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Bishops call for investigation of deadly incident in South Korea

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J-P Mauro - published on 11/01/22

It is still unknown exactly what caused the crowd crush involving hundreds in Seoul, which claimed the lives of at least 153 people.

Halloween street festivities in Seoul, South Korea, turned tragic after a bottleneck of people led to a crowd crush that killed at least 153 and injured dozens more. Now, the Catholic bishops of South Korea are calling for an investigation into what caused the deadly incident in order to ensure the circumstances are not repeated. 

According to Licas News, a Filipino outlet, there were upwards of 100,000 people out in the streets of Seoul’s Itaewon entertainment district. In the district’s narrow streets, crowds were tightly packed with little room to move. A narrow, sloping alleyway — popular both for its trendy bars and as a shortcut to the subway station — became so jammed that videos show people struggling to breathe, forced to endure the pressure of hundreds of people pressed together. Those in back tried to push forward, but there was no where to go. Even as victims collapsed, it was difficult for friends and first responders to find room to give aid.

Bishops’ letter

Vatican News reports that the Korean bishops called for an investigation in order to “break the cycle of injustice and irresponsibility that has become a common practice in this society.”

“To do that, we must first be faithful to our respective roles,” the bishops said. “Authorities must thoroughly examine the cause and process of this tragedy, and ensure that irresponsibility and oblivion are not repeated.”

The bishops’ letter went on to cite the teachings of the Church: 

“Human life and dignity are the most precious values, and nothing in our society can take precedence over it.”

The letter implored South Korean politicians to act with haste in order to ensure there are “no further sacrifices” from young people.

The vast majority of party attendees were young people in their late teens and early 20s. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said that the tragedy “should not have happened,” and has vowed a full investigation. 

Pope Francis

The bishops’ letter came on the heels of comments from Pope Francis. Aleteia previously reported that Pope Francis mentioned the tragedy during his October 30 Angelus address, in which he called on Catholics to offer prayers for those who lost their lives: 

“Let us pray to the Risen Lord also for those – especially the young – who died in Seoul, as a tragic consequence of a sudden crowd surge,” Pope Francis said. 

Read more at Vatican News.

Tags:
HalloweenKoreaPope Francis
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