Pope Francis on his visit to South Korea called for peace and unity on the divided peninsula, but that is a message that should be heeded throughout the globe.
His stop in Seoul was part of a five-day visit, which is to include beatifying 124 Korean martyrs who founded the church on the peninsula in the 18th century, hoping to give South Korea's vibrant and growing church new models for holiness and evangelization. Francis stop is the first papal visit to South Korea in 25 years.
North Korea’s response: Fire short-range missiles into the sea off the eastern coast ahead of Pope Francis landing, and then firing more projectiles afterward. In speeches, neither the pope nor South Korean President Park Geun-hye mentioned North Korea’s actions, and the Vatican downplayed the incident.
Park said she hoped the pope’s presence would help heal the peninsula’s “long wounds of division.”
Pope Francis in his speech said diplomacy must be encouraged so that listening and dialogue replace “mutual recriminations, fruitless criticisms and displays of force. We cannot become discouraged in our pursuit of these goals, which are for the good not only of the Korean people but of the entire region and the whole world.”
That message could apply in Iraq, Syria, Israel, Ukraine, Russia — and closer to home — Ferguson, Mo. In each case, violence continues to override efforts toward peace and reconciliation.