'You are all one family'. Pope Francis calls for reconciliation between North and South Korea

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
Pope Francis delivered his message as he celebrated a Mass of reconciliation at Seoul's main cathedral, in South Korea.

Pope Francis, completing a five-day visit to South Korea today, has called for peace and unity between North and South Korea.

At a Mass of reconciliation in Myeongdong Cathedral, Seoul's main cathedral, earlier today, he challenged Koreans from both the North and the South to reject the "mindset of suspicion and confrontation" that cloud their relations.

Pope Francis said all Koreans were "brothers and sisters, members of one family, one people".

He appealed for "the emergence of new opportunities for dialogue, encounter and the resolution of differences, for the continued generosity in providing humanitarian assistance to those in need."

So will they heed the Pope's cries? North Korea has said very little about the Pontiff's visit, and an invitation from South Korean bishops to attend today's Mass was rejected.

North Korea also launched test missiles on Thursday, the day the Pope arrived. The country, which had a large Christian community before the war, views organised Christianity as a threat to the regime.

It is currently ranked number 1 on the World Watch List, making it the place where Christian persecution is most extreme, according to the charity Open Doors.

"The God-like worship of the leader, Kim Jong-Un, and his predecessors leaves no room for any other religion and Christians face unimaginable pressure in every sphere of life," says the Open Doors website. "Forced to meet only in secret, they dare not share their faith even with their families, for fear of imprisonment in a labour camp. Anyone discovered engaging in clandestine religious activity may be subject to arrest, arbitrary detention, disappearance, torture, even public execution."

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