Statement on the Occasion of the First Memorial Day of the Sewol Ferry Disaster
“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation” (Mt 2,18). On April 10, 2015, the Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, President of the CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace, issued a statement on the occasion of the first memorial day of the Sewol ferry disaster on April 16, 2014. He started his statement with a prayer for the heavenly rest of the victims who lost their precious life both at the accident site and during the rescue operation, and for the healing and peace of the bereaved families and those who remain. He reminded us about the shameful reality of Korea. He stressed that we have overlooked irregularity and corruption, and have neglected many rules on security, offering the excuse of convention. In his statement, he said that the root of the disaster was not only our evil mind but also the prevailing tendency of materialism in our society.
Bishop You strongly urged that the so-called draft “enforcement ordinance” of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries be abolished because it is against truth and justice. He also urged that all facts related to the disaster including its cause, the procedure of the rescue operation, and its salvage work should be opened to the public fair and square. He said, “Instead of the useless draft, a new special law should be enacted and put in force in a proper way.” He also mentioned that the reckless delay on the salvage work will increasingly weaken the credibility of the government.
Bishop You urged that all the faithful and Korean people should not be indifferent to our neighbors, especially the disadvantaged, and injustice within our society. He said “Indifference is aggravating the social evils.” He said that we must awake and face the reality with the spirit of the Gospel and call upon political authorities to carry out their duty.
In conclusion, Bishop You urged that all of us should resolutely try to change ourselves, lest the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster have sacrificed themselves in vain.