Speed Reads

His Holiness

South Koreans protest Pope Francis' upcoming visit

Pope Francis' five-day visit to South Korea will begin Thursday, but not everyone in the region is happy. Roughly 10,000 protesters gathered Tuesday to rally against the pope and Catholicism.

As it turns out, the anti-Catholicism demonstration is largely made up of Protestant protesters. The Wall Street Journal reports that the rally, which took place at a convention center in Seoul, included speeches by Protestant pastors outlining the differences between the two Christian traditions. According to local reports, Rev. Song Chun-gil, who has previously opposed efforts to promote cooperation among South Korea's churches, called Catholicism a "perversion of faith."

In 2005, census data found that 18.3 percent of South Koreans identify as Protestant, while 10.8 percent identify as Catholic.

Pope Francis' visit to the region will mark the first papal visit to any part of East Asia in 25 years. During his visit, Francis will beatify 124 Catholic Koreans who were killed in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Associated Press also reports that Francis will provide a "message of peace and reconciliation for all Koreans."