Religious leaders call for unity ahead of impeachment ruling

South Korea’s major religious groups on Thursday urged the nation to respect the Constitutional Court’s verdict, due on Friday, on the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye and stand united regardless of the outcome.

The Constitutional Court will deliver its ruling on Park, who was impeached by parliament in December for allegedly letting her confidante meddle in state affairs and colluding with her to extort millions of dollars from conglomerates. If the court upholds the impeachment, Park will be removed from office.

“The Constitutional Court ruling cannot satisfy everyone. Extreme conflict, strife and disobedience of the stern ruling will only lead to catastrophe,” Archbishop Kim Hee-joong of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea said in a statement.

The archbishop hoped that the court will hand a “fair ruling proving that the health of the nation’s constitutionalism remains sound.”

The Christian Council of Korea (CCK) also pleaded for all South Koreans to accept the outcome of the ruling.

“The justices will rule in accordance to their principles and sense of duty,” said Rev. Lee Young-hoon, CCK chairman, who underscored the need for a “clean concession” in light of the nation’s intense inner conflict.

“I hope that our people can achieve societal divinity and become mature citizens to make a better Korea.”

The Jogye Order, South Korea’s largest Buddhist sect, proposed that the nation make Friday’s court verdict an opportunity to open up a “Renaissance of peace” and urged the people to exercise their freedom of expression rights in peaceful ways.

Ven. Dobeob of the Jogye Temple in central Seoul, said “the court verdict, regardless of the outcome, can serve as an opportunity for our society to mature” if people respect and hear out even opposing opinions.

Since late October, South Korea’s national psyche has remained extremely torn regarding the president’s allegations. Naysayers and supporters of Park have held regular mass rallies side by side in the nation’s capital, pressuring the court to rule in favor of their respectively held opinion. (Yonhap)

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