The Francis Effect is everywhere. Time Magazine named Pope Francis their 2013 Person of the Year, another magazine dedicated specifically to covering Pope Francis has been started in Italy, and politicians and leaders are trying to use the Pope’s messages as support for their own causes. The Francis effect will be large in Asia this year as the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will visit South Korea in August. Moreover, with the canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II on April 27, this gives us an opportunity to examine the last time a Pope visited South Korea as well.
In this episode, we talk via Skype with Father Dennis McNamara of Georgetown University, about Pope John Paul II’s 1984 and 1989 visits to South Korea, the progression of Catholicism and religion in Korea, and potential themes for Pope Francis’s visit in August. Father Dennis McNamara, S.J. is the Park Professor of Sociology and Korean Studies at Georgetown University He is also the Special Assistant for China Affairs to Georgetown University’s President. He serves as a member of the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, and chairs the weekly Korea Seminar at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. State Department. In Asia, he serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of International Studies at Sogang University in Seoul, and lectures at Renmin and Fudan Universities in China, Waseda and Sophia Universities in Tokyo, and Thammasat University in Bangkok.