Seoul (AsiaNews) - Korean Catholics call "with humility and hope" on Pope Francis to appoint a cardinal for the country "that can become a friend of the poor and marginalised," this according to a petition by the Catholic Action Promotion Committee for Justice, Peace and Democracy signed by more than a thousand people. Petitioners want the pontiff to appoint "a strong leader for difficult times".
The first consistory of the Argentine pope will create at least 14 new cardinals on 22 February. At present, South Korea has only one cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Seoul Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, who cannot vote because he is over 80 years old.
Catholics make up 14 per cent of the country's population, and continue to grow, representing an ever stronger part of society.
The petition reads, "we desire to have a Church leader who is capable to purify the Church from the secularism and materialism already deeply rooted in the Church and a leader who is capable to choose an evangelical way to become friend of the poor." Hence, "we Korean Catholics earnestly request to Pope Francis to send us a new cardinal who can be a strong leader for difficult times."