Pope Francis Visit to Korea, August 2014


Papal Telegrams Sent en Route to Seoul, Korea
To Chinese Leader: 'I Invoke the Blessings of Peace and Well-Being Upon the Nation'

ROME, August 14, 2014  - As customary, Pope Francis sent telegrams to the leaders of the nations over which he flew en route to Korea. The texts of the telegram, all originally in English, are below.

Of special note was the telegram to Xi Jinping of China.

China is one of the few nations that does not maintain diplomatic ties with the Holy See. 

Francis is the first Pope to fly through Chinese air space. Pope John Paul II flew a route that avoided China during his two visits to South Korea.

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Bishop of Daejeon's Welcome Address at Meeting With Young People
"Martyrdom today means choosing the truth, following her and putting it into practice, thus overcoming the temptations around me."

SEOUL, August 15, 2014  - This afternoon, the Holy Father arrived at the Shrine of Solmoe, birthplace of the martyr St. Andrew Kim Taegon, Korea's first priest. Here below is the welcome address given by Bishop Lazzaro You Heung Sik of Daejeon at the meeting with Asian youth at the Shrine.


My dear young friends, welcome to all of you who have come to the Asian Youth Day that began with the motto "Rise, young people of Asia. The glory of the martyrs shines on you."

As Confucius said: "It is a real joy to welcome a friend who had come from afar". Behold, I thank you and I rejoice because of you, so many friends, you have come from afar. In addition, here with us is a very special friend who came from the farthest place. Our great friend is the beloved Pope Francis.

With all my heart I thank the Holy Father of His coming to Korea to meet you, young people of Asia. This place, Solmoe, where we gathered for this day is a very special place. It is a special place because it was here that 'St. Andrew Kim Dae-Geon', the first priest of the Korean Church, who was born without accepting the faith missionaries, a unique example in the world. Even many martyrs have suffered persecution and were martyred here, some at your age, having lived a life of faith. I believe that the martyrs of this land will be with you in prayer and in the breath.

Today, our society and our Church are exposed to various temptations. The wealth and material success we prefer more than ethics, and the theistic view of the world is influencing our values. In addition, we are getting sick because of the destruction of life and the environment. We are at a crucial moment, where we require a faithful martyr. Martyrdom today means choosing the truth, following her and putting it into practice, thus overcoming the temptations around me. As our martyrs have freed slaves with the decision and welcomed them as brothers and sisters, we must also turn on the light of faith, with our way of life and our testimony.

Like the martyrs who built the Church on this earth with blood, we ought to oppose it again, firmly, the cornerstone of faith in the great wave of atheism, of contempt for life, and the idolatry of materialism.

Holy Father, bless and encourage these young people who are facing these challenges, because they are faithful. We, too, in imitation of the glorious martyrs, wherever we go we try to live as missionaries and builders of peace.

Holy Father, go ahead, evangelizing the world and the Church, counting on us.

We are united with you, Your Holiness.

Thank you so much. We want the good, the Holy Father.


Father Lombardi: "The Pope Is Well and Very Happy With the Welcome"
Vatican Spokesman Reviews Pope's First Day in Korea

By Fr. Alfonso Maria Bruno

SEOUL, August 15, 2014  - The director of the Vatican press office says that Pope Francis "is in good shape and is well pleased with his reception during the first day of his trip to South Korea.Ē

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said the Holy Father "particularly appreciatedĒ the presence of the President of the Republic at the airport, "as heads of state do not always come up to the aircraft steps. This presence indicates the value that the Korean people, not only the Catholics, give to this visit.Ē

ďThe Pope also appreciated the presence of some lay people at the airport, among whom were descendants of the martyrs to be beatified soon. This sign has been read as an exaltation of the family in Korea, in keeping with the Christian tradition,Ē the Vatican spokesman added.

He noted, ďAfter the Pope arrived, he went to the nunciature, where he celebrated Mass in the presence of a small number of the faithful, including some women religious.Ē

ďThe Pope also preached, both in Italian and Spanish, just like at Santa Marta, before departure. He has not given up his brief daily homily,Ē Fr. Lombardi said.

Referring to the welcome by President Park Geun-hye, the spokesman said, ďThe speech of the President was very much appreciated because she recognized the Church's role in the development of the country."

ďUnfortunately, it also showed the nationís suffering due to the separation of the two Koreas, for almost 70 years. The commitment to reconciliation and peace is so important, which is why we must continue to work in this way.Ē

The Holy Father, referring to the tradition of recent popes, especially John Paul II, ďhas associated the construction of true peace to the restoration of genuine justice.Ē

ďIn the meeting with the bishops, Francis instead warned the clergy about the risks of worldliness and how this phenomenon can take away from effectively caring for and attending to the poor and needy, and devalue the mission of the Church in world.Ē


Father Lombardi went on to speak of Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, on a mission to Iraq as the Pope's envoy.

The cardinal yesterday met with bishops of the region, as well as the homeless. They expressed gratitude to the Pope for his closeness.

The director of the Vatican press office also said that ďthe Holy Father is taking steps through charitable acts to alleviate the suffering of the Christian refugees in Babylon. To the Bishops of the Middle East region, it is as if a star of hope were born. Cardinal Filoni will soon meet, in the course of his mission, the head of state of Iraq.Ē


It also has been revealed, he said, that some young people from China have been discreetly present in South Korea. Despite the reluctance of their government, they wanted to participate in the apostolic visit of Pope Francis in Asia.

Tomorrow, August 15, is the Solemnity of the Assumption and a national holiday for the Liberation of Korea in 1945. Pope Francis will travel to Daejeon, where he will celebrate Mass in the football stadium, then have lunch at the major seminary with a delegation of young people participating in the Sixth Asian Youth Day, before meeting with them all at the Shrine of Solmoe, the place that commemorates the martyrdom of St. Andrew Kim.


Pope's Discourse to Korean Bishops
"Today, I would like to reflect with you as a brother bishop on two central aspects of the task of guarding God's people in this country: to be guardians of memory and guardians of hope"

SEOUL, August 14, 2014  - Below is the discourse Pope Francis gave the Korean Bishops, at the seat of the Korean Episcopal conference in Seoul at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, local time:


Dear Brother Bishops,

I greet all of you with deep affection and I thank Bishop Peter U-il Kang for his words of fraternal welcome on your behalf. It is a blessing for me to be here and to witness at first hand the vibrant life of the Church in Korea. As pastors, you are responsible for guarding the Lordísflock. You are guardians of the wondrous works which he accomplishes in his people. Guarding is one of the tasks specifically entrusted to the bishop: looking after Godís people. Today I would like to reflect with you as a brother bishop on two central aspects of the task of guarding Godís people in this country: to be guardians of memory and guardians ofhope.

To be guardians of memory. The beatification of Paul Yun Ji-chung and his companions is an occasion for us to thank the Lord, who from the seeds sown by the martyrs has brought forth an abundant harvest of grace in this land. You are the children of the martyrs, heirs to their heroic witness of faith in Christ. You are also heirs to an impressive tradition which began, and largely grew, through the fidelity, perseverance and work of generations of lay persons. It is significant that the history of the Church in Korea began with a direct encounter with the word of God. It was the intrinsic beauty and integrity of the Christian message Ė the Gospel and its summons to conversion, interior renewal and a life of charity Ė that spoke to Yi Byeok and the noble elders of the first generation; and it is to that message, in its purity, that the Church in Korea looks, as if in a mirror, to find her truest self.

The fruitfulness of the Gospel on Korean soil, and the great legacy handed down from your forefathers in the faith, can be seen today in the flowering of active parishes and ecclesial movements, in solid programs of catechesis and outreach to young people, and inthe Catholic schools, seminaries and universities. The Church in Korea is esteemed for its role in the spiritual and cultural life of the nation and its strong missionary impulse. From being a land of mission, yours has now become a land of missionaries; and the universal Church continues to benefit from the many priests and religious whom you have sent forth.

Being guardians of memory means more than remembering and treasuring the graces of the past; it also means drawing from them the spiritual resources to confront with vision and determination the hopes, the promise and the challenges of the future. As you yourselves have noted, the life and mission of the Church in Korea are not ultimately measured in external, quantitative and institutional terms; rather, they must be judged in the clear light of the Gospel and its call to conversion to the person of Jesus Christ. To be guardians of memory means realizing that while the growth is from God (cf. 1 Cor 3:6), it is also the fruit of quiet and persevering labor, past and present. Our memory of the martyrs and past generations of Christians must be one that is realistic, not idealized or "triumphalistic". Looking to the past without hearing Godís call to conversion in the present will not help us move forward; instead, it will only hold us back and even halt our spiritual progress.

In addition to being guardians of memory, dear brothers, you are also called to be guardians of hope: the hope held out by the Gospel of Godís grace and mercy in Jesus Christ, the hope which inspired the martyrs. It is this hope which we are challenged to proclaim to a world that, for all its material prosperity, is seeking something more, something greater, something authentic and fulfilling. You and your brother priests offer this hope by your ministry of sanctification, which not only leads the faithful to the sources of grace in the liturgy and the sacraments, but also constantly urges them to press forward in response to the upward call of God (cf. Phil 3:14). You guard this hope by keeping alive the flame of holiness, fraternal charity and missionary zeal within the Churchís communion. For this reason, I ask you to remain ever close to your priests, encouraging them in their daily labors, their pursuit of sanctity and their proclamation of the Gospel of salvation. I ask you to convey to them my affectionate greeting and my gratitude for their dedicated service to Godís people.

If we accept the challenge of being a missionary Church, a Church which constantly goes forth to the world and, especially, to the peripheries of contemporary society, we will need to foster that "spiritual taste" which enables us to embrace and identify with each member of Christís body (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 268). Here particular care and concern needs to be shown for the children and the elderly in our communities. How can we be guardians of hope if we neglect the memory, the wisdom and the experience of the elderly, and the aspirations of our young? In this regard, I would ask you to be concerned in a special way for the education of children, supporting the indispensable mission not only of the universities, but also Catholic schools at every level, beginning with elementary schools, where young minds and hearts are shaped in love for the Lord and his Church, in the good, the true and the beautiful, and where children learn to be good Christians and upright citizens.

Being guardians of hope also entails ensuring that the prophetic witness of the Church in Korea remains evident in its concern for the poor and in its programs of outreach, particularly to refugees and migrants and those living on the margins of society. This concern should be seen not only in concrete charitable initiatives, which are so necessary, but also in the ongoing work of social, occupational and educational promotion. We can risk reducing our work with those in need to its institutional dimension alone, while overlooking each individualís need to grow as a person and to express in a worthy manner his or her own personality, creativity and culture.Solidarity with the poor has to be seen as an essential element of the Christian life; through preaching and catechesis grounded in the rich patrimony of the Churchís social teaching, it must penetrate the hearts and minds of the faithful and be reflected in every aspect of ecclesial life. The apostolic ideal of "a Church of and for the poor" found eloquent expression in the first Christian communities of your nation. I pray that this ideal will continue to shape the pilgrim path of the Church in Korea as she looks to the future. I am convinced that if the face of the Church is first and foremost a face of love, more and more young people will be drawn to the heart of Jesus ever aflame with divine love in the communion of his mystical body.

