Pope Francis on October 18, 2018, received Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
During what the Vatican termed “cordial discussions”, the parties evoked the good bilateral relations and the positive contribution offered by the Church in the social, education and healthcare sectors, as well as the promotion of dialogue and reconciliation between Koreans. Strong appreciation was expressed for the common commitment to fostering all useful initiatives to overcome the tensions that still exist in the Korean Peninsula, in order to usher in a new season of peace and development.
Finally, some matters of a regional nature were discussed.
The audience with the Holy Father follows closely on a Mass celebrated the evening of October 17, 2018, by Cardinal Parolin in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Mass included prayers for peace on the Korean peninsula.
President Moon, who is Catholic, his wife, and a group of Korean faithful, priests, and missionaries attended the Mass, along with many members of the Holy See’s diplomatic corps, according to Vatican News.
In his homily, Cardinal Parolin said that they were praying for peace in the world, especially in the Korean Peninsula, so that “after so many years of tension and division, the word peace may finally fully resound…peace is built by daily choices, by a serious commitment to the service of justice and solidarity, by the promotion of the rights and dignity of the human person, and especially by caring for the weakest…But, for the one who believes, peace, first of all, is a gift that comes from above, from God Himself.
“With God’s grace the path of forgiveness becomes possible, the choice of fraternity among peoples becomes a concrete fact, peace becomes a shared horizon even in the diversity of those who make up the international community.”
Pope Francis spoke about the “historic” summit on Friday, April 27, 2018, between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his southern counterpart, Moon Jae-in, on the dividing military dividing line. the peninsula, to Panmunjon. Kim Jong-un was the first North Korean leader to walk on South Korean soil since the Korean War (1950-1953).
“I accompany with prayer the positive outcome of last Friday’s Inter-Korean Summit and the courageous commitment of the leaders of both sides to a sincere dialogue for a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons,” said the Pope. Francis after the Marian prayer of Regina Caeli, Sunday, April 29, St. Peter’s Square, in the presence of some 30,000 pilgrims.
“I pray to the Lord that hope for a future of peace and fraternal friendship will not be disappointed and for the collaboration to continue to bear fruit for the beloved Korean people and the whole world, “added the pope who had repeatedly invited Catholics to join his prayer for the success of this dialogue, including April 25, at the Wednesday audience.
The Vatican also welcomed the denuclearization agreement last June: “In Singapore, go with history,” headlined L’Osservatore Romano dated June 13, 2018, making its front page on the agreement between the president American Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on the denuclearization of North Korea.
The summit, which took place on June 12, 2018, in Singapore, saw “the long-awaited handshake, which lasted more than ten seconds, with Trump who strengthened the contact by also briefly placing his left hand on the arm Kim’s right, “noted the Vatican daily.
The previous Sunday, the pope had invited the crowd – of some 20,000 pilgrims – to present at the Angelus of June 10, 2018, St. Peter’s Square, and all those who followed the Angelus live, to pray with him a ” Hail Mary “for this purpose.