Survey Promo
RVA App Promo Image

Korean Catholic Church mourns for the Itaewon disaster in Seoul

Mourners pay tribute near the scene of a stampede in Seoul, cropped (Photo courtesy of Vatican News)

The Catholic Church in South Korea condoled the families and friends of the victims of the stampede at the Itaewon Halloween festivities.

On Saturday, October 29, tens of thousands of people, including young people, descended on Seoul's popular Itaewon district for the city's first nearly unrestricted Halloween celebrations in three years. It turned out to be a deadly crush, with at least 154 people killed and 149 injured. As many as 37 people are in critical condition, reports the Ministry of the Interior and Safety.

The vast majority of those killed were women. More than 80% of those killed were in their twenties and thirties, but at least four were teenagers.

Besides, among those killed were citizens from at least two dozen countries.

This was South Korea's deadliest crushing disaster in its history.

In a message, Father Chul Soo Lee, Secretary General of the Catholic Church of Korea, said, "The victims who unfortunately lost their lives due to the disaster that occurred in Itaewon, Seoul, to God's mercy. Also, we offer our deepest condolences to the bereaved family and pray for speedy recovery and peace for the Auler injured."

Many of them were dressed in costume and were in their teens or twenties.

"We must strive to become the norm of this society and break the loop of everyday injustice and irresponsibility. In order to do that, we must first be faithful to our role. Especially for the peace and safety of the people, the relevant authorities must carefully examine the cause and process of this disaster and ensure that irresponsibility and oblivion will not be repeated. I hope you will try not to sacrifice more people, especially young people," he said.

Residents, officials, and people from different walks of life offer condolences at memorials.

"Human life and dignity are the most precious values. Nothing in our society can be prioritized more than this. In God, the custodian of life and the source of mercy, the Korean Catholic Church prays for the victims of this disaster and promises to walk with the families of the victims," he added.

Meanwhile, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo announced on October 31 that a thorough investigation into the Halloween tragedy would be conducted.

The current stampede disaster is S. Korea's worst since the 2014 Sewol ferry sinking. 


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.