Dear brothers, a prophetic witness to the Gospel presents particular challenges to the Church in Korea, since she carries out her life and ministry amid a prosperous, yet increasingly secularized and materialistic society. In such circumstances it is tempting for pastoral ministers to adopt not only effective models of management, planning and organization drawn from the business world, but also a lifestyle and mentality guided more by worldly criteria of success, and indeed power, than by the criteria which Jesus sets out in the Gospel. Woe to us if the cross is emptied of its power to judge the wisdom of this world (cf.1 Cor 1:17)! I urge you and your brother priests to reject this temptation in all its forms. May we be saved from that spiritual and pastoral worldliness which stifles the Spirit, replaces conversion by complacency, and, in the process, dissipates all missionary fervor (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 93-97)!

Dear brother Bishops, with these reflections on your role as guardians of memory and of hope, I want to encourage you in your efforts to build up the faithful in Korea in unity, holiness and zeal. Memory and hope inspire us and guide us toward the future. I remember all of you in my prayers and I urge you constantly to trust in the power of Godís grace: "The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one" (2 Thess 3:3). May the prayers of Mary, Mother of the Church, bring to full flower in this land the seeds planted by the martyrs, watered by generations of faithful Catholics, and handed down to you as a pledge for the future of your country and of our world. To you, and to all entrusted to your pastoral careand keeping, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.


Pope's Discourse to President and Authorities
"For diplomacy, as the art of the possible, is based on the firm and persevering conviction that peace can be won through quiet listening and dialogue, rather than by mutual recriminations, fruitless criticisms and displays of force."

SEOUL, August 14, 2014  - Below is the discourse Pope Francis gave the South Korean president and authorities at about 5 p.m. in Seoul, local time:


Madam President,

Honorable Government and Authorities,

Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Dear Friends,

It is a great joy for me to come to Korea, the land of the morning calm, and to experience not only the natural beauty of this country, but above all the beauty of its people and its rich history and culture. This national legacy has been tested through the years by violence, persecution and war. But despite these trials, the heat of the day and the dark of the night have always given way to the morning calm, that is, to an undiminished hope for justice, peace and unity. What a gift hope is! 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.

I wish to thank President Park Geun-hye for her warm welcome. I greet her and the distinguished members of the government. I would like to acknowledge also the members of the diplomatic corps and all those present who by their many efforts have assisted in preparing for my visit. I am most grateful for your hospitality, which has immediately made me feel at home among you.

My visit to Korea is occasioned by the Sixth Asian Youth Day, which brings together young Catholics from throughout this vast continent in a joyful celebration of their common faith. In the course of my visit I will also beatify a number of Koreans who died as martyrs for the Christian faith: Paul Yun Ji-chung and his 123 companions. These two celebrations complement one another. Korean culture understands well the inherent dignity and wisdom of our elders and honors their place in society. We Catholics honor our elders who were martyred for the faith because they were willing to give their lives for the truth which they had come to believe and by which they sought to live their lives. They teach us how to live fully for God and for the good of one another.

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. Whenever young people gather together, as on the present occasion, it is a precious opportunity for all of us to listen to their hopes and concerns. We are also challenged to reflect on how well we are transmitting our values to the next generation, and on the kind of world and society we are preparing to hand on to them. In this context, I think it is especially important for us to reflect on the need to give our young people the gift of peace.

This appeal has all the more resonance here in Korea, a land which has long suffered because of a lack of peace. I can only express my appreciation for the efforts being made in favor of reconciliation and stability on the Korean peninsula, and to encourage those efforts, for they are the only sure path to lasting peace. Koreaís quest for peace is a cause close to our hearts, for it affects the stability of the entire area and indeed of our whole war-weary world.

The quest for peace also represents a challenge for each of us, and in a particular way for those of you dedicated to the pursuit of the common good of the human family through the patient work of diplomacy. It is the perennial challenge of breaking down the walls of distrust and hatred by promoting a culture of reconciliation and solidarity. For diplomacy, as the art of the possible, is based on the firm and persevering conviction that peace can be won through quiet listening and dialogue, rather than by mutual recriminations, fruitless criticisms and displays of force.

Peace is not simply the absence of war, but "the work of justice" (cf. Is 32:17). And justice, as a virtue, calls for the discipline of forbearance; it demands that we not forget past injustices but overcome them through forgiveness, tolerance and cooperation. It demands the willingness to discern and attain mutually beneficial goals, building foundations of mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation. May all of us dedicate these days to peace, to praying for it and deepening our resolve to achieve it.

Dear friends, your efforts as political and civic leaders are directed to the goal of building a better, more peaceful, just and prosperous world for our children. Experience teaches us that in an increasingly globalized world, our understanding of the common good, of progress and development, must ultimately be in human and not merely economic terms. Like most of our developed nations, Korea struggles with important social issues, political divisions, economic inequities, and concerns about the responsible stewardship of the natural environment. How important it is that the voice of every member of society be heard, and that a spirit of open communication, dialogue and cooperation be fostered. It is likewise important that special concern be shown for the poor, the vulnerable and those who have no voice, not only by meeting their immediate needs but also by assisting them in their human and cultural advancement. It is my hope that Korean democracy will continue to be strengthened and that this nation will prove to be a leader also in the globalization of solidarity which is so necessary today: one which looks to the integral development of every member of our human family.

In his second visit to Korea, twenty-five years ago, Saint John Paul II stated his conviction that "the future of Korea will depend on the presence among its people of many wise, virtuous and deeply spiritual men and women" (8 October 1989). In echoing his words today, I assure you of the continued desire of Koreaís Catholic community to participate fully in the life of the nation. The Church wishes to contribute to the education of the young, the growth of a spirit of solidarity with the poor and disadvantaged, and the formation of new generations of citizens ready to bring the wisdom and vision inherited from their forebears and born of their faith to the great political and social questions facing the nation.

Madam President, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you once more for your welcome and hospitality. May God bless you and all the beloved Korean people. In a special way, may he bless the elderly and the young people, who, by preserving memory and inspiring courage, are our greatest treasure and our hope for the future.


Angelus:  On Mary Who Watches Over the Korean Nation
Regarding the Sinking of the Sewol Ferry, "May this tragic event which has brought all Koreans together in grief confirm their commitment to work together in solidarity for the common good"

SEOUL, August 15, 2014  - Here is the text of the address Pope Francis gave today before praying the midday Angelus after the Mass he celebrated at World Cup Stadium in South Korea.

The Pope gave the address in English.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the end of our Mass, we turn once more to Our Lady, Queen of Heaven.  To her we bring all our joys, our sorrows and our hopes.

We especially entrust to her all who lost their lives in the sinking of the Se-Wol ferry, as well as those who continue to be affected by this great national disaster.  May the Lord welcome the dead into his peace, console those who mourn, and continue to sustain those who so generously came to the aid of their brothers and sisters.  May this tragic event which has brought all Koreans together in grief confirm their commitment to work together in solidarity for the common good.
We also ask Our Lady to look with mercy on all those among us who are suffering, particularly the sick, the poor and those who lack dignified employment.
Finally, on this day when Korea celebrates its liberation, we ask Our Lady to watch over this noble nation and its citizens.  And we commend to her care all the young people who have joined us from throughout Asia.  May they be joyful heralds of the dawn of a world of peace in accordance with Godís gracious plan!


Pope's Address to Young People of Asia
"Today Christ is knocking at the door of your heart, my heart. He calls you to rise, to be wide awake and alert, and to see the things in life that really matter."

SEOUL, August 15, 2014  - Dear Young Friends,

"It is good for us to be here!" (Mt 17:4). These words were spoken by Saint Peter on Mount Tabor as he stood in the presence of Jesus transfigured in glory. Truly it is good for us to be here, together, at this shrine of the Korean Martyrs, in whom the Lordís glory was revealed at the dawn of the Churchís life in this country. In this great assembly, which brings together young Christians from throughout Asia, we can almost feel the glory of Jesus present in our midst, present in his Church which embraces every nation, language and people, present in the power of his Holy Spirit who makes all things new, young and alive!

I thank you for your warm welcome Ė very warm eh? Very warm! And I thank you for the gift of your enthusiasm, your joyful songs, your testimonies of faith, and your beautiful expressions of the variety and richness of your different cultures. In a special way, I thank May, Giovanni and Marina, the three young people who shared with me your hopes, your problems and your concerns; I listened to them carefully, and I will keep them in mind. I thank Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik for his words of introduction and I greet all of you from my heart.

This afternoon I would like to reflect with you on part of the theme of this Sixth Asian Youth Day: "The Glory of the Martyrs Shines on You". Just as the Lord made his glory shine forth in the heroic witness of the martyrs, so too he wants to make his glory shine in your lives, and through you, to light up the life of this vast continent. Today Christ is knocking at the door of your heart, my heart. He calls you to rise, to be wide awake and alert, and to see the things in life that really matter. What is more, he is asking you and me to go out on the highways and byways of this world, knocking on the doors of other peopleís hearts, inviting them to welcome him into their lives. 

This great gathering of Asian young people also allows us to see something of what the Church herself is meant to be in Godís eternal plan. Together with young people everywhere, you want to help build a world where we all live together in peace and friendship, overcoming barriers, healing divisions, rejecting violence and prejudice. And this is exactly what God wants for us, for only us. The Church is meant to be a seed of unity for the whole human family. In Christ, all nations and peoples are called to a unity which does not destroy diversity but acknowledges, reconciles and enriches it. 

How distant the spirit of the world seems from that magnificent vision and plan! How often the seeds of goodness and hope which we try to sow seem to be choked by weeds of selfishness, hostility and injustice, not only all around us, but also in our own hearts. We are troubled by the growing gap in our societies between rich and poor. We see signs of idolatry of wealth, power and pleasure which come at a high cost to human lives. Closer to home, so many of our own friends and contemporaries, even in the midst of immense material prosperity, are suffering from spiritual poverty, loneliness and quiet despair. God seems to be removed from the picture. It is almost as though a spiritual desert is beginning to spread throughout our world. It affects the young too, robbing them of hope and even, in all too many cases, of life itself. 

Yet this is the world into which you are called to go forth and bear witness to the Gospel of hope, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the promise of his Kingdom. In the parables, Jesus tells us that the Kingdom comes into the world quietly, growing silently yet surely wherever it is welcomed by hearts open to its message of hope and salvation. The Gospel teaches us that the Spirit of Jesus can bring new life to every human heart and can transform every situation, even the most apparently hopeless. This is the message which you are called to share with your contemporaries: at school, in the workplace, in your families, your universities and your communities. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know that he has "the words of eternal life" (Jn 6:68), that his word has the power to touch every heart, to conquer evil with good, and to change and redeem the world.

Dear young friends, in this generation the Lord is counting on you! He entered your hearts on the day of your Baptism; he gave you his Spirit on the day of your Confirmation; and he strengthens you constantly by his presence in the Eucharist, so that you can be his witnesses before the world. Are you ready to say "yes" to him? Are you ready? Thank you. Are you tired? Sure?

A friend of mine told me yesterday, you canít speak to young people with paper. You must address young people spontaneouslyÖ.You must, with the young people, you must speak to these young people from the heart. But I have a difficulty. I have poor English, [they shout: ďNo!Ē] ... yes, yes. So I canít do a lot spontaneously [in English]. Can I go on? Are you tired? I go on in Italian. Can you translate this? [asking the translator]

I listened very closely to what Marina said. Her conflict in life, whether to go into the consecrated life or study and become a professional to enter the workforce. The conflict is only apparent. When the Lord calls us to do good for others, it's the same, whether it be in the consecrated life, as a lay person, or in a family. 

