In what could be seen as his strongest public statement and action of his Pontificate thus far, the Vatican yesterday announced that Pope Francis will offer prayers during his upcoming visit to South Korea at a cemetery for aborted babies at a home for the sick called Kkottoghnae. The home that the Holy Father will visit caters in a special way to disabled people, those addicted to alcohol, and the mentally ill homeless. The Papal trip to South Korea begins this coming Thursday.
In advance of his apostolic journey, Pope Francis sent a video message to the country, particularly to the Catholics of the Republic of Korea, yesterday. “It is the Lord who invites you to receive his light, to welcome it in the heart, to reflect it in a life full of faith, of hope and of love, full of the joy of the Gospel,” the Pope said. The Holy Father said that he will “bring the Lord’s call, particularly to the youth. The youth are bearers of hope and of energy for the future, but they are also victims of the moral and spiritual crisis of our time,” the Holy Father said. “Because of this I would like to announce to them and to everyone the only name through which we can be saved: Jesus, the Lord.”
Pope Francis also reminded the Korean people of who has preserved Christianity in their land, saying “faith in Christ has made deep roots in your land and has brought abundant fruits. The elderly are custodians of this legacy: without them the youth would be deprived of memory,” the Holy Father stated. “The encounter between elderly and youth is a guarantee of the people's journey, and the Church is the big family in which all of us are brothers in Christ,” Pope Francis said. “I come to you in His name, in the joy of sharing with you the Gospel of love and of hope,” the Bishop of Rome said as he closed his remarks. The Church in Korea remains a minority faith, founded on martyrs’ blood and the evangelistic zeal of its clergy, going from less than one percent of the population of the country in the 1960’s to around 11 percent today.