Pope Francis, the forward-looking Argentine Pope, unexpectedly took a Korean high-speed train from Seoul to Daejon on Friday, the first time he has ridden high-speed rail. The train covered 90 miles in 50 minutes. He had been expected to travel by helicopter.
On Sunday, Francis made another unprecedented move, in a gesture of friendship toward China. Addressing 70 Catholic bishops from 35 Asian countries in Haemi, Korea, on Sunday, Francis said the church is committed to dialogue with everyone, and added: “In this spirit of openness to others, I earnestly hope that those countries of your continent with whom the Holy See does not yet enjoy a full relationship may not hesitate to further a dialogue for the benefit of all.”
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Pope’s comments were “obviously a sign of goodwill toward China,” as well as for the other Asian countries with which the Vatican does not have diplomatic relations, according to Associated Press. “This offer of the Pope for dialogue is to all these lands and not just one, even if China is the biggest.”