What should I choose? You do not have to choose any path. The Lord must choose! You must ask Him: ĎLord, what should I do?í This is the question that I had done at your age. This is the prayer that a young man has to do: Lord what do you want from me? 

You have to pray and listen to the advice of some true friends, secular priests nuns, bishops and even the Pope who can give good advice to find the way that the Lord wants for me. I recommend you pray, "Lord what do you want of my life?" Repeat it at least three times. 

I'm sure the Lord will listen to you. Marina, you too, thank you for your testimony. 

May also asked about the martyrs, saints and witnesses, and with pain and nostalgia, said that in Cambodia there are still no saints. It is certain that there are many saints in Cambodia, but the Church has not yet canonized or beatified any. I promise to speak in Rome with [Cardinal] Angelo Amato [prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints] and ask him to do some research on this. 

Marina made ​​two reflections and a question. 

On happiness. Happiness can not be bought, as what you buy doesnít last. Just the happiness of love is that which lasts. And the path of love is simple. Love God and love your neighbor as your brother, as the one who is close to you, who needs love, who needs a lot of things. 

How can you understand whether you really love God? If you love your neighbor, if you do not have hate in your heart, that is a sure proof that you love God. 

Marina has asked a painful question about the division of the Koreas. There is a divided Korea, the family is divided. How can we help this family unite?  Two things. A piece of advice and a hope. 

The advice is to pray for our brothers in the North: Lord we are a family. Help us toward unity, that you can do, so that there are no winners or victory, only one family Ö Just to be brothers. I invite you to pray together for the unity of the two Koreas. Let us pray [pauses for moment of silent prayer]. 

Hope. There are many hopes, hopes that there is a beautiful Korea that is one [country], that is one family, that speaks the same language. Brothers who speak the same language. 

When Joseph's brothers went to Egypt to buy food, they did not have money to eat. They went to find food but found a brother because Joseph noticed they spoke the same language. Your brothers in the North speak the same language, when in a family you speak the same language. There is also a human hope. 

Recently, we have seen a nice thing: the theatrical performance of the prodigal son. The son who had gone, betrayed everyone, and lost everything. At the same moment, with shame and out of necessity, he decided to return. He had to think about how to ask for forgiveness from his father. The Gospel says that his father saw him from afar, because every day he would go up on on the terrace because he was waiting for his son. He embraced him and had a celebration. 

This is the celebration that pleases God, when we return to him. In the same way, Jesus told us that heaven will have a celebration just as great for one sinner's return as there would be for a hundred who remained at home. 

Who knows what awaits us in life. Things in life can be really terrible. But, please, do not despair. There is the Father who awaits us. Return and if you are a sinner, the Father will have a celebration.

And you priests, embrace the sinners and be merciful. 

It is nice to hear this. Itís beautiful and makes me happy. God never gets tired of forgivingÖ never gets tired of waiting for us. 

I had written three suggestions: pray, the Eucharist, works, works for others, the poor.

It is time for me to go. I look forward to seeing you in these days and speaking to you again when we gather for Holy Mass on Sunday. For now, let us thank the Lord for the blessings of this time together and ask him for the strength to be faithful and joyful, faithful and joyful, witnesses of his love throughout Asia and the entire world.

May Mary, our Mother, watch over you and keep you ever close to Jesus her Son. And from his place in heaven, may Saint John Paul II, who initiated the World Youth Days, always be your guide. With great affection I give you my blessing. [Short blessing in Latin]

And please pray for me, and donít forget to pray for me. Thank you very much.

[Original Script: English]

[Improvised Remarks: Italian]


Address of Bishop of Daejeon at Papal Mass
"We pray that the Crucified and Risen Lord transforms our lives, helps us to correct our faults, heals the wounds of our brothers and sisters, and makes us witnesses of bright hope."

SEOUL, August 15, 2014  - Here is a translation of the address that Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon, South Korea, gave Pope Francis at the Mass in the World Cup Stadium in Daejeon Friday, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary:


Our beloved Pope Francis: Welcome here in our midst!

Thirty years ago - and then again five years later - Pope John Paul II, who was canonized on April 27, visited Korea for the first time. The emotion of that day has remained in our hearts.

The Catholic Church in Korea, from a Church that was just welcoming, is being transformed into a Church that shares and gives. Giving praise and glory to God, today we welcome the visit of the Holy Father as a great gift--almost a miracle--from Mary and the Korean martyrs.

Our Church welcomes your Holiness, while it is still afflicted by sufferings of divisions, tensions, and lives in mourning because of the incident of the sinking of the ferry ship in Sewol, a tragedy which has saddened and surprised the whole world. I am sure that the visit of Your Holiness, which takes place in this delicate and difficult period of crisis will become a precious opportunity to witness the Word: "Rise up and illuminates the world."

It is a special honor for our Diocese of Daejeon to be able to celebrate Holy Mass with the Holy Father today, on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, our sweet Mother. For us, I think it is a great gift, one received especially through the intercession of the Korean Martyrs. They, these martyrs, from whom we are proud to have received the precious gift of faith, the greatest gift: they lived with love, without fear of sacrifice, and followed the Lord Jesus with the witness of their lives and faith.

In this Mass, we celebrate "the joy that is always born and reborn with Jesus Christ" (Evangelii Gaudium, 1). I pray with all my heart - and we all pray together! - that the Crucified and Risen Lord make us men and women who are "light of the world and salt of the earth" (cf.. Mt 5,13-14). We pray that the Crucified and Risen Lord transforms our lives, helps us to correct our faults, heals the wounds of our brothers and sisters, and makes us witnesses of bright hope.

Holy Father, bless us and give us strength and courage.

On many occasions, you have asked the people of God to pray for you and your apostolic ministry.

Your Holiness:

Welcoming your desire to visit and waiting for your coming to Korea, the faithful of the Diocese of Daejeon prayed with particular devotion.

During this period:

We prayed the rosary for you more than 15 million times.

We celebrated the Holy Mass, according to your intentions, more than 2 million times.

We prayed together a special Prayer for the Pope 3,289,179 times.

We promise to continue to pray without ceasing for you.

We want to commit ourselves to living for the Church and for you.

Holy Father: You can count on us!

With love and filial devotion.


Pope's Homily at Mass for Feast of Assumption in South Korea
"In her, all God's promises have been proved trustworthy"

SEOUL, August 15, 2014  - Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Pope Francis gave today as he celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption, on the second day of his trip to South Korea.

The Mass was celebrated in Daejeon at World Cup Stadium.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In union with the whole Church, we celebrate the Assumption of Our Lady, body and soul, into the glory of heaven.  Maryís Assumption shows us our own destiny as Godís adoptive children and members of the body of Christ.  Like Mary our Mother, we are called to share fully in the Lordís victory over sin and death, and to reign with him in his eternal Kingdom. 
The ďgreat signĒ presented in todayís first reading Ė a woman clothed in the sun and crowned by stars (cf. Rev 12:1) Ė invites us to contemplate Mary enthroned in glory beside her divine Son.  It also invites us to acknowledge the future which even now the Risen Lord is opening before us.  Koreans traditionally celebrate this feast in the light of their historical experience, seeing the loving intercession of Our Lady at work in the history of the nation and the lives of its people.
In todayís second reading, we heard Saint Paul tell us that Christ is the new Adam, whose obedience to the Fatherís will has overturned the reign of sin and bondage and inaugurated the reign of life and freedom (cf. 1 Cor 15:24-25).  True freedom is found in our loving embrace of the Fatherís will.  From Mary, full of grace, we learn that Christian freedom is more than liberation from sin.  It is freedom for a new, spiritual way of seeing earthly realities.  It is the freedom to love God and our brothers and sisters with a pure heart, and to live a life of joyful hope for the coming of Christís Kingdom.
Today, in venerating Mary, Queen of Heaven, we also turn to her as Mother of the Church in Korea.  We ask her to help us to be faithful to the royal freedom we received on the day of our Baptism, to guide our efforts to transform the world in accordance with Godís plan, and to enable the Church in this country to be ever more fully a leaven of his Kingdom in the midst of Korean society.  May the Christians of this nation be a generous force for spiritual renewal at every level of society.  May they combat the allure of a materialism that stifles authentic spiritual and cultural values and the spirit of unbridled competition which generates selfishness and strife.  May they also reject inhumane economic models which create new forms of poverty and marginalize workers, and the culture of death which devalues the image of God, the God of life, and violates the dignity of every man, woman and child. 
As Korean Catholics, heirs to a noble tradition, you are called to cherish this legacy and transmit it to future generations.  This will demand of everyone a renewed conversion to the word of God and a passionate concern for the poor, the needy and the vulnerable in our midst. 
In celebrating this feast, we join the Church throughout the world in looking to Mary as our Mother of Hope.  Her song of praise reminds us that God never forgets his promise of mercy (cf. Lk 1:54-55).  Mary is the one who is blessed because ďshe believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the LordĒ (Lk 1:45).  In her, all Godís promises have been proved trustworthy.  Enthroned in glory, she shows us that our hope is real; even now it reaches as ďa sure and steadfast anchor of the soulĒ (Heb 6:19) to where Jesus is seated in glory. 
This hope, dear brothers and sisters, the hope held out by the Gospel, is the antidote to the spirit of despair that seems to grow like a cancer in societies which are outwardly affluent, yet often experience inner sadness and emptiness.  Upon how many of our young has this despair taken its toll!  May they, the young who surround us in these days with their joy and confidence, never be robbed of their hope!
Let us turn to Our Lady and implore the grace to rejoice in the freedom of the children of God, to use that freedom wisely in the service of our brothers and sisters, and to live and work as signs of the hope which will find its fulfillment in that eternal Kingdom where to reign is to serve.  Amen.


Pope's Homily at Mass of Beatification of Paul Yun Ji-Chung and Companions
The martyrs "challenge us to think about what, if anything, we ourselves would be willing to die for"

SEOUL, August 16, 2014  - Here is a Vatican translation of the Italian-language homily Pope Francis delivered today at the beatification Mass for the Korean martyrs Paul Yun Ji-Chung and 123 companions.

The Mass was held at the Gwanghwamun Gate in Seoul.

* * *

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom 8:35).  With these words, Saint Paul speaks of the glory of our faith in Jesus: not only has Christ risen from the dead and ascended to heaven, but he has united us to himself and he grants us a share in his eternal life.  Christ is victorious and his victory is ours!

Today we celebrate this victory in Paul Yun Ji-chung and his 123 companions.  Their names now stand alongside those of the holy martyrs Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and companions, to whom I just paid homage.  All of them lived and died for Christ, and now they reign with him in joy and in glory.  With Saint Paul, they tell us that, in the death and resurrection of his Son, God has granted us the greatest victory of all.  For ďneither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our LordĒ (Rom 8:38-39).

