Cardinal Pietro Parolin sends video message to participants of annual Korean peace summit.
Peace is the “promotion of what unites us,” Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said in a video message to the Korea Global Forum for Peace organized by the South Korean Ministry for the Unification of Korea held August 31 to September 1, 2021. This event is held annually to discuss the themes of peace and the unification of the Korean Peninsula.
In his speech, Cardinal Parolin warned against the risk of building a “negative peace”, a simple “non-belligerence” or the absence of war.
According to him, peace should rather be understood in positive terms, “as the promotion of what unites.” “You could say that peace is friendship,” he insisted. Peace in fact “cannot be reduced to the maintenance of a balance of power between opposing parties, nor does it arise from a despotic regime.”
“There is no peace without forgiveness!”
A “firm determination” to respect the dignity of other individuals and other peoples, as well as the deliberate practice of cordiality, are absolutely necessary to achieve peace, affirmed the high-ranking prelate. After all, peace also depends on friendship and benevolence, understood—he said, quoting Confucius—as not wanting to impose on others what you do not want for yourself. This principle comes close to the Christian precept “you will love your neighbor as yourself,” emphasized the Italian cardinal.
Cardinal Parolin then introduced the concept of “forgiveness”: “Both parties must agree to be reconciled and to receive forgiveness from the other …” because “there is no peace without forgiveness!” For the Secretary of State, “only a humanity in which the ‘civilization of love’ reigns can enjoy genuine and lasting peace.”
The fate of the Korean Peninsula is of particular concern to the Holy See. In November 2020, the Sovereign Pontiff reaffirmed his desire to participate actively in the peace process between the two Koreas and to contribute to the stability of the region. Since then, he has repeatedly expressed his wish to visit North Korea. Last June, the Sovereign Pontiff appointed for the first time a South Korean to the Curia in the person of Bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.