Pope Francis tells Korean religious leaders to oppose “rhetoric of hatred”

CRUX

Amidst rising tensions between North Korea and the United States, Pope Francis told an interfaith gathering of religious leaders from South Korea that they are called to be “heralds of peace, proclaiming and embodying a nonviolent style, a style of peace, with words clearly different from the narrative of fear, and with gestures opposed to the rhetoric of hatred.”

Pope Francis told religious leaders from South Korea that they are called upon to initiate, promote and accompany processes for the reconciliation of all people.

Representatives from the seven main religious groups on the peninsula are in Rome for an interfaith pilgrimage, amid growing tensions between North Korea and the United States.

President Donald Trump this week said “all options are on the table” after nuclear-armed Pyongyang fired a Hwasong-12 medium range missile over Japan which landed in the Pacific Ocean.

North Korea state media said the missile launch was “the first step of the military operation of the [North Korean military] in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam.” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has repeatedly threatened to attack the U.S. Pacific territory, which has a population of 162,000 people.

Amidst the heated rhetoric, Archbishop Igino Kim Hee-joong, the president of the Korean Bishops’ Conference, said ahead of the audience they would ask the pope to pray for peace and to help the Korean people.

The archbishop told the SIR news agency – which is an arm of the Italian bishops’ conference – the religious leaders were appealing to “seek peace not with weapons or sanctions but through dialogue, negotiation and mutual respect at all costs.”

Francis told the leader the world is looking to them to set an example.

“It looks to us for answers and a shared commitment to various issues: The sacred dignity of the human person, the hunger and poverty which still afflict too many peoples, the rejection of violence, in particular that violence which profanes the name of God and desecrates religion, the corruption that gives rise to injustice, moral decay, and the crisis of the family, of the economy and, not least of all, the crisis of hope,” he said.

 

“We are called to be heralds of peace, proclaiming and embodying a nonviolent style, a style of peace, with words clearly different from the narrative of fear, and with gestures opposed to the rhetoric of hatred,” the pope said.

Although not mentioning the North Korean threat specifically, the pope said interreligious dialogue is directed to the common good and peace, and must always be open and respectful.

“Open, that is to say warm and sincere, carried forward by persons willing to walk together with esteem and honesty,” Francis explained. “Respectful, because mutual respect is at once the condition and the goal of interreligious dialogue: Indeed, it is in respecting the right to life, physical integrity and fundamental freedoms, such as those of conscience, religion, thought and expression, that the foundations are laid for building peace, for which each of us is called to pray and work.”

Francis did speak about the North Korean nuclear crisis during his flight back from Egypt last April.

At the time, the pope called on Trump and other world leaders to reinforce the push for a diplomatic solution to the mounting crisis, and asked the United Nations to “resume its leadership” to help diffuse the situation, saying the UN’s role “has been a bit watered down.”

“I’ve called on [world leaders], and I will call on them, to work towards resolving the problems through the path of diplomacy,” Francis said, asked by journalists about the prospect raised by Trump at the time of a “major conflict.”

In his interview with SIR, Igino Kim said the Catholic Church in Korea is focused on advancing denuclearization and peace-building on the Korean peninsula.

“A nuclear war would have devastating consequences on the whole of humanity,” the archbishop said.

Image: 

Members of the Daegu “Pueri Cantores” choir from South Korea play bells as Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 20, 2015. (Credit: Paul Haring/CNS.)

Despite apprehension, Pope Francis and President Trump talked in a “relaxed, sincere way,” sources say

Gerard O’Connell
America Magazine

President Donald J. Trump’s private meeting with Pope Francis “went well,” informed Vatican sources told America after the visit.

The sources, who asked not to be identified, acknowledged that there had been some “apprehension” on the eve of the visit, which was reflected on Francis’ face at the beginning of his first meeting with the U.S. president. But, according to these sources, the atmosphere became more relaxed during their 30-minute face-to-face conversation behind closed doors. A warmer, friendlier and at times humorous atmosphere prevailed during the subsequent presentation of the U.S. delegation and the exchange of gifts.

“Pope Francis was happy because he and the president talked in a relaxed, sincere way on the issues that they each care deeply about. He felt the meeting went well,” one source close to the pontiff told America.

He did not identify what those issues were, but it can be deduced from the statement released by the Vatican afterward that the topics included the promotion of peace in the world, the situation in the Middle East, the persecution of Christians and the dramatic plight of migrants.

