12/17/2012, 00.00
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Korean Church: May conservatives and progressives always be at the service of man

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
Just days before the presidential election, the Bishop of Suwon calls upon the faithful to "overcome their differences in order to build a more just society. Beginning from the Social Teachings of the Church."

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The social teachings of the Church "are the path to follow in order to build a more just society also in politics. The differences are constructive if they are not used as weapons to be pointed at each other: the faithful must always keep this in mind." So writes Msgr. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon - President of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace and Bishop of Suwon - in a document published on the occasion of the second "Social Doctrine Week".

In the text - entitled "All ideologies should be based on love for human beings and for the community" - the bishop stressed that the Korean society "has experienced confrontations and conflicts in every area, which still occur today. Politics, economics, environment are issues that the forthcoming presidential elections have brought into the daily debate and that strongly divide the population."

However, he adds, "the divisions between conservatives and progressives are natural. These two sides complement each other in a reciprocal manner, but they must learn to live together: only in this way will we have real political and social development. The dispute, however, must change, it cannot be focused on self-centredness and egoism: we must start from a reasonable thinking and walk on the path of hope."

For Msgr. Ri, "the faithful, regardless of the political party to which they belong, must overcome the ideological conflicts and work for a more effective implementation of the social teachings of the Church. These reveal the unchanging truths in social issues and means for the evangelization. When voting, elect therefore a president whose first value is that of respect for human dignity and the common good, a humble servant of the people."

The presidential elections are scheduled for December 19. Contending the votes are the conservative candidate Park Geun-hye, daughter of the former military dictator of South Korea and an advocate of a "tough" policy with Pyongyang, and Moon Jae-in, a democratic candidate and practising Catholic, who instead preaches an attitude of dialogue with the outside and advocates a reformist policy for the domestic economic situation. 


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