The South Korean president: "We are paving the way for a noble effort, which will ensure a peaceful future for the Korean peninsula and the whole world". Moon praises the role of the Church in the history of the country: " During the dark hours of colonization, division, war and dictatorship, it stood tall to shed light on human dignity and justice, as well as the path of peace and love".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in expresses "deep gratitude to Pope Francis and the Holy See for providing great encouragement and hope to the two Koreas" on their path of reconciliation. In Europe for a series of official visits, Moon took part in the Mass for peace on the Korean peninsula, celebrated last night in St. Peter's Basilica by Card. Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State. The president was joined by his wife, a large group of Korean faithful, about a hundred priests and missionaries, some bishops and many representatives of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See. We propose below the full text of the speech given by the South Korean president. (Translated by AsiaNews).
His Eminence Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State,
It is my great pleasure to be here at St. Peter’s basilica, the home of Catholic faith, to meet you all and attend this Holy Mass.
On behalf of the Korean people, I would like to express my profound gratitude to Cardinal Parolin for personally celebrating this Special Mass for Peace on the Korean Peninsula, as well as all the staff here at the Holy See who have extended warm hospitality and prepared this meaningful event.
Half a century ago, on October 6, 1968, 24 Korean martyrs were beatified here in this Basilica of St. Peter.
For the first time, prayers and hymns in Korean resounded in this great cathedral.
The Korean faithful numbering 500 shed tears of joy.
Up until today, Korea has produced 103 martyrs, which is the fourth largest number in the world, behind Italy, Spain and France.
At the homily that day, Pope Paul the 6th challenged people to emulate the great example of the Korean church.
He pointed out that, in the global history of the Catholic church, Korea is a unique case in the sense that the church movement started after people had a direct encounter with the word of God before the missionaries came.
This was a great honor bestowed upon the Catholic church in Korea.
The Catholic church in Korea embraced the down and out and emulated the life of Jesus in the form of a social calling.
During the dark hours of colonization, division, war and dictatorship, it stood tall to shed light on human dignity and justice, as well as the path of peace and love.
The priests and the laity in Korea stood by the weak and the persecuted within the society.
At times, they took to the streets to stand for democracy and human rights.
I myself have served as a member of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace as well as the Commission for Human Rights for a long time.
I’m immensely proud of this fact.
Having witnessed the dedication of the Catholic Church for democracy, human rights and welfare, the Korean people came to respect the Catholic faith as an exemplary religion.
I hope glory shines upon the Catholic church.
Right now on the Korean Peninsula, historic and heartwarming changes are taking place.
In September, Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea and I adopted the Pyongyang Joint Declaration.
We vowed to end military confrontation between the two Koreas and declared a peaceful Korean Peninsula that is free from nuclear weapons and threats in front of the whole world.
Thus far, the two Koreas have been implementing the agreements one at a time. We are withdrawing weapons and guard posts from the demilitarized zone.
We are also conducting demining operations.
The West Sea, where armed conflicts brewed in the past, has now become the sea of peace and cooperation.
The United States and North Korea have also ended the 70 year-long hostile relations and have sat down together.
Just as Pope Francis had prayed ahead of the U.S-North Korea Summit, we are blazing the trail for a noble endeavor that will secure the future of peace for the Korean Peninsula and the whole world.
During the harsh winter of 2017, the Korean people carried the candles in the most beautiful and peaceful way to safeguard democracy and light the new way forward.
The path of peace that began from the candlelight revolution became the driving force of a miraculous turnaround.
The Holy See dispatched a delegation to the opening ceremony of the Pyongchang Olympic Winter Games and provided strong support to peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Pope Francis blessed our journey towards peace and walked together with us through his prayers.
I would like to once again express my profound gratitude to Pope Francis and the Holy See for providing great encouragement and hope to the Korean nation as a whole and the two Koreas that desire peace and are currently recovering the sense of brotherhood.
His Eminence Cardinal Parolin,
The love for humankind that Christianity and the European civilization helped blossom transcended time and space to provide encouragement to the Korean Peninsula.
The spirit of inclusiveness and solidarity embodied by the European Union is providing inspiration to our journey towards permanent peace on the Peninsula.
The history that humankind has been writing so far is a regrettable one permeated with stories of war.
The declaration to end the war on the Korean Peninsula and the signing of a peace treaty will be akin to dissolving the last remaining Cold War regime on the earth.
As written in the book of Psalms, love and truth will meet, and justice and peace will embrace each other in a kiss now on the Korean Peninsula.
The prayers we have offered for peace on the Korean Peninsula at the St. Peter’s Basilica today will also resound as echoes of hope in the hearts of the people of the two Koreas as well as the people of the whole world who desire peace.
This will be a source of great strength for our people who long for peace. Our prayers today will turn into reality for sure.
We will achieve peace and overcome division without fail.
I pray for peace for each one of you.