POPE IN SOUTH KOREA: 'Peace is not simply the absence of war, but the work of justice'
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/18/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Pope Francis, in his first trip to Asia, addressed South Korean political and civic leaders and encouraged them to stay on a steady course towards social justice and democracy. "Peace is not simply the absence of war, but the work of justice," the Pope said in a speech at Seoul's Blue House, the official residence of President Park Geun-hye.
Pope Francis told 200 South Korean government officials that the two Koreas, halved between North and South since the end of the Korean War in 1953, "has long suffered because of a lack of peace."
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis told 200 South Korean government officials that the two Koreas, halved between North and South since the end of the Korean War in 1953, "has long suffered because of a lack of peace." The Pope praised "efforts being made in favor of reconciliation and stability."
Introducing the Pope before his speech, President Park said the war "still casts a shadow" over Korea, "dividing not only the country but so many families."
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Tensions between the two Koreas have sharply escalated over the past several years. North Korea's nuclear ambitions in particular have caused grave international concern. In a show of military might, North Korea fired three short-range missiles into the East Sea/Sea of Japan less than an hour before the Pope's plane landed in Seoul. The incident was just among the latest of a large number of missile tests the North began launching in March.
In addition, Pyongyang had already refused the church's request to send a delegation of Catholics to the South for the Pope's visit.
"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," the Pope said.
The occasion marked Pope Francis' first time of speaking in English in public for first time. The Pope told diplomats in the audience, who included envoys of other Asian countries, that they faced the "perennial challenge of breaking down the walls of distrust and hatred by promoting a culture of reconciliation and solidarity."
That task, he said, "demands that we not forget past injustices but overcome them through forgiveness, tolerance and cooperation."
The visit is seen by many as an attempt for the Catholic Church to address and build relations throughout Asia. The Vatican and the Chinese government have struggled over issues of religious freedom, including the pope's right to appoint bishops, and have not had diplomatic relations since shortly after China's 1949 communist revolution.
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