[top10]Pope brings solace on historic trip to Korea“Pope syndrome,” as local media dubbed it, swept the country this summer with Pontiff Francis’s first historic visit to Korea from Aug. 14 to 18.
While the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, stressed that the pope’s five-day journey was strictly a religious mission, onlookers ascribed political meaning to his actions and comments.
During his stay, the head of the Roman Catholic Church met with several Korean people who were at the core of social conflict, including “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery by Japan in World War II, relatives of the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster, and Ssangyong Motor’s laid-off workers.
He also expressed hope that the divided Korean Peninsula would eventually become whole again.
A highlight of the trip was the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs at Gwanghwamun Square, central Seoul, on Aug. 16.
The open Mass dedicated to reconciliation and peace epitomized the pope’s efforts to embrace and console the weak and suffering.