The victory of the martyrs, their witness to the power of Godís love, continues to bear fruit today in Korea, in the Church which received growth from their sacrifice.  Our celebration of Blessed Paul and Companions provides us with the opportunity to return to the first moments, the infancy as it were, of the Church in Korea.  It invites you, the Catholics of Korea, to remember the great things which God has wrought in this land and to treasure the legacy of faith and charity entrusted to you by your forebears.

In Godís mysterious providence, the Christian faith was not brought to the shores of Korea through missionaries; rather, it entered through the hearts and minds of the Korean people themselves.  It was prompted by intellectual curiosity, the search for religious truth.  Through an initial encounter with the Gospel, the first Korean Christians opened their minds to Jesus.  They wanted to know more about this Christ who suffered, died, and rose from the dead.  Learning about Jesus soon led to an encounter with the Lord, the first baptisms, the yearning for a full sacramental and ecclesial life, and the beginnings of missionary outreach.  It also bore fruit in communities inspired by the early Church, in which the believers were truly one in mind and heart, regardless of traditional social differences, and held all things in common (cf. Acts 4:32).

This history tells us much about the importance, the dignity and the beauty of the vocation of the laity.  I greet the many lay faithful present, and in particular the Christian families who daily by their example teach the faith and the reconciling love of Christ to our young.  In a special way, too, I greet the many priests present; by their dedicated ministry they pass on the rich patrimony of faith cultivated by past generations of Korean Catholics.

Todayís Gospel contains an important message for all of us.  Jesus asks the Father to consecrate us in truth, and to protect us from the world.

First of all, it is significant that, while Jesus asks the Father to consecrate and protect us, he does not ask him to take us out of the world.  We know that he sends his disciples forth to be a leaven of holiness and truth in the world: the salt of the earth, the light of the world.  In this, the martyrs show us the way.

Soon after the first seeds of faith were planted in this land, the martyrs and the Christian community had to choose between following Jesus or the world.  They had heard the Lordís warning that the world would hate them because of him (Jn 17:14); they knew the cost of discipleship.  For many, this meant persecution, and later flight to the mountains, where they formed Catholic villages.  They were willing to make great sacrifices and let themselves be stripped of whatever kept them from Christ Ė possessions and land, prestige and honor Ė for they knew that Christ alone was their true treasure.

So often we today can find our faith challenged by the world, and in countless ways we are asked to compromise our faith, to water down the radical demands of the Gospel and to conform to the spirit of this age.  Yet the martyrs call out to us to put Christ first and to see all else in this world in relation to him and his eternal Kingdom.  They challenge us to think about what, if anything, we ourselves would be willing to die for.

The example of the martyrs also teaches us the importance of charity in the life of faith.  It was the purity of their witness to Christ, expressed in an acceptance of the equal dignity of all the baptized, which led them to a form of fraternal life that challenged the rigid social structures of their day.  It was their refusal to separate the twin commandment of love of God and love of neighbor which impelled them to such great solicitude for the needs of the brethren.  Their example has much to say to us who live in societies where, alongside immense wealth, dire poverty is silently growing; where the cry of the poor is seldom heeded; and where Christ continues to call out to us, asking us to love and serve him by tending to our brothers and sisters in need.

If we follow the lead of the martyrs and take the Lord at his word, then we will understand the sublime freedom and joy with which they went to their death.  We will also see todayís celebration as embracing the countless anonymous martyrs, in this country and throughout the world, who, especially in the last century, gave their lives for Christ or suffered grave persecution for his name.

Today is a day of great rejoicing for all Koreans.  The heritage of Blessed Paul Yun Ji-chung and his companions Ė their integrity in the search for truth, their fidelity to the highest principles of the religion which they chose to embrace, and their testimony of charity and solidarity with all Ė these are part of the rich history of the Korean people.  The legacy of the martyrs can inspire all men and women of good will to work in harmony for a more just, free and reconciled society, thus contributing to peace and the protection of authentically human values in this country and in our world.

May the prayers of all the Korean martyrs, in union with those of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, obtain for us the grace of perseverance in faith and in every good work, holiness and purity of heart, and apostolic zeal in bearing witness to Jesus in this beloved country, throughout Asia, and to the ends of the earth.  Amen.


Pope's Address to Korea's Religious Communities
"Do all that you can to show that the consecrated life is a precious gift to the Church and to the world. Do not keep it to yourselves; share it, bringing Christ to every corner of this beloved country."

SEOUL, August 16, 2014  - About 5.45pm Saturday, the Holy Father met members of Korea's religious communities at the auditorium of the "School of Love" in Kkottongnae, where normally there are classes of spirituality. An estimated 5,000 men and women religious were present.

After addresses from the two presidents of the associations - male and female - of major superiors in Korea, the Pope presided over the celebration of Vespers. Among the intentions was a prayer for the reconciliation and unity of South and North Korea.

At the end of the celebration of Vespers, Pope Francis delivered the following discourse:


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I greet you all with affection in the Lord. It is good to be with you today and to share these moments of communion. The great variety of charisms and apostolates which you represent wondrously enriches the life of the Church in Korea and beyond [...] In this setting of the celebration of Vespers where we have sung the praise of Godís infinite goodness and mercy, I thank you, and all of your brothers and sisters, for your efforts to build up Godís Kingdom in this beloved country. I thank Father Hwang Seok-mo and Sister Scholastica Lee Kwang-ok, the Presidents of the Korean Conferences of Major Superiors of Menís and Womenís Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, for their kind words of welcome.

The words of the Psalm, "My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Ps73:26), invite us to think about our own lives. The Psalmist exudes joyful confidence in God. We all know that while joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty, "it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved" (Evangelii Gaudium, 6). The firm conviction of being loved by God is at the center of your vocation: to be for others a tangible sign of the presence of Godís Kingdom, a foretaste of the eternal joys of heaven. Only if our witness is joyful will we attract men and women to Christ. And this joy is a gift which is nourished by a life of prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of the sacraments and life in community. This is very important. When these are lacking, weaknesses and difficulties will emerge to dampen the joy we knew so well at the beginning of our journey.

For you, as men and women consecrated to God, this joy is rooted in the mystery of the Fatherís mercy revealed in Christís sacrifice on the cross. Whether the charism of your Institute is directed more to contemplation or to the active life, you are challenged to become "experts" in divine mercy precisely through your life in community. From experience I know that community life is not always easy, but it is a providential training ground for the heart. It is unrealistic not to expect conflicts; misunderstandings will arise and they must be faced. Despite such difficulties, it is in community life that we are called to grow in mercy, forbearance and perfect charity.

The experience of Godís mercy, nourished by prayer and community, must shape all that you are, all that you do. Your chastity, poverty and obedience will be a joyful witness to Godís love in the measure that you stand firmly on the rock of his mercy. It is the rock. This is certainly the case with religious obedience. Mature and generous obedience requires that you cling in prayer to Christ who, taking the form of a servant, learned obedience through what he suffered (cf. Perfectae Caritatis, 14). There are no shortcuts: God desires our hearts completely and this means we have to "let go" and "go out" of ourselves more and more.

A lively experience of the Lordís steadfast mercy also sustains the desire to achieve that perfection of charity which is born of purity of heart. Chastity expresses your single-minded dedication to the love of God who is "the strength of our hearts". We all know what a personal and demanding commitment this entails. Temptations in this area call for humble trust in God, vigilance and perseverance. [...]

Through the evangelical counsel of poverty you are able to recognize Godís mercy not only as a source of strength, but also as a treasure. It seems contradictory but to be poor means to find a treasure. Even when we are weary, we can offer him our hearts burdened by sin and weakness; at those times when we feel most helpless, we can reach out to Christ, "who made himself poor in order that we might become rich" (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). This fundamental need of ours to be forgiven and healed is itself a form of poverty which we must never lose sight of, no matter how many advances we make in virtue. It should also find concrete expression in your lifestyle, both as individuals and as communities. I think in particular of the need to avoid all those things which can distract you and cause bewilderment and scandal to others. In the consecrated life, poverty is both a "wall" and a "mother". It is a "wall" because it protects the consecrated life, a "mother" because it helps it to grow and guides it along the right path. The hypocrisy of those consecrated men and women who profess vows of poverty, yet live like the rich, wounds the souls of the faithful and harms the Church. Think, too, of how dangerous a temptation it is to adopt a purely functional, worldly mentality which leads to placing our hope in human means alone and destroys the witness of poverty which our Lord Jesus Christ lived and taught us [...]

Dear brothers and sisters, with great humility, do all that you can to show that the consecrated life is a precious gift to the Church and to the world. Do not keep it to yourselves; share it, bringing Christ to every corner of this beloved country. Let your joy continue to find expression in your efforts to attract and nurture vocations, and recognize that all of you have some part in forming the consecrated men and women of tomorrow [...] Whether you are given more to contemplation or to the apostolic life, be zealous in your love of the Church in Korea and your desire to contribute, through your own specific charism, to its mission of proclaiming the Gospel and building up Godís people in unity, holiness and love.

Commending all of you, and in a special way the aged and infirm members of your communities, to the loving care of Mary, Mother of the Church, I cordially impart my blessing as a pledge of enduring grace and peace in Jesus her Son.


Pope's Address to Korean Laity
"In all that you do, I ask you to work in complete harmony of mind and heart with your pastors, striving to place your own insights, talents and charisms at the service of the Church's growth in unity and missionary outreach"

SEOUL, August 16, 2014  - Below is the discourse Pope Francis gave to laity at 6:30 p.m., local time, at the Spiritual Center in Kkottongnae, South Korea.

In recognition of the fundamental importance of the role of the laity in the Church in South Korea, the Catholic Council for the Apostolate of the Laity was established in 1968. It has offices throughout the country and has as its central mission dialogue with non-believers.

In the chapel of the center, the Pope met with about 150 lay people particularly active in the apostolate. After the greetings of the President of the Association of the Laity, the Pope gave his address.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am grateful to have this opportunity to meet you, who represent the many expressions of the flourishing apostolate of the laity in Korea [Ö] I thank the President of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council, Mr Paul Kwon Kil-joong, for his kind words of welcome in your name.

The Church in Korea, as we all know, is heir to the faith of generations of lay persons who persevered in the love of Christ Jesus and the communion of the Church despite the scarcity of priests and the threat of severe persecution. Blessed Paul Yun Ji-chung and the martyrs beatified today represent an impressive chapter of this history. They bore witness to the faith not only by their sufferings and death, but by their lives of loving solidarity with one another in Christian communities marked by exemplary charity.

This precious legacy lives on in your own works of faith, charity and service. Today, as ever, the Church needs credible lay witnesses to the saving truth of the Gospel, its power to purify and transform human hearts, and its fruitfulness for building up the human family in unity, justice and peace. We know there is but one mission of the Church of God, and that every baptized Christian has a vital part in this mission. Your gifts as lay men and women are manifold and your apostolates varied, yet all that you do is meant to advance the Churchís mission by ensuring that the temporal order is permeated and perfected by Christís Spirit and ordered to the coming of his Kingdom.

