From the S&S archives: Pope wraps up his Korea visit; next stop, Papua New Guinea
Stars and Stripes May 8, 1984
SEOUL — After canonizing 103 Christian martyrs and grieving for Catholics who live in North Korea, Pope John Paul II ended his 5-day pilgrimage to South Korea.
In a farewell statement to President Chun Doo Hwan and other dignitaries at Kimpo International Airport he said that he was "deeply grateful" for the hospitality and warmth that was shown him as he journeyed here to mark the 200th year of Catholicism. He declared the martyrs as saints in a ceremony before close to a million people Sunday in Seoul's Yoido Plaza.
"At the same time, however, all this leaves me to remember with profound regret, sympathy and sorrow those of your parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives in the North who could not share the joy of the celebration," John Paul said, "and who are waiting in pain and expectation to be reunited as one happy family."
The pope spent the last hours of his visit here with young people, urging them to be "rich in good deeds" instead of pursuing the wealth of power.
John Paul preached his final sermon Sunday to 65,000 raptly attentive youngsters — high school and university students, along with workers — at Changchung Gymnasium, decorated like a cathedral for the event.
Mounting a gold-painted dais, the 63-year-old pope told the young crowd, that gave him a flag waving welcome, that he knows they are constantly tempted to abandon spiritual values and think "realistically" in a world he said was full of cynicism and injustice.
"First there is the attitude of the rich in this world who are haughty, who place all their trust in wealth and all that goes with it; privilege, power and influence," John Paul said. "Then there is the attitude of those who place their trust in God, those who do good, those who are rich in good deeds."
JOHN PAUL said he knew it was difficult to hold on to such values. But he added, "I am convinced that you will choose the path that Jesus teaches and that you will not give up."
John Paul appeared radiant and tireless on his last full day here. He seemed unruffled by an early morning incident in which a 22-year-old night school student broke through a roadside crowd of high school girls and fired a toy pistol at John Paul's armored van as he rode to the canonization.
Reversing an early story that the trigger wasn't pulled, a police official said that Lee Jun Kyu pumped off two or three of the blank caps in the plastic plaything at a range of about 10 meters. Quickly apprehended by security guards, one of whom fired a shot into the ground, Lee allegedly told police that it was all a joke.
The official said that Lee, who had picked up the toy about 15 days before, was impressed by John Paul's reference to Confucianism in his arrival statement last Thursday and "took himself as a friend of the pope."
"Being motivated by the urge to surprise the pope just for the sake of fun, he came to commit such a mischievous act," the official said Lee told police.
"THE CULPRIT also said that he could not understand all this fuss over a well-intentioned act on his part to greet a good friend by letting off a toy pistol blast," the official said — adding that Lee had often been shuttered in a room crying as he watched television or listened to the radio, raging at his family when they tried to intervene.
Asked what action might be taken against Lee, the official said the suspect faces a psychiatric evaluation and a decision if and what to charge him with would be made later.