The archbishop of Seoul in South Korea called for “genuine forgiveness, reconciliation, and self-reflection” during an annual forum over the weekend.
Archbishop Peter Chung of Seoul said “genuine forgiveness, reconciliation, and self-reflection is needed more than at any time in history” at the Korean Peninsula Peace-Sharing Forum 2022 on November 26.
The forum, which carried the theme “Peace Awareness of the Catholic Church and Its Role for the Reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula,” brought together priests, activists, and scholars from around the world.
In his speech, Archbishop Chung expressed deep regrets for the rising tensions in the peninsula, saying, “No interest or political relationship should prohibit interfaith dialogue and exchanges.”
The Catholic Church has been organizing the seminar every year since 2016 in the South Korean capital, bringing together experts to reflect on the “path of peace” on the divided peninsula.
A report on AsiaNews noted that the meeting came “at time of rising tensions between the two Koreas, with North Korea carrying out more missile tests while the South Korean and US navies conduct joint military exercises.
Archbishop Chung, who is also apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, said he was “deeply regretful about the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.”
He expressed hope that the meeting would provide “an opportunity to reaffirm the teaching of Pope Francis” on interfaith dialogue.
The prelate said the Archdiocese of Seoul seeks “to keep alive” the call of Pope Francis to the Korean Church in August 2014 when “prayed for inter-Korean dialogue.”
During his visit to Seoul, the pontiff recommended that more humanitarian assistance be provided for the people of North Korea.
In his address, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, apostolic nuncio to Seoul, said the Holy See “does not fail to support Korea in its deepest aspirations, starting with the process of reconciliation and prosperity of the entire Korean Peninsula.”
Citing the speech made by Pope Francis at the recent congress of religious leaders in Kazakhstan, Archbishop Xuereb noted that peace “springs from fraternity, grows through struggle against injustice and inequality, and is built by reaching out to others.”
Kim Dae-hyeon, director of the Religious Affairs Office at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea, read a message from the government, expressing hope that initiatives, such as the forum, can “enhance understanding of the two Koreas and the international situation, and actively discuss the blossoming of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.” – with a report from AsiaNews