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As South Korean president ousted, bishops urge harmony

A culture of dialogue needs to be prioritized to help resolve tensions, says bishops conference president

As South Korean president ousted, bishops urge harmony

South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye bows prior to delivering an address on Nov. 4 to the nation at the presidential Blue House in Seoul. South Korean President Park Geun-Hye was fired by the country's top court on March 10 as it upheld her impeachment by parliament over a wide-ranging corruption scandal. (Photo by Ed Jones/AFP)

ucanews.com reporter, Seoul
South Korea

March 10, 2017

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Korean bishops have urged their country to strive for harmony following news that scandal-hit President Park Geun-hye has been forced from office by a court ruling March 10.

Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, said that it was not comfortable to see Park being impeached, as she was the country's elected official.

"She was elected by us. Now, she is impeached and we should now build a stable country through harmony and through this we need to overcome the confrontation and tension among Koreans," Archbishop Kim said at a press conference at his office in Gwangju just after the Constitutional Court of Korea upheld Park's impeachment that was filed Dec. 9.

The 64-year-old Park was impeached over her collusion with friend Choi Soon-sil to pressure big businesses to donate funds. Choi reportedly manipulated the premier to gain access to secret documents and allegedly embezzled funds through non-profit foundations.

"Most of all, as a Korean, I appreciate those Koreans who tried to restore democracy. They held candlelight rallies without any violence, which shows their matured sense of democracy," said Archbishop Kim referring to the millions of people who joined weekend rallies that drove the National Assembly to approve a motion to impeach the president.

However, the motion has divided the Korean society and two pro-Park supporters died during a protest near the court on the day of the judgment, reported Reuters.

The archbishop said that a culture of dialogue should be prioritized to help resolve tensions caused by the impeachment.

"In the frame of the Constitution, we should respect and adopt differences," he said. Those who favored the impeachment and those who opposed it, they are all Koreans. The result is the victory of Koreans."

The Constitutional Court's ruling makes Park the first Korean president to be dismissed from office.

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul also released a message where he called on Koreans to accept the court's ruling no matter if they supported or opposed it.

"From now, we all should think of the common good and unify public opinion," Cardinal Yeom said. "We should overcome calmly the hard times with crisis and confusion with patience and wisdom."

South Korea must now hold an election to choose a new president within 60 days.

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