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Pope Francis in Korea: Reconciliation is Not Sentimental or Shallow

August 29, 2014

Before departing South Korea after his visit last week, during worship, Pope Francis made a prophetic call to reconciliation (see full text). His homily made profound connections between peace and prayer, Jesus’ call to radical conversion and forgiveness (“impractical and at times repugnant”), resistance to social competition, active concern for the marginalized, and the power of the cross of Christ. The divide between North and South Korea is not natural or acceptable, he said. A few excerpts:

“Today’s Mass is first and foremost a prayer for reconciliation in this Korean family.”

“God’s 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.”

Pope offers condolences to Korean women forced into sexual slavery.

Pope offers condolences to Korean women forced into sexual slavery.

“This 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.”

“In obedience to [Jesus’ command to forgive 70 times 7] weask 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.”

“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.”

”Becoming a guardian of justice means achieving solidarity with the people who live on the margins of society to make manifest our prophetic witness,” the pope said. “The Catholic Church has prospered in Korea. However, since the priests are living in the middle of a very secular and materialistic society, they are tempted to adopt lifestyles and patterns of thinking that imitate secular standards and corporate efficiency.”

See full text of homily.

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