Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Lee's pardons draw abuse of power claims
Outgoing president pardons 55, including close friendsOutgoing President Lee Myung-bak at a cabinet meeting (courtesy of the Presidential Office)
- Stephen Hong, Seoul
- January 29, 2013
Outgoing President Lee Myung-bak has approved pardons for 55 people including close associates, igniting allegations from the ruling and opposition parties, civic groups and even President-elect Park Geun-hye that he is abusing his power in the last days of his presidency.
Yoon Chang-joong, spokesman of Park’s presidential transition committee, called the pardons “very regrettable.” He said in a briefing on Tuesday that “Lee will face the nation’s criticism over the pardon of corrupt people.”
Included among those pardoned were Choi See-joong, former chairman of the Korea Communications Commission who is considered a mentor to Lee, and Chun Shin-il, Lee’s longtime friend and chairman of the Sejoong Namo Tour company.
Both were convicted on corruption charges for accepting bribes.
President-elect Park of Lee's ruling Saenuri Party had opposed the pardon plans when they were announced earlier this month, saying “especially pardoning those imprisoned for corruption is abusing power and against the will of the public.”
Park will be sworn in as president on February 25.
Jung Sung-ho, spokesperson of the main opposition Democratic United Party, also criticized the pardon’s, saying that “Lee will be sternly judged by history.”
The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, Korea’s largest civil society group, called the pardons “the worst of the worst” and said that Lee had cloaked his own self-interest with calls for what he has called “national unity.”
Jang Jeong-uk, chief coordinator of the group, accused Lee of trying to dilute criticism of the controversial pardons for corrupt former colleagues by including some that would be widely popular, including five residents from the Yongsan development site.
Six people from Yongsan were imprisoned in 2009 following clashes with police and protesters that left six dead.
Presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha told reporters on Tuesday in Seoul that Lee had rejected any claims of abuse of power during a cabinet meeting.
“I am not abusing the pardons process because they were done by due process of law,” Lee said at the meeting, adding that they had been reviewed by a screening committee.