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Thursday, February 15, 2007


VATICAN CITY, FEB 15, 2007 (VIS) - During the course of his meeting today in the Vatican with Roh Moo-hyun, president of the Republic of Korea, the Pope gave his guest a Letter, written in English, in which he affirms that the visit "serves to strengthen the good relations that exist between [Korea] and the Holy See," and that it "is also a clear sign of [the president's] esteem for the Catholic Church.

  "I would ask you," the Holy Father adds, "to convey my affectionate greetings to the people of Korea, and to assure them of my prayers for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and throughout the region.

  "For over fifty years, the Korean people have suffered the consequences of division. Families have been split, close relatives have been separated from one another. ... I pray for a speedy solution to the problem which impedes so many from communicating with one another."

  Pope Benedict's Letter continues: "Sadly, the modem world is marked by an increasing number of threats to the dignity of human life. I wish therefore to commend all those in your country who work to uphold and defend the sanctity of life, marriage and the family, areas in which, as you know, the Catholic Church in Korea is particularly active.

  "The risk of a nuclear arms race in the region is a further source of concern, fully shared by the Holy See. I urge all interested parties to make every effort to resolve the present tensions through peaceful means and to refrain from any gesture or initiative that might endanger the negotiations, while ensuring that the most vulnerable part of the North Korean population has access to humanitarian aid."

  "Your country," the Holy Father concludes, "has experienced remarkable economic growth in recent times. ... At the same time, I am conscious that not all citizens are yet able to benefit fully from this increased prosperity. I therefore urge your government to work in harmony with all those who seek to promote the common good and social justice."
AC/KOREA/MOO-HYUN                        VIS 20070215 (350)

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