On interreligious trip to visit Pope Francis, one South Korea bishop says he's hoping that the dictator to the north might one day choose a new path
When you are in the shadow of a dictator who is developing the power to obliterate the entire world, there’s not much you can do but hope — and pray — for his conversion.
And that’s what the leader of South Korea’s episcopal Justice and Peace Commission is doing.
Bishop Lazare You Heung-Sik of Daejeon was with seven other religious leaders of the peninsula for a visit to Pope Francis last weekend, styled as an “interreligious pilgrimage of peace.” He spoke with Vatican Insider about the trip, and about his hopes that the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “can convert.”
Kim Jong-un “needs to know that our doors are open,” the bishop declared. “We are brothers; we are one people.”
The South Korean episcopal leader said he hopes the dictator might choose a “new path towards peaceful coexistence and reconciliation with the South.”
“We hope that the words and spiritual strength” of Korean spiritual leaders and of Pope France can inspire in the Korean people a “desire to follow a path of meetings, cooperation and dialogue, not armed conflict,” he added.
In his official address to the delegation, Pope Francis spoke about interreligious dialogue as a path to peace:
We have, therefore, a long journey ahead of us, which must be undertaken together with humility and perseverance, not just by raising our voices but by rolling up our sleeves, to sow the hope of a future in which humanity becomes more human, a future which heeds the cry of so many who reject war and implore greater harmony between individuals and communities, between peoples and states.
Religious leaders are thus called upon to initiate, promote and accompany processes for the welfare and reconciliation of all people: we are called to be heralds of peace, proclaiming and embodying a nonviolent style, a style of peace, with words clearly different from the narrative of fear, and with gestures opposed to the rhetoric of hatred.
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