12/03/2007, 00.00
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The Pope has thoughts and a blessing for all North Koreans

In meeting the bishops of Korea Benedict XVI praises their initiatives in favour of reconciliation. He talks about missionaries’ contribution and the witnesses of faith offered by Asian Churches. He stresses the importance of the family.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In receiving the bishops of Korea for their ad Limina Apostolorum visit as well as Wenceslao Padilla, apostolic prefect in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Pope Benedict XVI had thoughts for North Korea. He encouraged the initiatives in favour of reconciliation coming from the south, and expressed support for the full participation of the laity in the life of the Church, the promotion of marriage and the family and a proper training for those who are called to work in the sensitive area of bioethics.

I am [. . .] aware of the practical gestures of reconciliation undertaken for the well-being of those in North Korea,” he said. “I encourage these initiatives and invoke Almighty God’s providential care upon all North Koreans.

In remembering the arrival of the first missionaries 400 years ago, and their return in Mongolia 15 years ago, the Pope acknowledged that the growth of Asian Churches “is due in no small part to the outstanding witness of the Korean Martyrs and others throughout Asia who remained steadfastly faithful to Christ and his Church.

Throughout the ages,” he explained, “Asia has given the Church and the world a host of heroes of the faith.”

In that regard Benedict XVI referred to the baptism as a “sacrament of initiation,” that is, “far more than a social ritual or welcome into a particular community, [it] is the initiative of God.”

Given the great importance of this sacrament, bishops must make sure that none of the “numerous adults received into the Church in your region every year fail to maintain a commitment to the full participation in liturgical celebrations,” especially when it comes to the Eucharist and Sunday mass.

I join you in urging the laity, and in a special way the young people in your region, to explore the depth and breadth of our Eucharistic communion,” he said.

Last but not least, the Pope spoke to the bishops about the promotion of the marriage and family life. Your efforts in this field,” he said, “stand at the heart of the evangelisation of culture and contribute much to the well-being of society as a whole.” And the “growing complexity of matters regarding the family, including the advances in biomedical science about which I spoke recently to Korea’s Ambassador to the Holy See, raises the question of providing appropriate training for those committed to working in this area.”

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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”