Hail protesters of militarism, injustice. Your pontiff loves you.

This article appears in the Francis in Korea feature series. View the full series.

Protesters of militarism and social injustice, take heart!

Pope Francis likes you and knows your valued efforts are “difficult work.”

Or so, he said, to four fellow Jesuits when he stopped by their residence in Seoul last week for an hour of recreation away from the admiring crowds.

Some of the details of the hour Francis spent with the Jesuits are still becoming public. According to statement by Father John Won-sik Sin, the Jesuit provincial, Francis entered and was first introduced to the community, among them four Jesuits described as working with Gangjeong villagers and organizing protests there.  The four, Francis was told, have all been arrested and have spent Jail time.

Gangjeong village on the southern coast of Jeju Island and has been chosen to be the site of a new Korean naval base. Koreans see it as a US-driven project aimed at given the US Navy a foothold on the Asian mainland, a power move against China.

Support Catholic journalism. Join our new membership program for as little as $5 a month.

Having heard of the Jesuits’ work, Pope Francis responded to them in Spanish, saying, “You have undergone most difficult work.”

Francis made the unofficial visit the evening of Aug. 15, 2014 by automobile at the Jesuit community located within the Sogang University campus. The purpose of this visit was for the pope to spend ordinary community evening recreation time "meeting and relaxing with his fellow Jesuits." His closing remarks to the Jesuits were, "Be Jesuits who give consolation to people. And pray for me often."




Just $5 a month supports NCR's independent Catholic journalism.

We are committed to keeping our online journalism open and available to as many readers as possible. To do that, we need your help. Join NCR Forward, our new membership program.


Looking for comments?

We've suspended comments on NCRonline.org for a while. If you missed that announcement, learn more about our decision here.