Seoul (AsiaNews) – South Korea “is a good example of how a nation can live in interfaith peace, an example of important universal values like the family, life and moral teaching for the young. This comes from religious and cultural exchanges,” Card Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, told South Korean President Lee Myung-bak during a courtesy visit to the Blue House, South Korea’s presidential palace.
The prelate is in South Korea with the Mgr Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of the same Pontifical Council. They arrived on Monday and are set to leave tomorrow. They were invited by the local Episcopal Committee for Promoting Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue.
In addition to meeting the South Korean president, they are expected to meet South Korea’s Culture minister and the director of Religious Affairs.
At the presidential palace, they were accompanied by Card Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, archbishop of Seoul, the Apostolic Nuncio Mgr Osvaldo Padilla, and Mgr Hyginus Kim, archbishop of Gwangju and president of the Episcopal Committee for Promoting Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue.
Cardinal Tauran told the president “that unity, including political unity, is done through people, because a true union can only be achieved through cultural and religious experiences. Organisation is not enough.”
For his part, President Lee expressed his “appreciation and respect” for the work in the field of interfaith dialogue and exchanges promoted by the Vatican.
South Korea, Lee said, is a nation “where interreligious peace is well maintained,” where “there is no family conflict even if family members have different religion.”
Replying to the prelate on the issue of unity, the president said, “If North Korea is open to the religion, that will be a great help to achieve social harmony and reconciliation” on the peninsula.