World looking to religious leaders for leadership

When Pope Francis and the Korean Council of Religious Leaders met in the Vatican on Saturday, he told them the world was looking for leadership from religious leaders.

“…the world is looking to us; it asks us to work together and with all men and women of good will,” Francis said.

The representatives came from the seven main religious groups on the Korean peninsula. They were in Rome for an interfaith pilgrimage, amid growing tensions between North Korea and the United States.

Stressing the importance of inter-religious dialogue directed towards a future of peace and hope, Francis told the leaders it would involve “contacts, encounters and cooperation, a challenge directed towards the common good and peace…[and]…must always be both open and respectful if it is to be fruitful.”

One of the leaders was Archbishop Igino Kim Hee-joong, is the president of the Korean Bishops’ Conference.

Asking the pope to pray for peace and to help the Korean people was their main reason for visiting him, he said.

The group had decided to appeal to him to help them as they “seek peace not with weapons or sanctions but through dialogue, negotiation and mutual respect at all costs.”

Aligning himself with the leaders in response to their appeal, Francis told them the world was looking “to us for answers and a shared commitment to various issues.”

Francis said these issues include the:

  • Sacred dignity of the human person
  • Hunger and poverty which still afflict too many peoples
  • Rejection of violence, in particular, that violence which profanes the name of God and desecrates religion
  • Corruption that gives rise to injustice, moral decay,
  • Crisis of the family, of the economy
  • (not least of all) a crisis of hope.



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