North Korean Catholics will not be attending the Pope's Mass in South Korea. Though it was believed that a group of North Korean Catholics would go across the border to attend the Pope's Mass in Seoul, the invitation has apparently been denied.
Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass of Reconciliation on the final day of his apostolic visit to South Korea in the Myeondong Cathedral.
However, the day of the Mass coincides with a joint South Korean-US military drill, which North Korea "condemned as a rehearsal for nuclear war.”
A letter sent by the North Korean Catholic Association stated that: "Under these circumstances, going to Seoul would be an agonizing step.”
Although the Catholic Church is not straight out banned in North Korea, a recent report by the UN stated that religious believers are severely persecuted in the country. By contrast, the rate of Catholics in South Korea, has seen a sharp rise in the last decade. The Pope's visit will take place from August 14th to the 18th.