CBCK papal visit message urges govt to act on Sewol ferry disaster
The new law will guarantee a proper investigation as well as a rigorous follow-up measures in regard to the Sewol ferry disaster, in deference to the desire of the bereaved families of the victims.
The message released two days ahead of the papal visit by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Korea (CBCK) urged the government and the National Assembly to do their best for the speedy legislation of the ‘Special law on Sewol ferry disaster’.
The law will guarantee a proper investigation as well as a rigorous follow-up measures in regard to the Sewol ferry disaster, in deference to the desire of the bereaved families of the victims, who are now going on a hunger strike at the Gwanghwamun Plaza.
CBCK President Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju has signed the message entitled Let us share in the peace of Pope Francis, which exhorted all Koreans to “embrace with each other in the spirit of tolerance and harmony in full accord with the love and hope, which the Holy Father wants to communicate to us.”
Pope Francis will arrive in Seoul today for a five day apostolic visit. He will join in the young men and women participating in the 6th Asian Youth Day in Korea, the first time for a Pope to be personally present at the Asian Youth Day.
The other major event of the papal trip is the beatification of the 124 Korean martyrs, to be held at Gwanghwamun Plaza where families of the victims of Sewol ferry disaster are holding the hunger strike.
The Church has made it clear it will not forcibly evict the protestors.
The pope is scheduled to meet 10 survivors and victims' relatives tomorrow. A spokesman for the victims' families, Yoo Kyung-Geun, said the group of 10 would ask for the pope's support for their campaign during a closed-door, half-hour meeting after a mass on Friday in the southern city of Daejeon.
Yoo said talks were still going on with the Catholic Church regarding the protestors' presence in the square where the Saturday mass will be held. "We will maintain a presence only to a degree, so as not to disrupt the pope's parade and movement within the plaza so that more people can take a look at him," Yoo said.
Around 300 people died when the Sewol ferry sank in April – most of them teenagers on a high school trip. The tragedy, blamed by many on regulatory failings and official incompetence, plunged the entire nation into a lengthy period of mourning.