In a particular way, I wish to acknowledge the work of the many societies and associations directly engaged in outreach to the poor and those in need. As the example of the first Korean Christians shows, the fruitfulness of faith is expressed in concrete solidarity with our brothers and sisters, without any attention to their culture or social status, for in Christ "there is no Greek or Jew" (Gal 3:28). I am deeply grateful to those of you who by your work and witness bring the Lordís consoling presence to people living on the peripheries of our society. This activity should not be limited to charitable assistance, but must also extend to a practical concern for human growth. Not only the assistance, but for the development of the person. To assist the poor is good and necessary, but it is not enough. I encourage you to multiply your efforts in the area of human promotion, so that every man and every woman can know the joy which comes from the dignity of earning their daily bread and supporting their family. [Ö]

I wish also to acknowledge the outstanding contribution made by Korean Catholic women to the life and mission of the Church in this country as mothers of families, as catechists and teachers, and in countless other ways. Similarly, I can only stress the importance of the witness given by Christian families. At a time of great crisis for family life, which we all know, our Christian communities are called to support married couples and families in fulfilling their proper mission in the life of the Church and society. The family remains the basic unit of society and the first school in which children learn the human, spiritual and moral values which enable them to be a beacon of goodness, integrity and justice in our communities.

Dear friends, whatever your particular contribution to the Churchís mission, I ask you to continue to promote in your communities a more complete formation of the lay faithful through ongoing catechesis and spiritual direction. In all that you do, I ask you to work in complete harmony of mind and heart with your pastors, striving to place your own insights, talents and charisms at the service of the Churchís growth in unity and missionary outreach. Your contribution is essential, for the future of the Church in Korea Ė as throughout Asia Ė will depend in large part on the development of an ecclesiological vision grounded in a spirituality of communion, participation and the sharing of gifts (cf. Ecclesia in Asia, 45).

Once again I express my gratitude for all that you do for the building up of the Church in Korea in holiness and zeal. May you draw constant inspiration and strength for your apostolates from the Eucharistic sacrifice, wherein "that love of God and of humanity which is the soul of the apostolate is communicated and nourished" (Lumen Gentium, 33). Upon you and your families, and all who take part in the corporal and spiritual works of your parishes, associations and movements, I invoke joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ and the loving protection of Mary, our Mother. I ask again to pray again for me. And now all together we pray to the Madonna and I will give you my blessing. [Prayer and Blessing] And remember, donít forget, to pray for me.


Pope's Homily at Concluding Mass for 6th Asian Youth Day
"Let Christ turn your natural optimism into Christian hope, your energy into moral virtue, your good will into genuine self-sacrificing love!"

SEOUL, August 17, 2014  - Below is the text of the discourse Pope Francis gave at this afternoon at 4:30, local time, at the concluding Mass of the 6th Asian Youth Day in the square within the wall of the Castle of Haemi in South Korea:


Dear Young Friends,

The glory of the martyrs shines upon you!

These words Ė a part of the theme of the Sixth Asian Youth Day Ė console and strengthen us all. Young people of Asia: you are the heirs of a great testimony, a precious witness to Christ. He is the light of the world; he is the light of our lives! The martyrs of Korea Ė and innumerable others throughout Asia Ė handed over their bodies to their persecutors; to us they have handed on a perennial witness that the light of Christís truth dispels all darkness, and the love of Christ is gloriously triumphant. With the certainty of his victory over death, and our participation in it, we can face the challenge of Christian discipleship today, in our own circumstances and time.

The words which we have just reflected upon are a consolation. The other part of this Dayís theme Ė Asian Youth! Wake up!Ė speaks to you of a duty, a responsibility. Let us consider for a moment each of these words.

First, the word "Asian". You have gathered here in Korea from all parts of Asia. Each of you has a unique place and context where you are called to reflect Godís love. The Asian continent, imbued with rich philosophical and religious traditions, remains a great frontier for your testimony to Christ, "the way, and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6). As young people not only in Asia, but also as sons and daughters of  this great continent, you have a right and a duty to take full part in the life of your societies. Do not be afraid to bring the wisdom of faith to every aspect of social life!

As Asians too, you see and love, from within, all that is beautiful, noble and true in your cultures and traditions. Yet as Christians, you also know that the Gospel has the power to purify, elevate and perfect this heritage. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit given you in Baptism and sealed within you at Confirmation, and in union with your pastors, you can appreciate the many positive values of the diverse Asian cultures. You are also able to discern what is incompatible with your Catholic faith, what is contrary to the life of grace bestowed in Baptism, and what aspects of contemporary culture are sinful, corrupt, and lead to death.

Returning to the theme of this Day, let us reflect on a second word: "Youth". You and your friends are filled with the optimism, energy and good will which are so characteristic of this period of life. Let Christ turn your natural optimism into Christian hope, your energy into moral virtue, your good will into genuine self-sacrificing love! This is the path you are called to take. This is the path to overcoming all that threatens hope, virtue and love in your lives and in your culture. In this way your youth will be a gift to Jesus and to the world.

As young Christians, whether you are workers or students,whether you have already begun a career or have answered the call to marriage, religious life or the priesthood, you are not only a part of the future of the Church; you are also a necessary and beloved part of the Churchís present! You are the present of the Church. Keep close to one another, draw ever closer to God, and with your bishops and priests spend these years in building a holier, more missionary and humble Church Ė a Church which loves and worships God by seeking to serve the poor, the lonely, the infirm and the marginalized.

In your Christian lives, you will find many occasions that will tempt you, like the disciples in todayís Gospel, to push away the stranger, the needy, the poor and the broken-hearted. It is these people especially who repeat, today, the cry of the woman of the Gospel: "Lord, help me!Ē The Canaanite womanís plea is the cry of everyone who searches for love, acceptance, and friendship with Christ. It is the cry of so many people in our anonymous cities, the cry of so many of your own contemporaries, and the cry of all those martyrs who even today suffer persecution and death for the name of Jesus: "Lord, help me!" Let us respond, not like those who push away people who make demands on us, as if serving the needy gets in the way of our being close to the Lord. No! We are to be like Christ, who responds to every plea for his help with love, mercy and compassion.

Finally, the third part of this Dayís theme Ė "Wake up!" ĖWake up! speaks of a responsibility which the Lord gives you. It is the duty to be vigilant, not to allow the pressures, the temptations and the sins of ourselves or others to dull our sensitivity to the beauty of holiness, to the joy of the Gospel. Todayís responsorial psalm invites us constantly to "be glad and sing for joy". No one who sleeps can sing, dance or rejoice. Itís no good when I see young people who are asleep. No! Wake up. Go. Go. Go ahead. Dear young people, "God, our God, has blessed us!" (Ps 67:6); from him we have "received mercy" (Rom 11:30). Assured of Godís love, go out to the world so that, "by the mercy shown to you", they Ė your friends, co-workers, neighbors, countrymen, everyone on this great continent Ė "may now receive the mercy of God" (cf. Rom 11:31). It is by his mercy that we are saved.

Dear young people of Asia, it is my hope that, in union with Christ and the Church, you will take up this path, which will surely bring you much joy. Now, as we approach the table of the Eucharist, let us turn to our Mother Mary, who brought Jesus to the world. Yes, Mother Mary, we long to have Jesus; in your maternal affection help us to bring him to others, to serve him faithfully, and to honor him in every time and place, in this country and throughout Asia. Amen.

Young people, Wake Up!

[Original text: English]

[Improvised Remarks: English]


Bombay's Cardinal Gracias' Greeting to Pope
"in many ways Asia is a very central for the future of the world and for the future of the Church"

SEOUL, August 17, 2014  - Here is the text of the greeting given today by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay & president of the Federation of Asian Bishopsí Conferences, when Pope Francis met with the bishops at the Haemi Shrine.

* * *

Most Holy Father,
At this moment, our minds and hearts go back to that historic occasion forty four years ago when the Bishops of Asia met together in Manila on the occasion of Pope Paul VIís historic visit to the Philippines in 1970.  It was the first time that so many Bishops from Asia Ė around 180 were present Ė came together to exchange experiences and to deliberate jointly on pastoral issues facing this vast continent rich in its diversity. Thrilled by this experience, the Founding Fathers established the Federation of Asian Bishopsí Conferences (FABC) with the blessings of Pope Paul VI. FABC today has 19 member conferences comprising 27 countries, and 9 associate members besides: Churches which do not yet have Episcopal Conferences.
Asia is a continent experiencing the hopes and joys of a constant rebirth in the Spirit. Sixty percent of the world's population lives in Asia. It is a young continent with a majority of the population young.  Hence in many ways Asia is a very central for the future of the world and for the future of the Church. Globalization has impacted Asia and this has brought new challenges to the Church: Asian people are religious by nature, yet a spirit of secularism and materialism is creeping in. Family ties once considered so important and so deeply rooted in Asian society are slowly being eroded. 

Again, while the Asian soul treats life as sacred, there are rising threats to life that are disturbing in many ways. The Asian seeks and enjoys community. Now this too is being impacted upon with a strong sense of individualism.

We are in this beautiful land of St. Andrew Kim Taegon and his companions. During this week 124 more martyrs are being beatified.  It is the blood of these holy martyrs that has been the seed for the growth of the Church here.  The Asian Youth Day has shown how vibrant and enthusiastic the Korean youth are. Korea is a land where the laity has played a special role in Evangelization and this becomes a model for many of our Churches. We wish to be touched by the infectious passion of the Korean Church as we go back to our dioceses.

Most Holy Father we thank you for this visit to Korea, your first to Asia. You have brought the person of Jesus to us by your Message. You have inspired us by your example. We thank you for your leadership and we pray for the continuous assistance of the Spirit to you and Godís protection on your Petrine ministry. While we ask you to bless and pray for us, we commit ourselves to make the person of Jesus and His Message continuously more known, more understood, more loved and more followed. This we will do by our word, by our lives and by our work. Bless the Church in Asia, bless us the leaders of the Church. May Mary the Star of New Evangelization, our Mother and the Mother of Asia continue to guide, protect and intercede for us.

Thank you.


Francis' Address to Asian Bishops
"We cannot engage in real dialogue unless we are conscious of our own identity"

SEOUL, August 17, 2014 - Here is a Vatican translation of the text of the address Pope Francis gave today during his meeting with Asian bishops at the Haemi Martyrsí Shrine.

* * *

Dear Brother Bishops,

I offer you a warm and fraternal greeting in the Lord as we gather together at this holy site where so many Christians gave their lives in fidelity to Christ.  Their testimony of charity has brought blessings and graces not only to the Church in Korea but also beyond; may their prayers help us to be faithful shepherds of the souls entrusted to our care.  I thank Cardinal Gracias for his kind words of welcome and for the work of the Federation of Asian Bishopsí Conferences in fostering solidarity and promoting effective pastoral outreach in your local Churches.

On this vast continent which is home to a great variety of cultures, the Church is called to be versatile and creative in her witness to the Gospel through dialogue and openness to all.  Dialogue, in fact, is an essential part of the mission of the Church in Asia (cf. Ecclesia in Asia, 29).    

But in undertaking the path of dialogue with individuals and cultures, what should be our point of departure and the fundamental point of reference which guides us to our destination?  Surely it is our own identity, our identity as Christians.  We cannot engage in real dialogue unless we are conscious of our own identity.  Nor can there be authentic dialogue unless we are capable of opening our minds and hearts, in empathy and sincere receptivity, to those with whom we speak.  A clear sense of oneís own identity and a capacity for empathy are thus the point of departure for all dialogue.  If we are to speak freely, openly and fruitfully with others, we must be clear about who we are, what God has done for us, and what it is that he asks of us.  And if our communication is not to be a monologue, there has to be openness of heart and mind to accepting individuals and cultures.

