Speed Reads


Pope Francis asks Koreas to avoid 'fruitless' criticisms of each other

Pope Francis arrived in South Korea on Thursday, marking the first papal visit to the region in 25 years. He visited with South Korean Catholics and offered some advice on their relations with the north.

Francis encouraged peace between North Korea and South Korea and asked each side to avoid "fruitless criticisms and displays of force," according to The Associated Press. As he called for peace in the south, North Korea test-fired five missiles into the sea.

During his speech, Pope Francis asked South Korean President Park Geun-hye to engage in forgiveness and respect in order to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula. Park said the pope could rectify the Koreas' "long wounds of division," which she said have been "a big scar for all Koreans."

"Korea's quest for peace is a cause close to our hearts, for it affects the stability of the entire area and indeed of our whole war-weary world," Pope Francis said. "May all of us dedicate these days to peace: to praying for it and deepening our resolve to achieve it."

Pope Francis delivered the speech in English, marking the first time he's given a speech in English, rather than Italian or Spanish.

On his first day in the region, Pope Francis also met with relatives of the victims of the South Korean ferry disaster as well as the descendants of some of the Korean martyrs who died for Catholicism. He will beatify 124 Korean martyrs from the 18th century during his trip.