mass-weddingInternet-streamed ceremony unites 20,000 couples around the world
In an outdoor ceremony held October 14th in Seoul, South Korea and Webcast around the globe, the leader of the Unification Church, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, joined together in matrimony some 40,000 men and women, including 15,000 who were present with the sometimes-controversial minister. The men wore black tuxedos with white scarves and red ties, the women white lace and veils. They were present at Moon’s Seoul-based university to take part in the Church’s largest mass-wedding to date. The proceedings in South Korea could be seen across the world on the Church’s Web site, www.unification.org. The ceremony was meant to commemorate both the 50th wedding anniversary and upcoming 90th birthday of Moon, who Church officials say is planning to hand over the reins of his religious empire to three of his 10 children. Moon himself has weathered numerous sex scandals, while his Unification Church has been called a cult that brainwashes its followers, who are known derisively as “Moonies.” The Church, founded by Moon in 1954, has also been criticized for arranging the marriages of many of its followers. Church officials say that although at one time Moon handpicked each couple – most of whom had never met – these days, programs help would-be couples get to know each other before the mass wedding ceremonies.