joo-hwan, posted a photoshopped image of Yoon and first lady Kim falling off the presidential jet on social media on Saturday.
The post was entitled "Prayer."
The composite photo included a praying girl, and the text next to the image of the jet stated, "It was a simple accident due to a defect in the aircraft and not anyone's faults."
Last Thursday, Park reposted a story of a bus crash shared in the Chinese online community and wrote, "I just thought that this bus might be Air Force One." Air Force One refers to the presidential plane.
He later deleted both posts.
Unlike Rev. Kim, Park did not offer an apology.
Park reportedly took part in a rally calling for Yoon to resign earlier this month.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Daejeon said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that it was suspending Park.
The decision was made by Bishop Augustinus Kim Jong-soo of the Daejeon Diocese.
Bishop Kim issued a public apology and said that Park acknowledged his mistakes and is "deeply reflecting" on them.
"I would like to apologize for the hurt and shock that many people must have felt regarding the inappropriate words and actions," Kim said. "Park's posts clearly contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church and do not reflect the church's official position."
Park is suspended from the execution of religious duties, such as conducting Mass or hearing confessions.
Kim said based on Park's "sincere repentance" and his "admitting to his fault and a willingness to abide by any decision," the church first ordered a suspension but plans to "take a closer look at the situation" and consider stronger disciplinary action.
Lawmakers expressed outrage over the posts.
"How can they be called clergymen when they make public such foul rhetoric and curses?" said People Power Party (PPP) floor leader Joo Ho-young in a party meeting at the National Assembly Tuesday. "I was in a state of shock yesterday. I couldn't believe priests would do something like that."
BY SARAH KIM [email@example.com]