The Pope's first meeting in South Korea was with the president and civil authorities of the country. The welcoming ceremony took place in the "Blue House”, the South Korean Presidential Palace.
After the welcoming address of the president, Francis gave his first speech in South Korea in English.
The Pope focused on peace and reconciliation.
"I can only express my appreciation for the efforts being made in favor of reconciliation and stability on the Korean peninsula, and to encourage those efforts, for they are the only sure path to lasting peace. 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.”
He explained that peace is not only the "absence of war” but also a "work of justice” and called for
efforts to achieve it.
"May all of us dedicate these days to peace, to praying for it and deepening our resolve to achieve it.”
During his visit, Francis will meet with youth and will beatify 124 Korean martyrs. The Pope recalled the importance of the elderly in Korean culture. He also said it was necessary to transmit to youth this link with the past.
"We Catholics honor our elders who were martyred for the faith because they were willing to give their lives for the truth which they had come to believe and by which they sought to live their lives. They teach us how to live fully for God and for the good of one another. I think it is especially important for us to reflect on the need to give our young people the gift of peace.”
Lastly, Francis reminded the Korean authorities of the importance of "listening to the voice of each member of society”, especially the poor and the vulnerable, to be a leader in the "globalization of solidarity.”