The task of appropriating and expressing our identity does not always prove easy, however, since Ė being sinners Ė we will always be tempted by the spirit of the world, which shows itself in a variety of ways.  I would like to point to three of these.  One is the deceptive light of relativism, which obscures the splendor of truth and, shaking the earth beneath our feet, pulls us toward the shifting sands of confusion and despair.  It is a temptation which nowadays also affects Christian communities, causing people to forget that in a world of rapid and disorienting change, ďthere is much that is unchanging, much that has its ultimate foundation in Christ, who is the same yesterday, and today, and foreverĒ (Gaudium et Spes, 10; cf. Heb 13:8).  Here I am not speaking about relativism merely as a system of thought, but about that everyday practical relativism which almost imperceptibly saps our sense of identity.

A second way in which the world threatens the solidity of our Christian identity is superficiality, a tendency to toy with the latest fads, gadgets and distractions, rather than attending to the things that really matter (cf. Phil 1:10).  In a culture which glorifies the ephemeral, and offers so many avenues of avoidance and escape, this can present a serious pastoral problem.  For the ministers of the Church, it can also make itself felt in an enchantment with pastoral programs and theories, to the detriment of direct, fruitful encounter with our faithful, especially the young who need solid catechesis and sound spiritual guidance.  Without a grounding in Christ, the truths by which we live our lives can gradually recede, the practice of the virtues can become formalistic, and dialogue can be reduced to a form of negotiation or an agreement to disagree.

Then too, there is a third temptation: that of the apparent security to be found in hiding behind easy answers, ready formulas, rules and regulations.  Faith by nature is not self-absorbed; it ďgoes outĒ.  It seeks understanding; it gives rise to testimony; it generates mission.  In this sense, faith enables us to be both fearless and unassuming in our witness of hope and love.  Saint Peter tells us that we should be ever ready to respond to all who ask the reason for the hope within us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).  Our identity as Christians is ultimately seen in our quiet efforts to worship God alone, to love one another, to serve one another, and to show by our example not only what we believe, but also what we hope for, and the One in whom we put our trust (cf. 2 Tim 1:12). 

Once again, it is our living faith in Christ which is our deepest identity; it is from this that our dialogue begins, and this that we are asked to share, sincerely, honestly and without pretence, in the dialogue of everyday life, in the dialogue of charity, and in those more formal opportunities which may present themselves.  Because Christ is our life (cf. Phil 1:21), let us speak ďfrom him and of himĒ readily and without hesitation or fear.  The simplicity of his word becomes evident in the simplicity of our lives, in the simplicity of our communication, in the simplicity of our works of loving service to our brothers and sisters.

I would now touch on one further aspect of our Christian identity.  It is fruitful.  Because it is born of, and constantly nourished by, the grace of our dialogue with the Lord and the promptings of his Spirit, it bears a harvest of justice, goodness and peace.  Let me ask you, then, about the fruits which it is bearing in your own lives and in the lives of the communities entrusted to your care.  Does the Christian identity of your particular Churches shine forth in your programs of catechesis and youth ministry, in your service to the poor and those languishing on the margins of our prosperous societies, and in your efforts to nourish vocations to the priesthood and the religious life?

Finally, together with a clear sense of our own Christian identity, authentic dialogue also demands a capacity for empathy.  We are challenged to listen not only to the words which others speak, but to the unspoken communication of their experiences, their hopes and aspirations, their struggles and their deepest concerns.  Such empathy must be the fruit of our spiritual insight and personal experience, which lead us to see others as brothers and sisters, and to ďhearĒ, in and beyond their words and actions, what their hearts wish to communicate.  In this sense, dialogue demands of us a truly contemplative spirit of openness and receptivity to the other.  This capacity for empathy enables a true human dialogue in which words, ideas and questions arise from an experience of fraternity and shared humanity.  It leads to a genuine encounter in which heart speaks to heart.  We are enriched by the wisdom of the other and become open to travelling together the path to greater understanding, friendship and solidarity.  As Saint John Paul II rightly recognized, our commitment to dialogue is grounded in the very logic of the incarnation: in Jesus, God himself became one of us, shared in our life and spoke to us in our own language (cf. Ecclesia in Asia, 29).  In this spirit of openness to others, I earnestly hope that those countries of your continent with whom the Holy See does not yet enjoy a full relationship, may not hesitate to further a dialogue for the benefit of all.

Dear brother bishops, I thank you for your warm and fraternal welcome.  When we look out at the great Asian continent, with its vast expanses of land, its ancient cultures and traditions, we are aware that, in Godís plan, your Christian communities are indeed a pusillus grex, a small flock which nonetheless is charged to bring the light of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  May the Good Shepherd, who knows and loves each of his sheep, guide and strengthen your efforts to build up their unity with him and with all the members of his flock throughout the world.  I commend all of you to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and I cordially impart my blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in the Lord.


Pope's Homily at Mass for Peace and Reconciliation
"Jesus asks us to believe that forgiveness is the door which leads to reconciliation"

SEOUL, August 18, 2014  - Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Pope Francis gave today at the last Mass of his visit to South Korea.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As my stay in Korea draws to a close, I thank God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon this beloved country, and in a special way, upon the Church in Korea. Among those blessings I especially treasure the experience we have all had in these recent days of the presence of so many young pilgrims from throughout Asia. Their love of Jesus and their enthusiasm for the spread of his Kingdom have been an inspiration to us all.

My visit now culminates in this celebration of Mass, in which we implore from God the grace of peace and reconciliation. This prayer has a particular resonance on the Korean peninsula. Todayís Mass is first and foremost a prayer for reconciliation in this Korean family. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us how powerful is our prayer when two or three of us join in asking for something (cf. Mt 18:19-20). How much more when an entire people raises its heartfelt plea to heaven!

The first reading presents Godís promise to restore to unity and prosperity a people dispersed by disaster and division. For us, as for the people of Israel, this is a promise full of hope: it points to a future which God is even now preparing for us. Yet this promise is inseparably tied to a command: the command to return to God and wholeheartedly obey his law (cf. Dt 30:2-3). Godís gifts of reconciliation, unity and peace are inseparably linked to the grace of conversion, a change of heart which can alter the course of our lives and our history, as individuals and as a people.

At this Mass, we naturally hear this promise in the context of the historical experience of the Korean people, an experience of division and conflict which has lasted for well over sixty years. But Godís urgent summons to conversion also challenges Christís followers in Korea to examine the quality of their own contribution to the building of a truly just and humane society. It challenges each of you to reflect on the extent to which you, as individuals and communities, show evangelical concern for the less fortunate, the marginalized, those without work and those who do not share in the prosperity of the many. And it challenges you, as Christians and Koreans, firmly to reject a mindset shaped by suspicion, confrontation and competition, and instead to shape a culture formed by the teaching of the Gospel and the noblest traditional values of the Korean people.

In todayís Gospel, Peter asks the Lord: "If my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" To which the Lord replies: "Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy times seven" (Mt 18:21-22). These words go to the very heart of Jesusí message of reconciliation and peace. In obedience to his command, we ask our heavenly Father daily to forgive us our sins, "as we forgive those who sin against us". Unless we are prepared to do this, how can we honestly pray for peace and reconciliation?

Jesus asks us to believe that forgiveness is the door which leads to reconciliation. In telling us to forgive our brothers unreservedly, he is asking us to do something utterly radical, but he also gives us the grace to do it. What appears, from a human perspective, to be impossible, impractical and even at times repugnant, he makes possible and fruitful through the infinite power of his cross. The cross of Christ reveals the power of God to bridge every division, to heal every wound, and to reestablish the original bonds of brotherly love.

This, then, is the message which I leave you as I conclude my visit to Korea. Trust in the power of Christís cross! Welcome its reconciling grace into your own hearts and share that grace with others! I ask you to bear convincing witness to Christís message of forgiveness in your homes, in your communities and at every level of national life. I am confident that, in a spirit of friendship and cooperation with other Christians, with the followers of other religions, and with all men and women of good will concerned for the future of Korean society, you will be a leaven of the Kingdom of God in this land. Thus our prayers for peace and reconciliation will rise to God from ever more pure hearts and, by his gracious gift, obtain that precious good for which we all long.

Let us pray, then, for the emergence of new opportunities for dialogue, encounter and the resolution of differences, for continued generosity in providing humanitarian assistance to those in need, and for an ever greater recognition that all Koreans are brothers and sisters, members of one family, one people.

Before leaving Korea, I wish to thank the President of Republic, the civil and ecclesiastical authorities and all those who in any way helped to make this visit possible. I especially wish to address a word of personal appreciation to the priests of Korea, who daily labor in the service of the Gospel and the building up of Godís people in faith, hope and love. I ask you, as ambassadors of Christ and ministers of his reconciling love (cf. 2 Cor 5:18-20), to continue to build bridges of respect, trust and harmonious cooperation in your parishes, among yourselves, and with your bishops. Your example of unreserved love for the Lord, your faithfulness and dedication to your ministry, and your charitable concern for those in need, contribute greatly to the work of reconciliation and peace in this country.

Dear brothers and sisters, God calls us to return to him and to hearken to his voice, and he promises to establish us on the land in even greater peace and prosperity than our ancestors knew. May Christís followers in Korea prepare for the dawning of that new day, when this land of the morning calm will rejoice in Godís richest blessings of harmony and peace! Amen.


Vatican-Approved Transcript of Pope Francis' Airborne Press Conference From Korea
"It is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underline the verb: stop. I do not say bomb, make war, I say stop by some means."

By Staff

VATICAN CITY, August 19, 2014  - Here below we publish a Vatican-approved English translation of Pope Francis' hour-long airborne press conference, given Monday on the flight back from South Korea. 


Q. During the visit to Korea, you reached out to the families of the Sewol ferry disaster and consoled them. Two questions: What did you feel when you met them? And were you not concerned that your action could be misinterpreted politically?

A.  When you find yourself in front of human suffering, you have to do what your heart brings you to do. Then later they might say, he did this because he had a political intention, or something else They can say everything. But when you think of these men, these women, fathers and mothers who have lost their children, brothers and sisters who have lost brothers and sisters, and the very great pain of such a catastrophe.. my heart.   I am a priest, I feel that I have to come close to them,  I feel that way. Thatís first.  I know that the consolation that I can give, my words, are not a remedy. I cannot give new life to those that are dead. But human closeness in these moments gives us strength, solidarity.

I remember when I was archbishop of Buenos Aires, I experienced two catastrophes of this kind. One was a fire in a dance hall, a pop-music concert, and 194 people died in it.  That was in 1993. And then there was another catastrophe with trains, and I think 120 died in that. At those times I felt the same thing, to draw close to them.  Human pain is strong and if we draw close in those sad moments we help a lot.

And I want to say something more.  I took this ribbon (from relatives of the Sewold ferry disaster, which I am wearing) out of solidarity with them, and after half a day someone came close to me and said ďit is better remove it,  you should be neutral. But listen, one cannot be neutral about human pain.  I responded in that way.  Thatís how I felt.

Q.  You know that recently the US forces have started bombing the terrorists in Iraq, to prevent a genocide, to protect minorities, including Catholics who are under your guidance. My question is this:  do you approve the American bombing?

