Vatican News

Cardinal Parolin to Korean forum: Peace is the fruit of justice and charity

The Vatican Secretary of State delivers a video message to the Korea Global Forum for Peace (KGFP), in which he spoke about the role of Churches in promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

By Vatican News staff reporter

While justice demands that we don’t violate the rights of others but give them their due, charity makes us feel the needs of others as our own.  This fosters fruitful cooperation and friendship.  Hence, true peace can be established in the world when justice finds its fulfilment in charity or love. 

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, made this argument in a video message on Tuesday to the "Korea Global Forum for Peace" (KGFP), an annual event that South Korea’s Ministry of Unification hosts each year, in which experts, researchers and government officials from over twenty countries participate.  The theme of this year’s KGFP, from August 31 to September 2, is, "A New Vision for Inter-Korean Relations and Community: For Peace, Economy and Life.” Due to the pandemic, it is being held online.

The Vatican’s top diplomat on Tuesday presented a lengthy paper on, "The Role of the Churches in Establishing Peace on the Korean Peninsula,” offering principles, values and ideals from Church tradition and the Gospel that can help bring peace and reconciliation on the peninsula. 

Welcoming, accompanying, listening

According to Pope Paul VI, people and nations must meet one another as brothers and sisters, as children of God, and work together to build the common future of the human race, in order to create the conditions for the integral development of humanity based on solidarity. This process, Cardinal Parolin pointed out, is fostered by the actions of welcoming, accompanying and listening.

Pope Francis describes welcoming others as closeness, openness to dialogue, patience and a kindness that does not condemn.  It means making space for them in our lives and willingness to share our joys and sorrows, which help build authentic relationships.

Explaining the need for accompanying, Cardinal Parolin said that there can be no harmonious development of society in all its parts unless we implement shared strategies in concrete situations, which aim at respect for human life and each one’s dignity and the progressive accompaniment of persons. 

Listening and dialogue

The act of listening or dialogue involves consciously devoting some precious time and attention to carefully decoding the signals we are receiving.  

Cardinal Parolin said that listening helps the resolution of conflicts, cultural mediation and peacemaking in communities and groups.  According to Pope Francis, dialogue helps us to understand and appreciate others’ needs and fosters in us an attitude of listening and openness to the speaker’s valid viewpoints. 

Cardinal Parolin argued that dialogue is a great sign of respect as it helps people understand and appreciate one another’s needs.  Dialogue becomes an expression of charity, as it can help us seek and share the common good without ignoring the differences and without making our position prevail over that of others.

With regard to a new vision of relationship on the Korean peninsula, the 66-year old cardinal held out the figure of Pope John XXIII, who always emphasized the universal values that bring people together.  He always looked out for the goodness present in every person and society, and established a dialogue based on mutual respect and recognition that overcame narrow mindedness that created divisions.  Believing that there some goodness in every person, led him to seek first what unites rather than what divides.  This is the basis of dialogue, Cardinal Parolin said, and this is what allowed Pope John XXIII to help resolve peacefully the Cuban missile crisis. 

Peace, justice, charity

According to the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Parolin explained, peace is more than the absence of war or a balance of power between opposing forces.  There cannot be peace unless people’s welfare is safeguarded and people share with one another the riches of their minds and their talents freely and in a spirit of mutual trust.  Thus, peace is also the fruit of love, for love goes beyond what justice can achieve. 

We could also say that peace is friendship and benevolence. According to Confucius, the cardinal pointed out, benevolence means not imposing on others what you do not wish for yourself, a principle that is close to the Christian precept: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mt 22:39). 

Citing Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Parolin said that for true peace to be established in the world, justice must find its fulfilment in charity, i.e. love. This is why he reminded all that forgiveness is needed for solving the problems of individuals and peoples. Only a humanity in which there reigns the ‘civilization of love’ will be able to enjoy authentic and lasting peace.


According to Pope Francis, friendship also has a social dimension based on solidarity and reciprocity.  

This is what he meant when amidst the ravages of Covid-19 in a deserted St. Peter’s Square on 27 March 2020, he said that we are all on the same boat, fragile and disoriented, but all needing one another, as no one is saved alone. 

In his encyclical on fraternity and social friendship, Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis describes dialogue as approaching, speaking, listening, looking at, coming to know and understand one another, and to find common ground.  Such dialogues by many generous persons, the Pope says, keep families and communities together, without making headlines. 

In conclusion, Cardinal Parolin told the KGFP that for authentic peace in the world, justice must find fulfilment in charity and people must look for things that unite them than that which divide. Insisting on the need for friendship and fraternity in the world, Pope Paul VI said we must see in others not a stranger, a rival, an annoyance, an adversary or an enemy, but as human beings like ourselves, worthy of respect, esteem, assistance and love.

31 August 2021, 08:30