For Korea, for St. Louis, for the World

A few words about peace from Pope Francis, upon landing in Korea:

The quest for peace also represents a challenge for each of us, and in a particular way for those of you dedicated to the pursuit of the common good of the human family through the patient work of diplomacy. It is the perennial challenge of breaking down the walls of distrust and hatred by promoting a culture of reconciliation and solidarity. For diplomacy, as the art of the possible, is based on the firm and persevering conviction that peace can be won through quiet listening and dialogue, rather than by mutual recriminations, fruitless criticisms and displays of force.

Peace is not simply the absence of war, but “the work of justice” (cf. Is 32:17). And justice, as a virtue, calls for the discipline of forbearance; it demands that we not forget past injustices but overcome them through forgiveness, tolerance and cooperation. It demands the willingness to discern and attain mutually beneficial goals, building foundations of mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation. May all of us dedicate these days to peace, to praying for it and deepening our resolve to achieve it.

Americans, frankly, have some detachment from Korea. It’s a key example of our indifference in a globalized world — our lack of interest in the plight of North Koreans. The pope’s visit not only has the opportunity to shine a light there, as well as inspire us with the vitality of South Korea’s small but growing Catholic population, but also connect us, as members of the Body of Christ to them, and see in their witness and testimony universal principles for faith, hope, and love, and, yes, peace, born, for our part, of Christians knowing Christ and living that — in Him.

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