Some media have interpreted the downcast look on the pope’s face as he stood beside Mr. Trump for the group photo with the U.S. delegation as an indicator that their private meeting had not gone well or “was cold,” as some Italian press reported. But a Vatican source who was informed of what happened told America this is “a gross misinterpretation.” He attributed the look on the pope’s face to the fact that, in general, Francis does not like having to pose for photos, and his face sometimes reflects this.

Vatican sources also said that the private talks that took place in the Secretariat of State, after the papal audience, between President Trump and members of his delegation and two of Francis’ most senior collaborators, the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, went “surprisingly well” and “were much better that expected.”

Mr. Trump was accompanied by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, and the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, for the 50-minute conversation behind closed doors that covered a wide range of topics at the national and international levels. According to sources, the president and his “impressive” team engaged freely with the senior Vatican officials and appeared keen to listen and to understand the Holy See’s perspective on the different issues.

The Vatican press communiqué mentioned several topics that were discussed. They included: the “good” state of bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States; “the joint commitment in favor of life, and freedom of worship and conscience”; and the hope for “serene collaboration” between the state and the Catholic Church in the United States “in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education, and assistance to immigrants.”

It said they also exchanged views on “themes relating to international affairs and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.” One can safely presume that the crises in Syria and Venezuela were discussed.

The Vatican statement did not mention the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but sources believe this was also addressed because before coming to Rome, Mr. Trump held talks with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and has publicly stated his determination to do all he can to reach a lasting solution to this almost 70-year conflict—something his predecessors tried to do but failed. Sources said Vatican officials were pleased that President Trump seems committed to taking this issue into his own hands and not delegating it to others.

The question of combatting terrorism seems to have also been on the agenda following Mr. Trump’s initiatives in Saudi Arabia to get all moderate majority-Muslim states involved.

Although the Vatican statement did not list climate change among the topics discussed during the president’s discussions, Secretary of State Tillerson confirmed on the plane to Brussels that this subject was raised in the meeting at the Secretariat of State and said Cardinal Parolin had urged the United States to remain a party to the Paris climate agreement. He revealed that they had “a good exchange [on] the difficulty of balancing, addressing climate change and ensuring that you still have a thriving economy and you can still offer people jobs so they can feed their families.” He described this as “a difficult balancing act” and said, “we look forward to having further talks with them on climate policy.” A decision on the Paris treaty would be made later, Mr. Tillerson added.

From talking to several sources here, it is clear that the Vatican greatly appreciated having had this first opportunity to meet President Trump so early in his term and to discuss with him and key members of his administration issues of global importance. A “positive relationship” appears to have been started between Francis and Mr. Trump—and between the U.S. president and his advisers and top Vatican officials. Channels of communication now exist to continue the dialogue between the two sides.

 

Trump vows to use presidency for peace after ‘fantastic’ talks with Pope Francis

AFP

US president Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to use his US presidency to promote global peace after meeting Pope Francis for the first time.

The two men sidestepped deep differences over issues ranging from the environment to the plight of migrants and the poor.

“Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis,” a star-struck Mr Trump wrote on Twitter before leaving Rome for Brussels and the next leg of his first overseas trip as US president. Continue reading

Trump ‘determined to pursue peace’ after Pope meeting

BBC

US President Donald Trump has said he is “more determined than ever” to pursue peace in the world after meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican.

He was granted a short private audience with the head of the Catholic Church on the latest leg of his overseas trip.

The two men have in the past clashed on issues such as migration, climate change and a Mexico-US wall.

Mr Trump is now in Brussels for talks with Nato and EU officials.

He will also hold meetings with Belgium’s King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel.

After the meeting between President Trump and the Pope, the Vatican said there had been an “exchange of views” on international issues.

Mr Trump, who BBC Europe editor Katya Adler says seemed star-struck, said of the Pope: “He is something, he’s really good. We had a fantastic meeting and we had a fantastic tour, it was really beautiful. We’re liking Italy very much… it was an honour to be with the Pope.”

Later Mr Trump tweeted: “Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.”

He arrived in Europe from Israel and the Palestinian territories, where he vowed to try to achieve peace in the region.

The US leader began his foreign trip with a two-day stop in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, urging Muslim countries to take the lead in combating radicalisation.

Much-anticipated meeting

Mr Trump and his entourage arrived at the Vatican just before 08:30, in a meeting that was arranged at the last minute.