A. Thanks for such a clear question.  In these cases where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say this: it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underline the verb: stop.  I do not say bomb, make war, I say stop by some means. With what means can they be stopped?  These have to be evaluated.  To stop the unjust aggressor is licit.

But we must also have memory.  How many times under this excuse of stopping an unjust aggressor the powers (that intervened)  have taken control of peoples, and have made a true war of conquest.

One nation alone cannot judge how to stop an unjust aggressor.  After the Second World War there was the idea of the United Nations.  It is there that this should be discussed.  Is there an unjust aggressor?  It would seem there is. How do we stop him? Only that, nothing more.

Secondly (you mentioned the minorities. Thanks for that word because they talk to me about the Christians, the poor Christians.  Itís true, they suffer.  The martyrs, there are many martyrs. But here there are men and women, religious minorities, not all of them Christian, and they are all equal before God.

To stop the unjust aggressor is a right that humanity has, but it is also a right that the aggressor has to be stopped so that he does not do evil.

Q.  To return to Iraq. Like Cardinal Filoni and the head of the Dominicans, would you be ready to support a military intervention in Iraq to stop the Jihadists? And I have another question: do you think of going one day to Iraq, perhaps to Kurdistan to sustain the Christian refugees who wait for you, and to pray with them in this land where they have lived for 2000 years?

A.  Not long ago I was with the Governor Barzani of Kurdistan.  He had very clear ideas about the situation and how to find solutions,  but that was before this unjust aggression.

I have responded to the first question.  I am only in the agreement in the fact that when there is an unjust aggressor he is to be stopped.

Yes, I am willing (to go there).  But I think I can say this, when we heard with my collaborators about the killings of the religious minorities, the problem at that moment in Kurdistan was that they could not receive so many people.  Itís a problem that one can understand. What can be done?  We thought about many things. First  of all a communique was issued by Fr Lombardi in my name.  Afterwards that communique was sent to all the nunciatures so that it be communicated to governments.  Then we wrote a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations..  Many things Ö. And at the end we decided to send our personal envoy Ė Cardinal Filoni,  and I said if it were necessary when we return from Korea we can go there. It was one of the possibilities. This is my answer.  I am willing (to go there). At the moment it is not the best thing to do, but I am ready for this.

Q. My question is about China.  China allowed you to fly over its airspace. The telegram that you sent (en route to Korea) was received without negative comments.  Do you think these are step forward towards a possible dialogue? And have you a desire to go to China? [Father Lombardi intervenes.  I can inform you that we are now flying in the airspace over China at this moment. So the question is pertinent.]

A.   When we were about to enter into the Chinese airspace (en route to Korea), I was in the cockpit with the pilots, and one of them showed me a register and said, weíre only ten minutes away from entering the Chinese airspace, we must ask authorization.  One always asks for this.  Itís a normal thing, one asks for it from each country. And I heard how they asked for the authorization, how they responded.  I was a witness to this.  The pilot then said we send a telegram, but I donít know how they did it.

Then I left them and I returned to my place and I prayed a lot for that beautiful and noble Chinese people, a wise people.  I think of the great wise men of China, I think of the history of science and wisdom.  And we Jesuits have a history there with Father Ricci.  All these things came into my mind.

If I want to go to China?  For sure! To-morrow!

We respect the Chinese people.  The Church only asks for liberty  for its task, for its work.  Thereís no other condition.

Then we should not forget that fundamental letter for the Chinese problems which was the one sent to the Chinese by Pope Benedict XVI. This letter is actual (relevant) today. It is actual. Itís good to re-read it.

The Holy See is always open to contacts Always. Because it has a true esteem for the Chinese people.

Q. Your next journey will be to Albania and perhaps Iraq.  After the Philippines and Sri Lanka, where will you go in 2015?  And can I say that in Avila,  there is great hope (that you will come),  can they still hope?

A. Yes!  The woman President of the Korea said to me, in perfect Spanish!, hope is the last thing one loses. She said that to me referring to the unification of Korea.  One can always hope, but is not decided.  Let me explain.

This year Albania is envisaged. Some have begun to say that the Pope is starting everything from the periphery.  But I am going to Albania for two important motives. First, because they have been able to form a government  - just think of the Balkans, they have been able to form a government of national unity with Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics, with an interreligious council that helps a lot and is balanced.  This is good, and harmonious.  The presence of the Pope wishes to say to all the peoples (of the world) that itís possible to work together. I felt it as a real help to that noble people.

And thereís another thing, if we think about the history of Albania, in terms of religion is was the only country in the communist world to have in its constitution practical atheism. So if you went to mass it was against the constitution. And then, one of the ministers told me that 1820 churches were destroyed, both Orthodox and Catholic, at that time. Then other churches were transformed into theatres, cinemas, dance halls. So I just felt that I had to go.  Itís close, just one day.

Next year I would like to go to Philadelphia, for the meeting of the families. Then, I have been invited by the President of the United States to the American Congress. And also the Secretary General of the  United Nations has also invited me to the Secretariat of the UN in New York.  So maybe the three cities together.

Then thereís Mexico.  The Mexicans want me to go to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, so we could take advantage of that too (during the US visit), but itís not certain.

And lastly Spain. The Spanish Royals have invited me. The bishops have invited me, but there is a shower of invitations to go to Spain, and maybe it is possible, but there is nothing sure, so Iíll just say that maybe to go to Avila in the morning and return in the afternoon if it were possible, but nothing is decided. So one  can still hope.

Q. What kind of relationship is there between you and Benedict XVI?  Do you have a regular exchange of opinions? Is there a common project after the encyclical (Light of Faith)?

A. We see each other.  Before I departed (for Korea) I went to visit him.  Two weeks earlier he sent me an interesting written text and he asked my opinion on it.  We have a normal relationship. 

I return to this idea, which may not be liked by some theologian, I am not a theologian, but I think that the emeritus-pope is not an exception. But after many centuries he is the first emeritus.  Let us think about what he said, I have got old, I do not have the strength.  It was a beautiful gesture of nobility, of humility and courage.

But if one thinks that 70 years ago emeritus bishops also were an exception. They did not exist, but today emeritus bishops are an institution.

I think that the emeritus pope is already an institution because our life gets longer and at a certain age there isnít the capacity to govern well because the body gets tired, and maybe oneís health is good but there isnít the capacity to carry forward all the problems of  a government like that of the Church.  I think that Pope Benedict made this gesture of emeritus popes.  May, as I said before, some theologian may say this is not right, but I think this way.  The centuries will tell us if this so or not. Letís see.

But you could say to me, if you at some time felt you could not go forward, I would do the same!  I would do the same.  I would pray, but I would do the same. He (Benedict) opened a door that is institutional, not exceptional.

Our relationship is truly that of brothers. But I also said that I felt as if I have a grandfather at home because of his wisdom.  He is a man of wisdom, of nuance that is good for me to hear him. And he encourages me sufficiently too. Thatís the relationship I have with him.

Q. You have met the people who suffered. What did you feel when you greeted the comfort women at mass this morning?  And as regards the suffering of people in Korea there were also Christians hidden in Japan, and next year will the 150th anniversary of their era of Nero. Would it be possible to pray for them together with you at Nagasaki?

A. It would be most beautiful. I have been invited both by the Government and by the Bishops.  I have been invited.

As for the suffering, you return to one of the first questions. The Korean people are a people who did not lose their dignity.  It was a people that was invaded, humiliated.  It suffered wars and now it is divided. Yesterday, when I went to the meeting with young people (at Haemi),  I visited the museum of the martyrs there. It was terrible the sufferings of these people, just for not standing on a cross.   Itís a historical suffering.  This people has the capacity to suffer, and it is part of their dignity.

Also today, when those elderly women were in front of me at mass, I thought that in that invasion there were young girls taken away to the barracks for to use them but they did not lose their dignity then. They were there today showing their faces, elderly, the last ones remaining.  Itís a people strong in its dignity.

But returning to the question about the martyrs, the suffering and also these women, these are the fruits of war!  Today we are in a world at war, everywhere. Someone  said to me, Father do you know that we are in the Third World War, but bit by bit. He understood!   Itís a world at war in which these cruelties are done.

Iíd like to focus on two words.  First, cruelty. Today children do not count.  Once they spoke about a conventional war, today that does not count. Iím not saying that conventional wars were good things, but today a bomb is sent and it kills the innocent, the guilty, children, women they kill everybody. No!  We must stop and think a little about the level of cruelty at which we have arrived.   This should frighten us, and this is not to create fear.  An empirical study could be done on the level of cruelty of humanity at this moment should frighten us a little.

The other word on which I would like to say something is torture.  Today torture is one of the means, I would say, almost ordinary in the behavior of the forces of intelligence, in judicial processes and so on. Torture is a sin against humanity, is a crime against humanity. And I tell Catholics  that to torture a person is a mortal sin, itís a grave sin.   But itís more, itís a sin against humanity.

Cruelty and torture!  I would like very much if you, in your media, make a reflection: How do you see these things today? How do you see the cruelty of humanity, and what do you think of torture. I think it would do us all good to reflect on this.

Q.  You have a very demanding rhythm, full of commitments and take little rest, and no holidays, and you do these trips that are massacring. And in these last months we see that you have also had to cancel some of these engagements, even at the last moment.  Is there something to be concerned about in the life you lead?

A.  Yes, some people told me this.  I have just taken holidays, at home, as I usually do
Once I read a book.  It was quite interesting, itís title was: ďRejoice that you are neuroticĒ.  I too have some neuroses. But one should treat the neuroses well. Give them some mate (herbal drink) every day.  One of the neurosis is that I am too attached to life. 
The last time I took a holiday outside Buenos Aires was with the Jesuit community in 1975.  But I always take holidays.  Itís true. I change rhythm.  I sleep more,  I read the things I like.  I listen to music. That way I rest.   In July and part of August I did that.

The other question. Yes, it is true, I had to cancel (engagements).  The day I should have gone to the Gemelli (Hospital), up to 10 minutes before I was there, but I could not do it. It is true, they were seven very demanding days then, full of engagements.  Now I have to be a little more prudent.

Q.  In Rio when the crowds chanted Francesco, Francesco, you told them to shout Christ, Christ. How do you cope with this immense popularity? How do you live it?

A.  I donít know how to respond. I live it thanking the Lord that his people are happy.  Truly, I do this. And I wish the People of God the best .  I live it as generosity on the part of the people.  Interiorly,  I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, so as not to think that I am somebody.  Because I know this will last a short time, two or three years, and then to the house of the Father. And then itís not wise to believe in this. I live it as  the presence of the Lord in his people who use the bishop, the pastor of the people, to show many things.  I live it a little more naturally than before, at the beginning I was a little frightened.  But I do these thing, it comes into my mind that I must not make a mistake so as not to do wrong to the people in these things. A little that way.

Q. The Pope has come from the end of the world and lives in the Vatican. Beyond Santa Marta about which you have talked to us, about your life and your choices. How does the Pope live in the Vatican?   Theyíre always asking us: ďWhat does he do?  How does he move about? Does he go for a walk?   They have seen that you went to the canteen and surprise us.   What kind of life do you lead in Santa Marta, besides work?

