Pope leads prayers for U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore


By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Leading thousands of people in prayer, Pope
Francis said he hoped the upcoming summit between the United States and North Korea
would lead to lasting

After praying the Angelus with an estimated 20,000 people in St. Peter’s Square June 10, the pope said he wanted to convey “a special thought
to the beloved Korean people,” and he asked the crowd to pray the “Hail
Mary” so that “Our Lady, Queen of Korea, may accompany these

“May the talks that will take place in the next few
days in Singapore contribute to the development of a positive path that assures
a future of peace for the Korean peninsula and the whole world,” Pope
Francis said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump were to meet on Singapore’s Sentosa
Island for the historic
summit June 12. It
was to be the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North
Korean leader.

Before leading the crowds in praying for the summit, the
pope reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading in which Jesus confronts “two
types of misunderstandings” from the scribes and his relatives.

By accusing Jesus of being possessed and using the power of the “prince of
demons” to cast out demons, the scribes fell into a great sin of
“denying and blaspheming God’s love that is present and works in
Jesus,” he said.

Blasphemy, the pope said, “is a sin against the Holy
Spirit and the only unforgivable sin because it comes from a closure of the
heart to God’s mercy that acts in Jesus.”

Pope Francis told Christians they should go to confession immediately when they are
tempted to speak ill of another person because “this attitude
destroys families, friendships, the community and even society.”

“Here there is a truly mortal poison: the premeditated malice
one uses to destroy the good reputation of the other. May God free us from this
terrible temptation,” he said.

Another misunderstanding described in the Gospel reading, the pope
continued, comes from Jesus’ family who believed his “new itinerant
lifestyle seemed like madness.”

In the Gospel, after Jesus was told that his mother and his
brothers and sisters were asking for him, he responds, “Here are my mother
and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and

Jesus’ response, the pope explained, is not a lack of
respect toward his mother but instead it is “the greatest recognition,
because she is precisely the perfect disciple who obeyed God’s will in

Pope Francis said that Christ’s answer also showed that
Christians are united not by family bonds but by their “faith in

“Welcoming Jesus’ words makes us brothers and sisters,
it makes us members of Jesus’ family,” the pope said. “Speaking ill
of others, destroying other people’s reputations, makes us part of the devil’s

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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