The US president was greeted by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the head of the papal household, and escorted by the Swiss Guard to the offices of Pope Francis.

Correspondents say Mr Trump seemed subdued during their initial meeting, while Pope Francis was not as jovial as he sometimes is with world leaders.

The two men appeared much more relaxed at the end of their 30-minute private meeting.

The Vatican said later that they shared a commitment to “life, and freedom of worship and conscience” and expressed hope that they can collaborate “in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to migrants”.

On international affairs, their “exchange of views” covered the “promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue”, and highlighted the need to protect Christian communities in the Middle East.

After the meeting, they exchanged gifts. Mr Trump gave the Pope a boxed set of writings by the civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

The Pope gave Mr Trump a signed copy of a message he delivered for World Peace Day, along with some of his writings about the need to protect the environment.

He also presented him with a small sculptured olive tree, telling Mr Trump through an interpreter: “It is my desire that you become an olive tree to construct peace”.

Mr Trump responded by saying: “We can use some peace.” He also said he would read the texts the Pope gave him.

Mr Trump also met Italy’s president and prime minister while in Rome.


Seeking common ground – analysis by the BBC’s Jon Sopel, Rome

Ever so slowly and flanked by the Swiss Guard the leader of the world’s pre-eminent superpower walked through the Vatican to meet the leader of one of the world’s pre-eminent religions.

And were there ever two more different people? Pope Francis with just the merest hint of a smile; President Trump beaming. They sat across from each other in the pontiff’s study as though one was going for a job interview.

During the election campaign, when Pope Francis visited the US-Mexico border he said that people who choose to build walls and not bridges weren’t Christian. Donald Trump said those comments were disgraceful.

And in February, just after Donald Trump had tried to introduce his travel ban from six mainly Muslim countries and suspended the refugee programme, the Pope tweeted: “How often in the Bible the Lord asks us to welcome migrants and foreigners, reminding us that we too are foreigners!”

The normal mantra when two world leaders meet is to say “there is more that unites us than divides us”. Almost certainly true. But there are real differences as well.


And the entourage?

Mr Trump was joined not only by his wife, daughter and son-in-law but also Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser HR McMaster.

Both Melania and Ivanka Trump were dressed in black with their heads partially covered, in keeping with a traditional Vatican protocol that is no longer expected to be rigorously observed.

Melania, a Catholic, asked the Pope to bless her rosary beads.

In a light-hearted exchange, Pope Francis asked her what she gave her husband to eat. It was initially thought he had suggested “pizza” to her, but in fact he said potica, which is a cake from Mrs Trump’s home country of Slovenia. She laughed in response, and agreed with him.

Ivanka and Melania Trump at the VaticanImage copyrightEPA

What next for Mr Trump’s trip?

This is Mr Trump’s first visit to Europe since taking office in January.

Security has been stepped up across Rome, with the areas around the Vatican City, the Italian presidential palace and the American ambassador’s residence, where Mr Trump is staying, temporarily closed to traffic.

Despite the heavy police presence, about 100 anti-Trump protesters held a rally in one of Rome’s squares on Tuesday evening.

Significant protests are also expected in Brussels where he will meet EU and Nato officials.

This visit will be about damage limitation with the fervent hope of establishing some kind of transatlantic chemistry, the BBC’s Europe editor Katya Adler says.

She adds that the tone in Brussels has gone from off-the-record sneering when the erratic and unpredictable Mr Trump first won the November elections, to outright concern now that the implications of his presidency have begun to sink in.

Donald Trump, Pope Francis Meet, Vow to Fight for ‘Life, Freedom of Worship’

The Christian Post

President Donald Trump and Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Francis met on Wednesday at the Vatican where they spoke for 30 minutes in private, and vowed to fight together for life, peace, and freedom of worship.

“Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world,” Trump posted on Twitter following the meeting.

BBC News reported that the two world leaders held a 30-minute private meeting, with the Vatican later explaining that they talked about their shared commitment to “life, freedom of worship, and conscience,” and expressed hope that they can collaborate “in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to migrants.”

They also reportedly talked about the “promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue,” along with the need to protect Christian communities in the Middle East, which are suffering at the hands of Islamic extremists. Continue reading

‘I won’t forget what you said,’ Trump tells pope after meeting at Vatican

Gerald O’Connell
America Magazine

President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, two leaders with contrasting styles and differing worldviews, met at the Vatican City on Wednesday, setting aside their previous clashes to broadcast a tone of peace for an audience around the globe.

