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Rome Reports

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South Korean bishop: Pope's visit to North Korea would be gigantic step toward peace

Having a South Korean bishop at the press conference discussing the synod created a great excitement in the wake of the announcement that North Korean leader, Kim-Jong-un, wants to invite Pope Francis to visit his country.

On Thursday, October 18, the pope will receive South Korean President Moon-Jae-in, who will bring Kim-Jong-un's invitation along.

For the Bishop of Daejeon, a papal visit to North Korea would mean opening the country to the world. It would also leave an indelible mark.

Bishop of Daejeon (South Korea)

"Until last year, everyone thought a war was going to break out in Korea. Yet this year, with this breath of the Holy Spirit, the situation has changed 180 degrees. This new relationship between the two Koreas was born with the Olympic Games in February 2018. Then came the meeting with our presidents. It was a success. I watched the television and laughed and cried. I don't know how to explain it. If the pope were there, it would be a gigantic step. It would be a qualitative step for the pacification of the Korean peninsula. Therefore North Korea could enter the world as a normal nation."

It would be strictly a pastoral visit. However, in North Korea there is no religious freedom, nor is the exact number of Christians known.

Pope Francis wants to travel to Japan in 2019, so at least from a logistical point of view, visiting North Korea shouldn't be too difficult.