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Feminists run afoul of the Church

Catholics protest after women’s group burns sacramental wafer
July 13,2018
A radical feminist group has gotten on the bad side of the Korean Catholic Church after one of its members posted an image of a sacramental wafer riddled with disparaging remarks about the religion.

Now, local bishops plan to lodge a complaint with the Vatican.

The fracas began on Tuesday, when a member of Womad, an anti-male online community, uploaded an image of a sacramental wafer, regarded by believers as the body of Christ, with vulgarities against Jesus scribbled in red ink resembling blood.

Other images showed the wafer being burned. The accompanying caption was laden with profanity and accused the church of oppressing women. It ridiculed the belief that Eve originated from one of Adam’s rib bones and derided the church’s opposition to abortion and ordainment of women as priests.

The Catholic community immediately condemned the act as sacrilegious. A spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, which includes the church’s highest-ranking clergy, said the group would take action to “prevent a recurrence of this kind of issue.”

In a radio interview on Thursday, the spokesman, Ahn Bong-hwan said, the conference would likely report the matter to the church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the department at the Vatican that defends church doctrine against heresy. Ahn also said bishops might notify the Holy See through the Vatican’s ambassador in Seoul.

According to Catholic doctrine, a sacramental wafer is not considered the Body of Christ until it has been consecrated by a priest, a process the church calls transubstantiation. The resulting object is regarded as so holy that the most faithful refrain from even chewing the wafer after it is placed in their mouths during mass.

The writer of the post, who remains unknown, wrote that her parents were devout Catholics and that she had received the wafer from a priest at her local church.

With the post generating more controversy by the day, members of Womad have flooded their website with anti-Catholic posts and comments. One member on Wednesday said she was declaring “open war against Catholicism” and planned to burn down a local church in Busan on Sunday. The post included a picture of a can being filled with gasoline.

The next day, the Busan police received three complaints about the post. A spokesman for law enforcement said that although the picture was found to be from an earlier and unrelated post on the website, the police would increase patrols around four major churches in the city over the weekend.

Lay members of the church have uploaded a petition to the Blue House’s website demanding that Womad be forcibly shut down because of its libelous nature.

Started in 2016, Womad is notorious for its openly hostile views toward men and has incited controversy before. The group’s posts frequently attack different religions for oppressing women.

Another post on Wednesday included an image of a burning book that appeared to be the Quran, the holy book of Islam.

BY SHIM KYU-SEOK [shim.kyuseok@joongang.co.kr]