The celebration was attended by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife, visiting the Vatican. Moon thanked Pope Francis for his support for the path of reconciliation between the North and the South. The hope that the Holy See's involvement will convince the most skeptical Koreans and the international community.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Tonight, we humbly wish to raise our eyes to God, to the One who holds the history and destiny of humanity, and to implore, once again, for the whole world the gift of peace. We do this by praying in particular so that also on the Korean Peninsula, after so many years of tensions and division, the word "peace" can finally completely resound": this is how Card. Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, introduced his homily at the Mass for Peace on the Korean peninsula celebrated last night in the Basilica of St Peter at the altar of the chair.
The South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife, together with a large group of Korean faithful, a hundred priests and missionaries, some bishops and many representatives of the diplomatic corps to the Holy See participated in the celebration.
The Mass for Peace is the way in which the Vatican wants to support the signs of reconciliation that have multiplied in recent months between South and North Korea, after the " Panmunjom Declaration" last April and the visit of Moon to Pyongyang last September.
On that occasion, Kim Jong-un delivered a letter of invitation for Pope Francis to go to North Korea. The letter will be handed to the Pope today by Moon during a private audience.
Pope Francis has often expressed his concern for North-South dialogue and invited the faithful from all over the world to pray for the reconciliation between Seoul and Pyongyang.
According to several observers, the Vatican’s support in the path of dialogue between North and South serves in turn to increase support for President Moon's policy despite the fringes of South Korean society, doubtful about the peaceful intentions of the Northern leader. At the same time, the involvement of the Holy See could facilitate the collaboration of the international community - above all of the USA, China, Russia, Japan - for peace in the peninsula.
Before arriving at the Vatican, President Moon made a series of visits to Europe with the same purpose.
Yesterday, at the end of the Mass, President Moon addressed a brief speech to those present in which he thanked the Vatican and the Korean Church for the work of reconciliation, development aid and democracy so far and urged his fellow countrymen to have faith in the many signs of peace that are flourishing in the peninsula. He also thanked Pope Francis for his support in the path of peace and the strengthening of "fraternity" between South and North Koreans.