New Korean Cardinal: I hope that the Pope’s visit to North Korea will be soon

The newly appointed Cardinal Lazzaro You Heung-Sik, from South Korea, spoke about the possible visit of Pope Francis to North Korea and assured that he would like it to be “as soon as possible”.

Interviewed by ACI Prensa, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy explained that “he very much wanted” that Pope Francis conveyed his intention to travel to North Korea.

He said this in reference to some statements made by Pope Francis himself during an interview with a Korean media, in which he assured that he would visit this Asian country “immediately” if he received an “official invitation”.

“I was present at the side of the Holy Father, I wanted it very much. This time the Pope has expressed directly that he wants to go. And not only that he wants to go, but that he has asked to be invited”, Cardinal Lazzaro You told ACI Prensa.

He also explained that in the event of such a trip, “There should be preparation and a prior dialogue as is normally done for this type of trip”.

“The dialogue has already begun and I would like it to increase when the Pope goes, where will be led by the Holy Spirit”, he assured.

It is noteworthy that the newly appointed Cardinal has been to North Korea four timesworking for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

In addition, he is the first Korean in charge of a Dicastery after the reform of the Curia made by Pope Francis. Given this, he assured that “the order does not matter, since the important thing is to do it well.”

“The Dicastery for the Clergy is not an easy thing. My role is to support and encourage the priestsgive them hope and strength,” he explained.

He also said that “priests must be happy, and for this training is needed, because if one is trained well, he will not harm others.”

“This formation must be carried out from the Word, because whoever is based on the Word, builds the house on the rock. Who does not do it, builds the house on the sand”, defended the Cardinal.

Without living the Word of God, there is no formation. It is very important to live the Word, which also means love. And this creates a reciprocal love, which leads us to do what God wants. And this is the Synodal Church, and so the Church will continue forward,” he noted.

Finally, he said that “theology does not convert people, the homily can. But what really converts is the example, as the example of so many brave priests in the world. That can change people.”

Short biography

Cardinal Lazzaro You Heung-Sik was born on November 17, 1951 in Nonsan, South Korea.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Daejeon on December 8, 1979 and was appointed Bishop coadjutor in the same Diocese on June 24, 2003.

He has also been responsible for the Peace Committee of the Korean Bishops’ Conference and began his service as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy on August 2, 2021.

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