ICC Note: As the third visit between Moon and Kim nears in September, South Koreans hope for a discussion on religion during the summit. After a few years of secular leaders, many South Koreans look forward to the progress that their new Catholic President is expected to make, especially at the aid of other world political and religious leaders. Increasing talks surrounding religion hope to benefit Christians in North Korea.
8/18/18 Korea (La Croix) South Korean activists have cause to hope their Catholic president will raise issue of religion at inter-Korean summit.
South Korea has been a bit of an outlier in Catholic Asia for decades both in terms of the size of its Catholic demographic — bested only in Asia by the Philippines and Timor-Leste — and the political influence they wield.
Remarkably, three out of seven of the country’s presidents have been Catholic since it began democratically electing its leaders in 1981.
Now President Moon Jae-in, a practicing Catholic, is planning another historic inter-Korean summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in September in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
Under Moon’s stewardship, the Korean Church appears better placed than at any point since the 1950-53 Korean War to shape future social and political events.
An astonishing 32 percent of the nation’s lawmakers identify as Catholic. While they are still outnumbered by Protestants, Buddhists and non-believers, this means Catholic representation in government is now proportionally higher than what we can see at a grassroots level, as just 7 to 11 percent of the population is Catholic.