A.  I try to be free.  There are work and office appointments, but then life for me, the most normal life I can do.  Really,  Iíd like to go out but itís not possible, itís not possible, because if you go out people will come to you.  Thatís the reality. Inside Santa Marta I lead the normal life of work, of rest, chatting and so on.

Q.  Donít you feel like a prisoner?

A. At the beginning yes, but now some walls have fallen. For example, before it was said but the Pope canít do this or this.  Iíll give you an example to make you laugh.  When I would go into the lift, someone  would come in there suddenly because the Pope cannot go in the lift alone. So I said, you go to your place and Iíll go in the lift by myself. Itís normality.

Q.  Iím sorry Father, but I have to ask you this question as a member of the Spanish language group of which Argentina is a part.   Your team Ė San Lorenzo, won the championship of America for the first time this week. I want to know how you are living this, how you are celebrating.  I hear that a delegation are bringing the cup to the public audience on Wednesday, and that you will receive them in the public audience.

A. After Brazil got the second place, itís good news. I learned about it here. They told me in Seoul. And they told me, theyíre coming on Wednesday. Itís a public audience and they will be there. For me San Lorenzo is the team, all my family were supporters of it.  My Dad played basketball at San Lorenzo; he was a player in the basketball team. And as children we went with him, and Mama also came with us to the Gazometer.  Today the team of í46 was a great team and won the championship. I live it  with joy.  Not a miracle, no!

Q.   Thereís been talk for a long time about an encyclical on ecology. Could you tell us when it will be published, and what are the key points?

A.  I have talked a lot about this encyclical with Cardinal Turkson, and also with other people. And I asked Cardinal Turkson to gather all the input that have arrived, and four days before the trip, Cardinal Turkson brought me the first draft. Itís as thick as this. Iíd say itís about a third longer than Evangelii Gaudium.  Itís the first draft.  Itís not an easy question because  on the custody of creation, and ecology, also human ecology,one can talk with a certain security up to a certain point, but then the scientific hypotheses come, some sufficiently secure, others not. And in an encyclical like this, which has to be magisterial,  one can only go forward on the things that are sure, the things that are secure. If the Pope says the centre of the universe is the earth and not the sun, heís wrong because he says a thing that is scientifically not right. Thatís what happens now. So we have to do the study now, number by number, and I believe it will become smaller. But going to the essentials, to that which one can affirm with security.  One can say, in footnotes, that on this there is this and that hypothesis,  to say it as information but not in the body of an encyclical that is doctrinal. It has to be secure.

Q. Thank you so much on your visit to South Korea. Iím going to ask you two questions. The first one is this: just before the final mass at the cathedral you consoled some comfort women there, what thought occurred to you? And my second question , Pyongyang sees Christianity as a direct threat to its regime and its leadership and we know that some terrible thing happened to North Korean Christianity but we donít know exactly what happened.  Is there any special approach in your mind to change North Koreaís approach to North Koreaís Christianity?

A. On the first question I repeat this. Today, the women were  there  and despite all they suffered they have dignity, they showed their face.  I think, as  I said a short time ago, of the suffering of the war, of the cruelty of the one who wages war.  These women were exploited, the were enslaved, all this is cruelty.  I thought of all this, and of the dignity that they have and also how much they suffered.  And suffering is an inheritance.  The early fathers of the Church said the blood of the martyrs if the seed of Christians. You Koreans have sown much, much,  and out of coherence one now sees the fruit of that seed of the martyrs.

About North Korea, I know it is a suffering, and one I know for sure, there are many relatives that cannot come together, thatís a suffering, but it a suffering of that division of the country.   Today in the cathedral when I put on the vestments for mass there was a gift that they gave me, it was a crown of the thorns of Christ made from the iron wire that divides the two parts of the one Korea. We are now taking it with us on the plane, itís a gift that I take, the suffering of division, of a divided family,  but as I said yesterday, I canít remember exactly, but talking to the bishops, I said we have  a hope: the two Koreas are brothers, and they speak the same language. They speak the same language because they have the same mother, and that gives us hope.   The suffering of the division is great, I understand that and I pray that it ends.

Q.  As an Italo American I want to compliment you for your English, you should have no fear, and if you wish to do some practice before you go to America, my second homeland, I am willing to help. My question is this: You have spoken about martyrdom. At what stage is the process for the cause of Archbishop Romero.   And what would you like to come out of this process?

A.  The process was blocked in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ď for prudenceĒ, it was said.  Now it is unblocked and it is in the Congregation for Saints and follows the normal path of a process. It depends on how the postulators move, itís very important to move in haste.

What I would like is to have clarified when there is martyrdom in Ďodium fideií (out of hate for the faith),  whether it is for confessing the credo or  for performing the works that Jesus commands us to do  for our neighbor. This is a work of theologians that is being studied.  Because behind him (Romero), there is Rutillio Grande and there are others.  There are other that were also killed but are not at the same height as Romero. This has to be distinguished theologically. For me, Romero is a man of God.   He was a man of God but there has to be the process, and the Lord will have to give his sign (of approval). But if He wishes, He will do so!   The postulators must move now because there are no impediments.

Q.  Given what has happened in Gaza, was the Prayer for Peace held in the Vatican on June 8 a failure?

A.   That prayer for peace was absolutely not a failure.  First of all, the initiative did not come from me. The initiative to pray together came from two presidents: the President of the State of Israel and the President of the State of Palestine. They make known to me this unease, then we wanted to hold it there (in the Holy Land),  but we couldnít find the right place because the political cost for each one was very high if they went to the other side. The Nunciature was a neutral place, but to arrive at the nunciature the President of Palestine would have had to enter in Israel, so the thing was not easy.  Then they said to me, let us do it in the Vatican, we will come.  These two men are men of peace, they are men who believe in God, and they have lived through many ugly things, they are convinced that they only way to resolve the situation there is through dialogue, negotiation, and peace.

You ask me, was it a failure?  No, the door remains open.  All four, the two Presidents and Bartholomew I,  I wanted him here as the ecumenical patriarch of Orthodoxy,  it was good that he was with us, the door of prayer was opened. And it was said we must pray, peace is a gift of God,. It is a gift but we merit it with our work. And to say to humanity that the path of dialogue is important, negotiation is important, but there is also that of prayer.  Then after that, we saw what happened. But it was just a matter of coincidence. That encounter for prayer was not conjuncture. It is a fundamental step of the human attitude, now the smoke of the bombs and the war do not let one see the door, but the door was left open from that moment.  And as I believe in God, I look at that door and the many who pray and who ask that He helps us. I liked that question.  Thank you!


General Audience:  On Francis' Visit to Korea
"Christ does not abolish what is good, but carries it on, and brings it to fruition."

VATICAN CITY, August 20, 2014  - Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave at this morning's General Audience in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican:


Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

A few days ago, I made an Apostolic Visit to Korea and now, together with you, I thank the Lord for this great gift. I was able to visit a young and dynamic Church, founded on the witness of the martyrs and animated by a missionary spirit in a country where ancient Asian cultures and the perennial newness of the Gospel meet - both of them meet. 

I would again like to express my gratitude to my dear brother Bishops of Korea, the Lady President of the Republic, to the other authorities and to all those who contributed to my visit.

The significance of this apostolic journey can be condensed into three words: memory, hope, testimony.

The Republic of Korea is a country that has had a remarkable and rapid economic development. Its people are hardworking, disciplined, ordered and have maintained the strength inherited from their ancestors.

In this situation, the Church is the guardian of memory and hope: it is a spiritual family in which adults convey to young people the torch of faith received from the elderly; the memory of the witnesses of the past becomes the new testimony in the present and hope for the future. In this perspective, you can note the two main events of this trip: the beatification of 124 Korean Martyrs, in addition to those already canonized 30 years ago by St. John Paul II; and the meeting with the young people, on the occasion of the Sixth Asian Youth Day.

A young person is always looking for something that makes life worth living, and the martyr bears witness to something, indeed, of Someone for whom it is worth giving one's life. This reality is Love, it is God, who took flesh in Jesus, Witness of the Father. In the two highlights of the trip for young people, the Spirit of the Risen Lord has filled us with joy and hope, that young people will bring in their countries and that they will do so much good!

The Church in Korea also preserves the memory of the primary role that the laity had both at the dawn of the faith, and in the work of evangelization. In that land, in fact, the Christian community was not founded by missionaries, but by a group of young Koreans in the second half of 1700, who were fascinated by some Christian texts, studied them thoroughly and chose them as a rule of life. One of them was sent to Beijing to be baptized, and then, in turn, his friends. From that first group developed a large community, which from the beginning and for about a century, suffered violent persecution, with thousands of martyrs. Therefore, the Church in Korea is founded on faith, on missionary efforts and martyrdom of lay faithful.

The first Korean Christians intended themselves to be as a model of the apostolic community of Jerusalem, practicing brotherly love which transcends all social difference. So I encouraged todayís Christians to be generous in sharing with the poor and the excluded, according to the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25: "Whatever you did to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me "(v. 40).

Dear brothers, in the history of the faith in Korea, Christ does not cancel cultures, Christ does not cancel cultures. He doesnít suppress the progress of the people who, through the centuries and millennia, seek truth and practice love for God and neighbor. Christ does not abolish what is good, but carries it on, and brings it to fruition.

However, who Christ fights and defeats is the evil one, who sows discord between man and man, between nation and nation; who generates exclusion because of idolatry of money; who sows poison into the hearts of young people. Yes, Jesus Christ has fought and won him with his sacrifice of love. And if we remain in Him, in His love, we too, like the martyrs, can live and witness his victory. With this faith, we prayed, and even now we pray that all the children of the land of Korea, who suffer the consequences of wars and divisions, are able to make a journey of brotherhood and reconciliation.

This trip was illuminated by the feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. From above, from where Christ reigns, the Mother of the Church accompanies the journey of God's people, supporting even the most tiring steps, comforting those who are undergoing trials and keeping open the horizon of hope. Through her maternal intercession, may the Lord always bless the Korean people, the gifts of peace and prosperity; and bless the Church in this land, because it is always fruitful and full of the joy of the Gospel. Thank you.


English Summary of Pope's Audience on Visit to Korea
"The significance of my visit can be summed up in three words: memory, witness and hope"

By Staff Reporter

VATICAN CITY, August 20, 2014  - Here is the English-language summary of Pope Francis' General Audience of today:


Dear Brothers and Sisters: 

My recent apostolic journey to Korea enabled me to visit a young and dynamic Church filled with missionary zeal, a point of encounter between ancient Asian cultures and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The significance of my visit can be summed up in three words: memory, witness and hope.  As a guardian of memory and hope, the Church passes on the torch of faith received from the past, bears witness to it in the present and draws from it hope for the future.  This was clearly seen in the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs and in the celebration of the Sixth Asian Youth Day, which brought together young Catholics from throughout the continent.  The Church took root in Korea and grew largely because of lay people, who saw the attractiveness of the Gospel and sought to live like the first Christians, in equal dignity and solidarity with the poor.  May the Korean people continue to grow in faith and love, overcome every division and look forward to a future of reconciliation and hope.

I offer an affectionate greeting to the young altar servers from Malta, and I thank them for their faithful service in Saint Peterís Basilica this past month.  Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in todayís Audience, including those from the United Kingdom and Japan, I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord Jesus. God bless you!