Mr. Trump, midway through his grueling nine-day maiden international journey, called upon the pontiff at the Vatican early Wednesday where the two had a private 30-minute meeting laden with religious symbolism and ancient protocol. While this is the normal length of time for such face-to-face meetings with heads of states it was perhaps shorter than many had expected for this first encounter between the two world leaders.  Continue reading

Optimism in the Vatican on the eve of Trump’s visit to Pope Francis

Gerald O’Connell
America Magazine

President Donald J. Trump and Pope Francis are scheduled to meet for the first time at 8:30 a.m., Rome time, on Wednesday, May 24. Vatican officials contacted by America, who spoke on condition of anonymity, consider the meeting of the utmost importance given the role of the United States in the world. They expressed happiness that the leader of the globe’s main superpower decided to visit the pope on his first foreign trip, and they seemed quietly confident that the meeting will go well.

“It will be good. It’s going to be their first encounter, and the hope is that it will start a good relationship, open a channel of communication between the two sides, and send a message to the Catholic Church in the United States,” a senior Vatican official told America. Continue reading

Pope Condemns US for using “Mother” in MOAB. Popery is MOAB: Mother Of All Blasphemers; Mother Of Abominations Blasphemies; Mother Of All Beasts

Andrew & Hilkary Henriques
Saved to Serve

As the representative of what many claim to be the “Mother” church, Pope Francis has publicly decried the United States’ biggest non-nuclear bomb being called a mother (Mother of All Bombs or MOAB). He further stated that a deadly weapon should in no wise be labeled “mother.” He then designates what a mother is, “‘I was ashamed when I heard the name…’ A mother gives life and this one gives death, and we call this device a mother. What is happening?’”[1]

Indeed the church Pope Francis sits at the head of is a mother and is verified in scripture—but not as the mother of Christendom, but the mother of harlots—the mother of apostate churches. “…I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” Revelation 17:3-5.

“Protestant church leaders have expressed their disappointment at a document issued by the Vatican which reaffirms the Catholic stance on other churches. The Dominus Iesus declaration, which has been written by a close aide of Pope John Paul II, says that the Roman Catholic church is the ‘mother’ of all Christian denominations and that it is incorrect to refer to the Church of England and other Protestant churches as ‘sister’ organisations on a par with Rome.” [2]

It is unmistakable what power these verses bring to view based on the varied specifications.  According to verse 5 of Revelation 17, Roman Catholicism is not only the mother of harlots, but is also a MOAB of its own—Mother Of Abominations Blasphemies, or simply Mother Of All Blasphemers. This is an accurate representation of this entity considering the anti-Biblical, clearly pagan rituals, idolatry, belief systems and observances that can be described in no other way but as abominations and blasphemies. Revelation 17 is not the only scripture that delineates Roman Catholicism as a blasphemous and abominable power; in fact, every time this power is described in scripture, these identifying marks are highlighted so there can be no ambiguity as to who this power represents. Riding upon a scarlet colored beast, this power could also be classified as the Mother Of All Beasts (MOAB), as she is seen in control over the beasts of the earth(riding upon, holding the reins and directing); which beasts represent nations or kingdoms (Daniel 7:17 and 23).

Bible prophecy foretells a time in which Roman Catholicism will again wield the control she once had over the nations and will lead the nations to enforce her decrees and sustain her abominable and blasphemous institutions beginning in America (see Revelation 13:11-18). In Pope Francis’ statement concerning the use of the word “mother” to describe a bomb, he states that mothers give life, and that the “mother of all bombs” gives death.  Interestingly, it will be the “mother” church that gives life to the image of the beast and causes it speak and then destroy, not only liberties, but life itself.  Just notice the dichotomy: in giving life to the image, it causes those who do not worship the image to be killed. “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Revelation 13:15 (emphasis supplied).  Oh yes, the Papacy is a “life-giving” mother, but it is at the same time a destroying/murderous mother, a deadly killing machine, just as it has ever been since the days of its reign from 538-1798; truly a MOAB. 

