A South Korean bishop on Monday expressed hope that Pope Francis' just-ended landmark trip to the country would serve as a chance to make it "a society of compassion and respect."
"Even though Pope Francis stayed in Korea only a few days, he inspired us fully with the consolation, compassion and hope that many of us earnestly needed," Bishop Peter Kang U-il, head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, said in a statement.
"I hope that our society can go forward to a society of compassion and respect, overcoming the hostility and conflict between social classes, following the example of Pope Francis," said the bishop, who also serves as chief of the organizing committee for the papal visit.
The 77-year-old pontiff repeatedly called for solidarity with the poor, needy and marginalized, warning against materialism and unbridled competition during his five-day trip to the country that ended on Monday.
During the trip, the pope also met and comforted sick and disabled people living at a rehabilitation center, grieving families who lost their loved ones in April's ferry disaster and young people participating in an Asian Catholic youth festival.
"He also urged us to humbly reflect on ourselves and find our way into a search for much higher values, never making an idol of economic development of Korea to be content with the transient comfort resulting from material wealth," the bishop said.
He added that he thinks the pontiff has insight into the South Korean society "where many people agonize over the lack of justice, even though the economic indicators show that Korea is one of the most developed countries." (Yonhap)