Cardinal Lazzaro You Heung-sik said Saturday that Pope Francis has sent a message of peace for the Korean Peninsula, which will be announced on the 70th armistice anniversary of the 1950-53 Korean War.
You, who serves as prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy of the Holy See, said he visited South Korea for a vacation with the pope's handwritten message hoping for peace on the Korean Peninsula, which will be revealed during a Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral on July 27.
"It deeply troubles me that the painful memories of the Korean War still divide us clearly into two sides without any room for common ground, logic or reason," You said during a press conference at Myeongdong Cathedral in downtown Seoul.
"We need to overcome this tragedy quickly and strive for peaceful coexistence on the Korean Peninsula. I truly hope that we can engage in dialogue and find a resolution soon," he added.
When asked about the possibility of Pope Francis' visit to North Korea, the 71-year-old You said Vatican officials have been making efforts since the pope expressed his desire to visit the reclusive country but there hasn't been any progress.
"Until now, there haven't been any clear indications from North Korea. Nonetheless, the pope continues to make efforts and that is why I believe the 70th armistice anniversary is very important," You said.
The two Koreas still remain technically at war as the three-year conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.
It was You's second visit to his home country since he became the first South Korean to be appointed to a secretary position at the Vatican in June 2021.
In May 2022, he was named as the fourth Korean cardinal after the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, the late Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk and Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung.
An interview-based book about his life and thoughts about the Catholic Church was published in Italy under the title of "Come la folgore viene da Oriente" (Like the Thunderbolt from the East), and its Korean edition was released earlier this month.
Source: Yonhap News Agency