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Pope urges Koreans to build justice, spread faith

Catholic World News - August 14, 2014

“Peace is not simply the absence of war, but the work of justice,” Pope Francis told an audience of political leaders in Seoul as he began a 5-day visit to South Korea.

The Pope addressed the Korean politicians in English, using that language for the first time in a formal address. Although heavily accented, his English was fully understandable, indicating that the Pontiff has grown more comfortable with the language.

On the first day of his trip to Korea, the Pope paid a courtesy visit to the Blue House, the official residence of President Park Geun-hye. Later he spoke to politicians and diplomats assembled there.

In introducing the Pope, President Park remarked that the war which divided the peninsula “still casts a shadow” over Korea. Pope Francis strongly endorsed efforts at ensure peace and promote reconciliation between North and South, saying that the cause of peace in Korea “affects the stability of the entire area and indeed of our whole war-weary world.”

Addressing the domestic challenges of the nation, the Pope urged Korean leaders to resist the lures of a consumerist society, and be alert particularly to the needs of the old and the young. “A wise and great people do not only cherish their ancestral traditions; they also treasure their young, seeking to pass on the legacy of the past and to apply it to the challenges of the present,” he said. The Pontiff encouraged further steps to consolidate democracy in the country.

Later on Thursday, speaking to a gathering of the country’s Catholic bishops, the Pope returned to the challenge of materialism. He asked the cautioned the bishops not to rely on “efficient management, planning and organization models inspired by the world of business but also a lifestyle and mentality that are guided more by worldly criteria of success and even power than by the criteria Jesus presents to us in the Gospel.”

“You are the children of the martyrs, heirs to their heroic witness of faith in Christ,” the Pontiff reminded the Korean Church leaders.

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