Words of the Betancourt Family

Former Heads of State Meet the Pope and Join in Father's Victorious Homecoming in Korea

Antonio Betancourt
February 1986

In 1983 father was the inspiration behind the creation of an organization called AULA, the Association for the Unity of Latin America, to bring about Latin American unity and to work towards creating a constitution for the future United States of Latin America. These ideals were first championed by Simon Bolivar in the early 19th century, and in the revival of this cause Father can be seen as a modern-day Bolivar.

In May 1984 an inaugural AULA conference was held in Paris. It was a very successful conference, with one former head of state attending -- former president Rodrigo Carazo from Costa Rica.

On December 3-5, 1985, another conference was held at the Excelsior Hotel in Rome, Italy. This conference was a total success. Twelve former presidents and three former prime ministers attended. The conference was divided into eight commissions, each headed by one former head of state.

One reason it was so successful was due to the quality of the participants, respected men like former president Luis Herrera Campins from Venezuela, and former president Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala of Colombia. All the presidents that came, by the way, were constitutional presidents from long-time democratic nations like Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Peru; that is, there were no "tin-pot" dictators or de facto presidents.

President Herrera Campins became the permanent president for the Commission on the Constitution for Latin America. He worked together with Dr. Cleon Skousen, the foremost expert on constitutional studies in the United States, to begin the study and discussion of a workable constitution for Latin America.

A Private Audience with the Pope

On the final day of the conference, December 5, 1985, Pope John Paul II received the AULA conference in a private audience. Dr. Bo Hi Pak, Mrs. Pak, all the missionaries, and the guests -- the former presidents and prime ministers, ambassadors, ministers of foreign relations, ministers of government, and secretaries of state -- met with His Holiness in the Great Hall of the Popes in the Vatican. The pope took the opportunity to deliver an important message in Spanish, which was addressed to all the people of Latin America. Afterwards, he shook everyone's hand. All the missionaries of the Italian family now have a historic picture of themselves with His Holiness.

When Dr. and Mrs. Pak went up to the pope Dr. Pak said, "I am from Korea." Immediately the pope, beaming, addressed him in Korean. He said, "I was in Korea. It's a wonderful country. It's the most Christian country in the world. When I went to Korea, even though there are only about 500,000 Catholics there, the entire Christian community came. Millions of people welcomed me there." This meeting was a deep spiritual exchange, since Dr. Pak is part of the True Family.

By the end of the conference all the participants were very excited about AULA. They realized that there is no other organization that can bring about the unity of Latin America but AULA, and that there is no other individual besides Rev. Moon who could have supported this incredible endeavor as he did. So nine former heads of state and several other leaders agreed to come and honor Rev. Moon in his victorious return to Korea after 13 years in the United States.

His Holiness Pope John Paul II shakes hands with Dr. and Mrs. Pak in the Great Hall of the Popes in the Vatican.

At the Korean Rally

I would like to share an interesting experience at the rally involving one of the former presidents. Some of the women in the movement have felt, "Oh, I should have been the bride of the Messiah!" Therefore, it was very significant that Mother's greatness could be acknowledged at this time in the providence by the representatives of the nation of Korea and especially by the women. When one of the former presidents got up to speak he said, "I would like to make a request to the entire audience, and to the people of Korea, to allow me to humble myself before Mrs. Moon and to kiss her hand in gratitude for what she has done for this great world leader, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon!"

This was a very unusual request, because in Korea a man doesn't kiss a woman's hand. Men don't humble themselves to women or bow to women; it's the other way around. But when he said that, the entire Chamshil Gymnasium -- 40,000 people -- rose in tumultuous applause, and Mother stood up and gave her hand to this man. It was beautiful. The Koreans loved it. The act was entirely spontaneous and unplanned. This was a tremendous honor given to the accomplishments of Mother, and of course this inspired Father very much.

Another incredible moment came as one head of state stepped forward and, before starting his speech, kissed the Korean flag. This deeply moved the Korean audience, who immediately stood up and applauded.

One former president from Colombia, who during the Korean War was a naval commander, praised the Korean people. He said, "If you ever forget about the blood that was shed for the freedom and prosperity that you possess right now, you will be sorry. And if the North ever attacks, and because of your complacency you don't listen to Rev. Moon's message, those Colombians who died in Korea will rise up from their tombs, get their weapons, and fight once more. We will come and fight for this country again." This also brought the people to their feet in an incredible standing ovation.

Father and Mother with some of the former heads of state who participated in the AULA conference and honored True Parents in Korea at their homecoming.

The True Purpose of Power

Some of the former presidents had heard only negative stories about Father. However, they trust Amb. Jose Chaves, president of AULA, very much, and they wanted to come to Korea to have the opportunity to see Rev. Moon and form their opinions about him firsthand.

When I tried to explain to one of them about the deep religious convictions behind our movement, he replied, "Don't talk to me about God or religion. At our level, the only reality is power, the exercise of power, and propaganda. These are not necessarily evil. But Rev. Moon has a lot of power, and I want to find out what his purpose is!'

The morning after the rally Father agreed to meet with him. He gave this man a one-hour lecture, and in his lecture Father revealed himself to him. He said, "The world needs a teacher of true love. All the problems of the world -- political, economic, or social -- derive from the fact that there is no true love in this world. I am the one who is to come to teach the world about true love. Everything you see our movement doing is only to teach the world about true love."

The president was in tears. He said to Father, "Now I know you are truly a religious leader, and behind all this economic and political and media power that you have, there is a strong religious foundation and a strong principle at work. I never heard anything so beautiful as true love!" At that moment he pledged to Father that he would do everything he could to fulfill the goal of Latin American unity."

Father told him, "My mission is to bring peace and harmony to the world through the teaching of true love. In North America our movement has been very active in working with the Christian churches. Protestantism in America now understands that my message is good for America, and that without my message there is no hope for America. But my heart grieves, because in Latin America, unless people listen to my message and understand that they need this teacher of true love, there will be no hope for Latin America, war will break out, and millions of people will be killed!'

This is a man who is not emotional or passionate, but a man of cold intellect. But when we came back to the hotel, he said to me, "In all my life, nobody ever aroused emotions in me before as Rev. Moon has done. No one could ever do that, but Rev. Moon did. It is because of the message he is preaching -- the message of true love!' And then he said, "The world had better watch out. The world may ignore religion and God, but it can never ignore the prophets. Every time the world ignores them, we are in trouble. So we'd better listen to the message of Rev. Moon!"

Later Father called me to report about what these former heads of state had felt. I said, "Father and Mother, you won the hearts of everyone, even the most difficult ones. Everyone was in tears. They said, "We will do our very best to destroy the myth that has been created around the Rev. Moon and the Unification movement."

The banquet and rally in Korea were incredibly victorious moments for True Parents. We all have to be grateful to God and to those in the spirit world for helping us so much in our crusade to inspire the Christian ministers, and now these former heads of state. We look for- ward to 1986 with great expectation. 

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