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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/11/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

First papal visit to Korea since 1989

Pope Francis will travel to South Korea with a message of peace for the divided nations in his first papal visit to Asia.

Pope Francis will visit Korea in a week long visit which will include praying for reunification and encouraging the growing Catholic community.

Pope Francis will visit Korea in a week long visit which will include praying for reunification and encouraging the growing Catholic community.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/11/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Faith, Korea, Asia


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - 77-year-old Pope will fly to Seoul on August 13 in a trip aimed at the Korean split issue, as well as making up for his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, not having visited Asia in all eight years he held the highest Catholic office. Vatican officials say that Francis will address the whole continent during his seven-day trip.

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Catholicism has rocketed up, and this trip is also meant to show support, whereas in the West the Church has seen increasing secularism. In Korea "it's a chance for the pontiff to flash a thumbs-up to a region upon which Catholicism is increasingly reliant," said John Allen, a Vatican expert.

The beginning of 2015 will also see Francis visits Sri Lanke and the Philippines, the region's largest Catholic country, in an effort to support the growing Catholic communities throughout Asia.

While in South Korea, Francis will preside over the beatification ceremony of 124 Korean martyrs, and is expected to use his speech to warn of the escalation of anti-Christian persecution in the Middle East and Africa.

A 2005 report showed that 30% of South Koreans identified themselves as Christians, with the majority Protestant, though Catholics are the fastest growing group.

Francis will hold a mass in Seoul's cathedral while he's there, in an effort of reconciliation between the two Koreas, which are still technically at war.

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, who had visited North Korea for a one-day visit in May, said he hoped Francis would bring about "a great miracle" for dialogue between Korea's divided nations.

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