Korean bishops condemn political scandal

President asked to take responsibility for damage done to country's democracy
Korean bishops condemn political scandal

Choi Soon-Sil (center) is escorted as she arrives at the Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office on Oct. 31. Choi is at the center of a political scandal that has shattered public confidence in President Park Geun-Hye, with allegations of fraud and meddling in state affairs. (Photo by AFP)

ucanews.com reporter, Seoul
South Korea
November 3, 2016
The Korean Catholic bishops' justice and peace committee has weighed in on a corruption scandal currently shaking Korean politics.

President Park Geun-hye's approval ratings nosedived after news broke that her friend, Choi Soon-sil, manipulated the premier to gain access to secret documents and allegedly embezzle funds through non-profit foundations. The president has since replaced her prime minister, finance minister and public safety minister Nov. 1 but people still want her to step down.

The committee also took a stand against the corruption claims in a statement released Nov. 1 beseeching Park to take responsibility for the scandal, repent and respect the will of the Korean people who are currently incensed.

In the statement, the bishops' committee asked Park to take responsibility for the damage done to Korean democracy.

"The political power of a democratic country comes from its people. Intervention of a secret power in the government administration is an anti-constitutional act," the statement said.

The committee also demanded a just and thorough investigation. "It is a priority to impartially implement the law and normalize state affairs to regain the trust of the people. Covering up the matter will only accelerate panic," the statement added.


Professors from Catholic universities

Professors from the Catholic University of Korea also released a statement criticizing the unprecedented scandal. In the statement, signed by 107 professors, they advised Park to resign.

"State affairs were dependent on [Choi] and she used the power of the country to serve her greedy private aid group. Park should step down from the post," the professors' statement said.

Seminarians of Suwon Catholic University, Pusan Catholic University and Incheon Catholic University also released similar statements.

Choi, the daughter of a shadowy religious cult leader, Choi Tae-min, continues to be detained over allegations of exerting inappropriate influence in state affairs. An investigation is underway even as thousands of protestors have rallied in Seoul calling for the president to step down. Park has accepted the resignations of eight of her top aides over the past weekend. Police have detained two of her aides and raided eight banks linked to the controversy. 

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