Pope Francis has not a few times publicly criticized the actions and policies of Donald Trump; and neither has Mr. Trump been silent about his disagreement with Pope Francis. However, Pope Francis did send a congenial congratulatory message to Mr. Trump after his election as president, extending the “olive branch,” albeit for the self-serving motive of having greater influence over US politics. The two leaders are set to meet May 24 at the Vatican, the “mother’s” house. It has been just over 100 days since Donald Trump was inaugurated and already he is meeting with Pope Francis on his very first foreign trip as US President; and one purpose of the meeting is to fight “extremism.” This first meeting will likely set the stage for future encounters and greater cooperation moving forward to fight “common enemies.” While many journalists and others are expecting awkward and heated exchanges based on their history of pubic antagonism towards one another, prophecy foretells that the Papacy will dictate to the civil leaders of America (and other nations) to have Papal laws and principles carried out, and she will be successful in achieving this end. It must be remembered that before Jorge Bergoglio became Pope Francis, he was a sworn, high ranking Jesuit. He has never renounced his oath and allegiance to that organization. It is the purpose and practice of Jesuits to not only destroy Protestantism and reestablish Popery, but also, under various disguises to work “their way into offices of state, climbing up to be the counselors of kings, and shaping the policy of nations.” [3]

The time is not far distant when the “Mother Of All Beasts,” the “Mother Of Abominations Blasphemies, Roman Catholicism, will control the nations and religions by uniting them in a one-world system to fight what she defines as “extremism” and other world evils such as climate change, immorality and poverty.  Those who oppose and refuse to join this grand movement, will be targeted and detonated on by this MOAB and her allies. How shall we stand?   

1.  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-bomb-idUSKBN1820LJ

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/910612.stm

3 White, Ellen.  The Great Controversy (1911), page 235

Pope Francis offers to act as mediator in Venezuelan conflict

AFP

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday welcomed an offer by Pope Francis for Vatican mediation in the crisis-torn country but opposition leaders rebuffed the overture.
The pope’s call for a “negotiated solution” came in response to waves of protests by Venezuelans demanding new elections to pull the country out of a downward spiral.
At least 28 people have died in protests since they began April, and hundreds have been arrested.
“Dramatic news on the worsening of the situation in Venezuela keeps coming in with numerous deaths, injuries and prisoners,” the pontiff said before a crowd of 70,000 attending weekly prayers in Saint Peter’s Square.
“United in sorrow with the families of the victims… I issue a sincere appeal to the government and all sectors of Venezuelan society to avoid all forms of violence henceforward,” said the pontiff.
Urging respect for human rights, Francis said the Vatican was willing to act as a mediator under “clear conditions”.
Maduro responded on his weekly program on state VTV television, pointing a finger of blame at the opposition.
“If I say dialogue, they flee in horror. They don’t want dialogue.  Yesterday they lashed out at Pope Francis. I respect what Pope Francis is saying,” Maduro said.
He charged that the protests were an attempt to plunge the country into chaos, take over power and “impose a counter revolution on Venezuela”.
“There are no words for what they have done since April,” he said.
The opposition walked away from talks in December, accusing the government of failing to fulfill promises to set up a timetable for elections and free political prisoners.
Julio Borges, president of the opposition controlled National Assembly, said on Sunday he would send a document to Pope Francis reaffirming the opposition’s demands centered on general elections.
“The pope says some very interesting things. In the first place that, if there are no guarantees, there is no possibility of moving forward here,” he said.
Saturday, former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said dialogue might be nice, but not involving Spanish ex prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. The former PM, who took part in an earlier mediating team, was not neutral, according to Capriles.
Eight Latin American governments — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay — backed the pontiff’s proposal in a joint statement released Sunday by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Sunday, a day before Workers’ Day, Maduro increased the minimum monthly wage by 60 percent to the equivalent of 90 dollars at the official exchange rate; or 15 at the black market rate.
Venezuela suffers from one of the world’s highest rates of inflation — forecast by the IMF to come in at 720 percent this year.

Donald Trump hoping to use first foreign trip to unite religions against extremism

Ruth Sherlock
The Telegraph

Donald Trump will travel to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican later this month on a mission to unite three of the world’s most prominent religions against intolerance, terrorism and Iran.

Speaking from the Rose Garden during an event dedicated to religious liberties, Mr Trump said he would use the trip – his first foreign foray since becoming president – to build cooperation between Muslims, Christians and Jews for fighting terrorism.

“Our task is not to dictate to others how to live,” Mr Trump said.  “But to build a coalition of friends and partners who share the goal of fighting terrorism and bringing safety, opportunity and stability to the war-ravaged Middle East.” Continue reading