Seoul cathedral: site for papal reconciliation Mass

Seoul cathedral (photos by Tom Fox)
This article appears in the Francis in Korea feature series. View the full series.

Seoul's cathedral is a 19th-century Gothic structure that seats an estimated 1,000. It sits on top of a small hill, one of the many in the capital city of South Korea. The cathedral, known locally as the Myeong-dong Cathedral, was the first parish in Korea.

During the 1970s and 1980s, during an era of military dictatorships, the cathedral was the site of numerous student demonstrations protesting against the governments. The Catholic leadership gave sanctuary to students who would otherwise have been arrested by the police. In the years that followed, the cathedral plaza continued to be the site for protests of all kinds.

Since 2000, Korean Catholic authorities have demanded permits for protests, which has limited the cathedral as an active protest site. 

This video gives a sense of the scene Sunday morning, just a few days before Pope Francis steps foot on Korean soil.




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