News / Asia

Pope Francis Issues Farewell Message of Peace on Korean Peninsula

  • Pope Francis receives a bouquet of flowers from a child as he leaves Seoul at the end of his five-day visit to South Korea, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Pope Francis blesses a crown of barbed wire taken from the border between South and North Korea that resembles the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ, prior to the start of a Mass of reconciliation in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • The faithful sing a reunification song during a Mass for peace and reconciliation outside Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • The faithful watch a laptop computer broadcasting a Mass of reconciliation outside Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Pope Francis talks to the media during an airborne press conference on his journey back to Rome from Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Pope Francis waves during his visit to the birthplace of Saint Kim Taegon Andrea, also known as Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, the first Korean-born Catholic priest, Solmoe Sanctuary in Dangjin, South Korea, Aug. 15, 2014.
  • South Koreans hold a rally to demand a government inquiry into the sinking of the sunken ferry, Sewol. Pope Francis met privately with about a dozen relatives of the dead as well as survivors of South Korea's April ferry disaster, in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 15, 2014.
  • The signature of Pope Francis is seen on the guest book after he prayed in front of the birthplace of Saint Andrea Kim Dae-gun at the Solmoe Sanctuary in Dangjin, South Korea, Aug. 15, 2014.
  • Pope Francis waves upon his arrival at Seoul Air Base, as South Korean President Park Geun-hye smiles, in Seongnam, Aug.14, 2014.
  • South Korean President Park Geun-hye leads Pope Francis after a welcoming ceremony at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, Aug. 14, 2014.
Pope Francis Urges North and South Korea to Make Peace
VOA News

Pope Francis ended his first visit to Asia Monday with a call for reconciliation between South Korea and its bitter communist rival, North Korea.

The pontiff issued his call for peace on the troubled Korean peninsula at a Mass at Seoul's Myeongdong cathedral that was attended by South Korean President Park Geun-hye.  He said reconciliation would only come through forgiveness, even though it may seem "impossible, impractical and even at times repugnant."

"Let us pray, then, for the emergence of new opportunities for dialogue, encounters and the resolution of differences, for continued generosity in providing humanitarian assistance to those in need, and for an ever greater recognition that all Koreans are brothers and sisters, members of one family, one people,” said Francis.

Catholic officials in South Korea urged Pyongyang to send a delegation from the state-run Korean Catholic Association to Seoul for the Mass, but the regime rejected the invitation, citing the annual joint military drills between South Korea and the United States, which also began Monday.

The North has vowed to launch a "merciless" preemptive strike against the South if the drills take place.

Before the start of the Mass, Pope Francis met with a small number of elderly women who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese military forces who occupied the Korean peninsula for decades, leaving only at the end of World War II in 1945. 

One of the so-called "comfort women" gave him a butterfly-shaped pin that the pontiff wore on his vestment during the Mass. The butterfly is a symbol of their campaign for recognition and atonement from Japan over their treatment.

During his five-day visit to South Korea, Pope Francis reached out to communist-run countries like China and North Korea, urging them to foster a proper dialogue with the Vatican.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: zero from: Tokyo
August 19, 2014 12:41 AM
> elderly women who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese military forces...
You should rewrite the sentence correctly !!
Nobody (including Korean researchers) find out the evidences which shows that Japanese government ordered to abduct Korean women.
This problem was leaded from fabricated reports of Asahi news company.
Asahi news company also admit that they fabricated the facts which Japanese government didn't order to abduct Korean women.

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