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    » 03/20/2014, 00.00

    KOREA - VATICAN

    For Jeju bishop, the pope's visit will renew political dialogue and evangelisation in Korea



    "The pope is coming at a very important moment. The whole of society is waiting for him in order to respond to his call for peace with the North and among us," Mgr Peter Kang U-il, head of the Bishops' Conference of Korea, told AsiaNews. Francis "also brings reconciliation between Korea, Japan and China."

    Jeju (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis' visit to South Korea "comes at a propitious and important time, not only for the Church and Korean society, but also for the whole Asia-Pacific region. I am convinced that the pontiff will be an apostle of peace who will be able to calm the tensions of this period," said Mgr Peter Kang U-il, bishop of Jeju and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea.

    For Mgr Kang, the trip's most important results will obviously be in the area of evangelisation. In fact, "I have no doubt that the visit will renew the Christian message in Korea."

    "Pope John Paul II's two visits (in 1984 and 1989) took place at a happy time for the Korean Church and evangelisation," the prelate said.

    On both occasions, "Many people converted, and many others became interested in the faith, motivated by the words of the missionary pope. This time, we expect the same thing."

    "At present, not only are Catholics waiting for him, but so is Korean society as a whole. People have a very positive feeling toward Francis. I believe this trip will do a lot of good to people, not only to our Church."

    Many people, the prelate explained, "are waiting for the papal visit, hoping that it might bring true peace to this land, a country that is divided into two parts, where we have lived under constant tensions for more than 60 years. We know very well what is happening in the North, but there is nothing we can do about in political and diplomatic terms. Everything is at a standstill."

    For this reason, "We feel the need for something special to end this crisis. Francis' visit could bring an atmosphere of reconciliation not only between the two Koreas, but also across Asia, even between China, Japan and Korea, who are going through a very difficult time from the point of view of their relations. "

    At the same, the pope's pilgrimage to Korea could also help dialogue within South Korea. "I hope the visit will bridge the gap between the government and the opposition," the prelate said.

    "Now, a year since Park's administration took over, things have deteriorated domestically and our democracy is showing signs of deterioration. Let us hope that the pope's trip will create a new atmosphere, and provide new opportunities for peaceful dialogue on this issue. Let us hope that the government will change its minds on various political issues, and begin listening to others, opening up to proposals that are positive for everyone."

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    See also

    18/08/2014 VATICAN
    For pope, in Iraq "It is lawful" to halt an "unjust aggressor", but the decision belongs to the UN
    During the flight that brought him back to Rome, Francis spoke of his "respect" for the Chinese people, reiterating the importance of the Letter by Pope Benedict XVI. "If I felt I could not go on, I would resign," he said. As preparations for the encyclical on safeguarding creation continue, the pope plans future trips, including one to Albania, which has "important reasons".

    04/05/2006 NORTH KOREA - SOUTH KOREA
    Joint visit to pope proposed by Catholics from north to those in south

    The proposal "does not have a clear objective". "To obtain such a privilege, you'll have to show there is religious freedom. They told me this would be difficult".



    27/06/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
    Seoul to revoke aid to North if missile crisis breaks out

    The South Korean government has no intention of ignoring Pyongyang's threats, while Washington is installing Patriot anti-aircraft missiles in its Japanese bases. Seoul's Foreign Affairs Minister is in China to seek a joint diplomatic solution.



    26/04/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
    Catholic delegation goes north for first time ever

    This is the first time the group of 61 people, lay and priests, visits the structures it funded over the past 11 years. For many analysts, the visit "raises hopes for an agreement allowing more religious freedom in the country".



    08/02/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
    South Korean delegation visits Pyongyang
    The 10-member group is led by Lim Chae-jung, a seasoned member of the ruling Uri party. The visit officially aims at academic exchanges between the two Koreas.



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