Vatican delegation investigates papal visit to North Korea
A possible papal visit to North Korea was one of the items on the Agenda of a Vatican delegation that concluded a decisive visit to the country yesterday,
Details of the visit were confirmed by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. It comes in the wake of the South Korea president's suggestion last July that Pyongyang invite Pope John Paul II to the communist North.
In an official statement, Navarro-Valls explained that the Vatican delegation, "in its fifth consecutive visit to Pyongyang, hoped to reaffirm the effective and constant solidarity of the Holy Father with the people of North Korea, and continue the relations established earlier with governmental authorities, particularly with the foreign affairs minister."
Members of the delegation included Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Vatican undersecretary for relations with states, and Bishop Mariano Montemayor, an official of the secretariat of state.
"An important moment of the visit was the prayer meeting with the Catholic community in the capital, and the Mass celebrated on Sunday in the Church of Chan Chung," Navarro-Valls explained. "After the Mass, there was a meeting with the leader of the Association of North Korean Catholics."