ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Political crisis: even Catholics for the resignation of President Park

Tuesday, 6 December 2016 politics   religious fundamentalism   civil society  


Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - The political tension in South Korea is skyrocketing, due to a serious crisis that has shaken the country to its foundations. For more than a month massive demonstrations have taken place in Seoul and other major Korean cities to demand the resignation of President Park Geun-hye. The woman, who was elected in 2012, is at the center of a scandal and of a massive popular protest for her controversial relationship with Choi Soon-sil, the daughter of a leader of a shamanic worship. According to the findings, in recent years it seems that shamanic rituals have guided national policy and the nation's decisive choices. The President was manipulated by Choi Soon-sil who used this influence to control the affairs of state (accessing confidential documents) and at the same time to enrich herself, piloting contributions of big industrial groups to foundations controlled by her. Choi Soon-sil is now under arrest for fraud and abuse of power.
After over a month of demonstrations, next December 9 the South Korean Parliament is preparing to vote a motion of impeachment of President Park who, according to polls, has a popular consensus which has dropped to 4%, dragging down even the Saenuri Conservative Party, to which she belongs. Faced with this motion, Park is willing to resign by April 2017, the year when presidential elections are to take place (December 2017).
During the street demonstrations, which involved millions of people, even the Catholic faithful were present, participating in all the dioceses. "The President has been unable to govern the country. The request for resignation is understandable, for the good of the nation", says to Fides Bishop Peter Kang who guides the diocese of Cheju. In the same diocese, the Justice and Peace Commission organized a demonstration criticizing Park for having failed in administering the nation well.
In past days, during a mass, also the auxiliary Bishop of Gwangju, Simon Ok Hyun-jin, called on the faithful to take part in peaceful marches, while Bishop Vincent Ri Pyung-ho, in a Mass in his diocese of Jeonju, has called for the "restoration of a real democracy", noting that "the entire population of all walks of life calls for her resignation". As Fides learns, similar initiatives, with the faithful involved in the protest, were held in the Diocese of Daejeon, Masan, Seoul, Suwon and Uijeongbu. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 06/12/2016)