From A North Korean Prison Camp

Imagine being born where you experience no family, no love, no nothing. All you do everyday is work constantly, being slaves. You are constantly starving, and food is the only thing that you care about. You cannot escape, but you feel no need to escape for you feel that the whole world is like this- cruel, mean, and heartless. You don’t know that the Earth is round. You don’t know where China is. You don’t even know that China exists.

To me, this sounds like a dystopian society- the sort that you see in science fiction books. People are working constantly like robots and treated like animals. Although this may sound like science fiction, such things do exist today, in North Korea. Below is a story of a former North Korean prisoner who was born into a North Korean camp and grew up not knowing the outside world. He was perhaps the only one to escape the prison camp and make it alive to tell the story.

It seems kind of weird, doesn’t it? I mean, it seems kind of hard to imagine that such things do exist today in a modern world. But it does make me appreciate the fact that I live in America, a place definitely not North Korea.

A few things that caught my interest. First, Shin himself told that he did not feel any love or emotion when his mother and brother were executed. He only started to feel guilty after seeing other people with loving families. So brings up the question: most people say that children are naturally good and learn hate. However, in this case, it seems as if Shin had to learn love himself. Does this mean that children not only learn hate, but must also learn love, too?

Another thing: is this experience that Shin went through necessarily bad? On the outset it sure does look bad. I mean, who would want to go through what Shin went through? But, if all the spoiled children in the world were to go through his experience, they would definitely be a lot less spoiled. In fact, not just to children but also to grown-ups, for they also waste things and take things for granted, too.

In my next post, I would like to perhaps delve deeper into some of the things that I have pondered about for this story.

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California’s Church Scandal

I’m not Catholic, but I do know that the Catholic Church is looked upon as sacred and reverent to Catholics. Yet it is in this holy church that many scandals have occurred, and one big scandal just recently happened in Southern California- the Mahony scandal. The once-revered Cardinal Mahony is now facing opposition upon being realized that he tried to keep the abusive priests safe from the law. Not only that, what has enraged people is the fact that Mahony did not even consider to help the abused victims. Along with Mahony also fell Bishop Thomas Curry.

Read the article here (click link): LA Times- A Sudden Fall for Cardinal Mahony’s Former Right-hand Man

The LA Times article was a little bit of a revelation to me. Before, when I was a little younger, I used to think that the clergy who started these scandals were stupid and retarded in the fact that they tried to protect those abusive priests from the law. I thought they were stupidly trying to just protect the church’s reputation, when they should have known that to God, the reputation was already damaged. However, this article changed my opinion. I was now beginning to see that there is perhaps a moral reason why Mahony and other clergies involved did what they did. This is not just a Californian problem but a worldwide one.

Bishop Curry

Let’s see how all of this can have a moral reason. One quote from the article: In a 1990 letter, Curry wrote that he viewed a boy molested by Garcia as ‘the victim of a person who, as a result of his own illness, committed grave wrongs.‘ Basically, Curry was saying that the true victim was not the actual victim himself, but rather the abuser. Society does not tend to look at a deep level; we see what is literally and physically happening, thus we support the abused. However, if we take it into a religious level as with Curry, the greater sinner was the abuser. And in God’s eyes, sinners are the true victims of Satan, the ones who need help. Thus maybe the reason why Mahony and Curry and others both did not tend to the victims but rather to the abusers. In this case, I will have to partially agree with Curry. However, that does not mean he can neglect the victims.

There is also perhaps another moral reason. Check this quote out:

Of one priest, George Neville Rucker, accused in 1989 by a 31-year-old woman of decades-old abuse, he wrote: “It was of great concern to him that for something that was so casual to him at the time could be so devastating to her … he stays awake at night because of this. The trouble it caused him and his transfer was such a trauma for him that he has never been involved in anything since that time.”

What did I get from this quote? The reason why Curry and other clergy have kept abusive priests safe from the law is because they morally believe that it is the church that is a sinner’s haven. Again, let’s look from a religious point of view. God is like a father, who will always welcome back his son, no matter how sinful his son has been. In a sense, the house of God aka the church will always be open to even the vilest of sinners. In this case, it is the abusers. Why have them suffer in prison when they have learned from their mistakes? Let them come in peace with the Church and the Lord.

Again, this I have to partially agree. However, I believe that no matter the reasons or excuses that exists for this issue, whether legal or moral, the priests still have some fault. Mainly because they should have at least given the victims some care and attention. Anyway, whatever turns out for the priests or the victims or the offenders, let us all pray for them. May God be with us all. Amen.