Pope Francis: Peace in Korea benefits entire world

Pope Francis is received at the Blue House, the presidential palace, in Seoul, South Korea on August 14, 2014. Credit: Alan Holdren/CNA.

In his first public address after arriving in South Korea, Pope Francis called government officials to work for an authentic and far-reaching peace, which requires forgiveness and cooperation.

“Peace is not simply the absence of war, but ‘the work of justice,’” the pontiff said Aug. 14, alluding to the words of the prophet Isaiah.

“And justice, as a virtue, calls for the discipline of forbearance; it demands that we not forget past injustices but overcome them through forgiveness, tolerance and cooperation,” he continued. “It demands the willingness to discern and attain mutually beneficial goals, building foundations of mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation.”

After an initial private Mass and a welcoming ceremony, the Pope met at the “Blue House” in Seoul with government and civil authorities – including South Korean president Park Geun-hye – as well as members of the diplomatic corps.

He thanked those present for their warm welcome and expressed his joy in coming to Korea, with its natural beauty, as well as the beauty of its people, culture and history.

“This national legacy has been tested through the years by violence, persecution and war,” he lamented. “But despite these trials, the heat of the day and the dark of the night have always given way to the morning calm, that is, to an undiminished hope for justice, peace and unity.”

“What a gift hope is!” he said, urging the people of Korea not to become discouraged “in our pursuit of these goals which are for the good not only of the Korean people, but of the entire region and the whole world.”

Pope Francis drew a connection between two events that will occur during his five-day visit to the country: the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs and the celebration of the Sixth Asian Youth Day, uniting Catholics across the continent.

The martyrs are the elders of our faith, who teach us by their example how to live, he said. The young are those who receive the legacy of the past, with its ancestral wisdom, and “apply it to the challenges of the present.”

The Asian Youth Day is an opportunity to reflect on the hopes, concerns and transmission of values to the next generation, Pope Francis said, adding that “it is especially important for us to reflect on the need to give our young people the gift of peace.”

Recognizing that this message is particularly significant in Korea given its lack of peace, he voiced appreciation and encouragement for reconciliation efforts underway on the peninsula, saying that they “are the only sure path to lasting peace.”

“Korea’s quest for peace is a cause close to our hearts, for it affects the stability of the entire area and indeed of our whole war-weary world,” he said.

Those who work in diplomacy play a special role in the quest for peace, the Pope noted, by replacing “the walls of distrust and hatred” with a “culture of reconciliation and solidarity,” brought about by dialogue rather than acts of retribution.

Pope Francis reminded the political and civic leaders that their work should be aimed at creating a peaceful, just and prosperous society, adding that “in an increasingly globalized world, our understanding of the common good, of progress and development, must ultimately be in human and not merely economic terms.”

He acknowledged social, political, economic and environmental challenges, urging these problems to be addressed with a spirit of dialogue and cooperation.

In addition, the Pope highlighted the need to show special concern for the poor, vulnerable and voiceless, “not only by meeting their immediate needs but also by assisting them in their human and cultural advancement.”

The pontiff pointed to the second visit of St. John Paul II to Korea 25 years ago. At the time, Pope John Paul II said that “the future of Korea will depend on the presence among its people of many wise, virtuous and deeply spiritual men and women.”

“In echoing his words today, I assure you of the continued desire of Korea’s Catholic community to participate fully in the life of the nation,” Pope Francis said, emphasizing the Church’s desire to support education of the youth and solidarity with the poor.

He called the nation to become “a leader also in the globalization of solidarity which is so necessary today: one which looks to the integral development of every member of our human family.”


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Events

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February 6, 2016

  • Saturday, February, 6

    Second Annual Sisters of Notre Dame Nun Run 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run, 8 a.m., Hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame and La Reina High School and Middle School in Thousand Oaks. Course starts on Dover Avenue in Thousand Oaks and finishes in front of La Reina School. Open to runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels. Professional chip timing technology will be provided to 5K runners by Vendurance Sports. Participants will receive a free T-shirt (while supplies last); pancake breakfast available after the race. Pre-registration is $35 per person for the 5K, and $25 for the 1-Mile. All proceeds support the Sisters of Notre Dame Life and Ministry Fund, allowing the sisters to continue their ministries in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. For more information, contact Chloe Vieira at cvieira@sndca.org, or visit sndca.org/nunrun. 

    Math Competition for Middle School Students & Problem-Solving Workshop for Teachers, 7:45 a.m., Don Bosco Technical Institute, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead.A mathematics competition for fifth through eighth grade students. The 44th annual event will offer awards for the highest scoring individual and teams. Participants must register by Feb. 2 atwww.boscotech.edu/events. Space is limited. The cost is $8 per individual and $5 per person for teams of four or more, up to 15. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m.; one-hour test starts at 9 a.m. Free activities offered and food available for purchase. Award ceremony follows the competition at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Valeria De Luna at MathCompetition@boscotech.edu.

     

    San Fernando Regional Day of Prayer for the RCIA, 1 - 4:30 p.m., St. John Baptist De La Salle Church, 16555 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills. An afternoon of prayer for those who will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion this Lent. Catechumens, candidates, sponsors and team members will come together in prayer with Bishop Joseph V. Brennan. To register or for more information, contact Sandy Cole at (818) 368-1514 or dre@sjbdls.org.

     

    Second Annual Valentine's Dinner/Dance, 7 p.m., St. James School - O'Gorman Center, 4625 Garnet St., Torrance.Dance music from the 50's to the present; $20 per person. Proceeds will benefit our seminarians. For more information, call the parish office at (310) 372-5228, or Ely at (310) 944-3355.  

     

    Snowflake Swing Dinner/Dance, 6 p.m. to midnight,St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1523 Golden Gate Ave., Los Angeles. Great food, door prizes and dancing (assorted music), featuring the LA Trio. Tickets $25; RSVP by Feb. 2. For reservations, call Liza at (323) 664-1305 or Renee at (213) 413-3036. 

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