During his trip, Pope Francis built on the theme of reconciliation, coupling it with calls for forgiveness and inclusiveness, especially keeping in mind the poor and marginalized of society.
Seoul, South Korea
Hundreds of Catholic faithful and non-Catholic admirers of Pope Francis braved the pouring rain to try to get a glimpse of him outside his final Mass before he left South Korea.
On a street in the popular shopping district of Myongdong, in downtown Seoul, people jostled each other with umbrellas. A video monitor was set up, but it faced just one side of the block. The bystanders were all hoping for a glimpse of Pope Francis at the end of the Mass Monday for peace and reconciliation, when he was expected to pass by in a covered vehicle in the downpour.
“It’s really all about money,” Sacred Heart Korea Provincial Sr. Kim Young Ae, said. “It’s the worship of money.”
She spoke with both anger and contempt as she pointed upward, standing in front of a tall modern looking building erected just 230 meters from the Sacred Heart Girls High School.
The problem is not the building. The problem is what the building is being used for – to house the offices of the Korea Racing Authority, three floors of which will be used for off-track betting on horse racing.
The legacy of the Korean martyrs should inspire us to work in harmony "for a more just, free and reconciled society," Pope Francis said Saturday.
"You are brothers who speak the same language. When you speak the same language in a family, there is also a human hope."
Celebrating Mass before some 50,000 people, Pope Francis prayed that Christian values overcome demoralization in economically successful societies.
"The hope held out by the Gospel is the antidote to the spirit of despair that seems to grow like cancer in societies which are outwardly affluent yet often experience inner sadness and emptiness," the pope said Friday in his homily at the World Cup Stadium in Daejeon.
South Korean police cordoned off and confronted the man most widely seen as the soul of the vulnerable and voiceless of South Korea.
A rally in downtown Seoul drew tens of thousands Friday. On the edge of the plaza, a makeshift art exhibit, featuring paintings and photographs, was wet up to commemorate those who died in the April 16 Sewol ferry sinking. Much of the art has come from the creative hands of children.
An estimated 2,000 Korean protesters packed the street in front of the Japanese embassy here Tuesday, again calling upon the Japanese government to formally apologize for forcing tens of thousands of Korean women, some reportedly as young as the age of 12, into sexual slavery during World War II.
For more than an hour, speaker after speaker, including the president of the committee for peace and justice in the Seoul archdiocese, Fr. Andrew Park Dong-ho, cried out for the Japanese government to acknowledge wrongdoing, to apologize and to compensate the women.
"Korea's 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."