On August 4th, the Pope met with over 50,000 altar servers from Germany who came to see him in St. Peter's Square. The Pope called on the youth to not let technology distract them from life.
"Many children and young adults waste so much time on hollow things: Chatting on the internet, playing with the cell phone, seeing soap operas. High tech products are meant to make life simple and to improve the quality of life. But often, they distract us from what's really important.”
However, the highlight of the month was the Pope's long awaited visit to South Korea. With tensions continuing to mount between North and South Korea, many anticipated a word of peace and reconciliation.
"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.”
Two days into his visit, Pope Francis presided over the beatification of Paul Yun-Ji-Chung and another 123 martyrs who were killed during the height of the country's religious persecution in the 18th and 19th century. The event saw the participation of more than 1 million people.
During his homily, Pope Francis recalled the example of the martyrs as call to contribute to peace in the Korean peninsula.
"The legacy of the martyrs can inspire all men and women of good will to work in harmony for a more just, free and reconciled society, thus contributing to peace and the protection of authentically human values in this country and in our world.”
The Pope also provided comfort to grieving families who lost loved ones in the tragic Sewol ferry boat accident. While greeting the faithful in his Popemobile, he stopped to greet the families who were there protesting for the government to open an investigation into the tragedy.
On the final day of his visit, the Pope celebrated a Mass for Peace and Reconciliation in Seoul's Cathedral. He called on the faithful to follow the Gospel in order to obtain harmony in the two Koreas.
"The Gospel calls you, as Christians and Koreans, firmly to reject a mindset shaped by suspicion, confrontation and competition, and instead to shape a culture formed by the teaching of the Gospel and the noblest traditional values of the Korean people.”
On his return flight from South Korea, the Pope gave a candid press conference in which he called on the international community to defend Christians from the threat of the Islamic State.
"It is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor. I want to underline the verb: stop. I don't say bomb or start a war, but stop! The means by which that happens, need to be evaluated.”
Although the Pope spends his time comforting those who are suffering, unfortunately he is not immune to tragedy.
Three relatives of Pope Francis died on two days after his return from South Korea in a car crash in Argentina. During his General Audience that week, the Pope expressed his appreciation for the prayers for his family.
"I too have a family. We were five siblings and I have 16 nieces and nephews. One of my nephews was involved in the car crash. His wife died and so did their two children: One was 2 years old, the other just a few months. My nephew is in critical condition. Thank you for your condolences and prayers.”
The Pope ended the month, continuing his mission of sharing in the sufferings of people particularly in the Middle East.
He met with Fr. Jorge Hernandez, an Argentinian missionary working in Gaza during the Israeli campaign against Palestine.
Pope Francis invited him to the Vatican to hear first hand accounts of what locals are dealing with, including the aftermath the destruction has left behind.