TPO – South Korea’s intelligence chief said it was arranging for Pope Francis to visit North Korea, a news agency with ties to the Vatican said.
No pope has ever visited North Korea before. The Northeast Asian country has not yet allowed any priest to reside permanently. Little is known about the number of Koreans who are Catholic or how they practice the religion.
Fides, the news agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies, said that Park Jie-won made this information at a sermon in Mokpo, South Korea, on July 5.
Fides said Mr. Park informed those attending the sermon that he would meet Archbishop Kim Hee-jung of Gwangju City and the Vatican’s ambassador to South Korea, Archbishop Anfred Xuereb, to discuss the possibility of an upcoming meeting. schedule the Pope’s visit to Pyongyang.
Mr. Park is the director of Korea’s National Intelligence Service.
On July 8, the telephone operator at the church where Mr. Park spoke confirmed he attended the prayer meeting, but did not confirm any of the official’s statements.
In 2018, South Korean President Moon Jae-in conveyed the invitation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the Pope. Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon met a month later.
Holy See officials said they would consider a written invitation. It is not clear if Pyongyang has sent an official invitation to the Pope.
Holy See officials say the pope will consider making a conditional visit, if it helps bring peace to the peninsula.
The Pope recently underwent an intestinal surgery in Rome. He plans to visit Slovakia and Hungary in September. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said it was the only visit being arranged at this time.
According to Reuters