Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Overlooked Catholic Patriot

One of the patriots in our Korean History is Ahn Jung-geun. He is the man who assassinated the first Prime Minister of Japan Ito Hirobumi in Harbin, Manchuria in 1909. This is the centenary of the assassination and next year of Ahns death. Japans imperialist oppression was causing a great deal of suffering to not only Korea but to all of Asia. His action had repercussion all over the world.

The Catholic Church is beginning to take a much deeper look at Ahn. In the past he did not always receive the interest that one would expect from such a patriot. This however has all changed. There are elements to the story of Thomas Ahn that are somewhat embarrassing for the Korean Church. He was obviously a very serious Christian Catholic. The editorial in a recent Catholic Paper mentioned:

Even though one says he knows about patriot Ahn and his act:

for the most part it is that he engraved a cross on the bullet

prayed for success and when in prison heard

of the death of Ito he made the sign of the cross and thanked

God. It is only fragmentary bits and pieces. It is clear that despite the

part in our history we were indifferent and negligent of this.

The editorial went on to say in conclusion that he is a good symbol of a Christian who did not take the suffering of his country lightly. He is an important asset to have for the Korean Catholic spirituality of the future.

There is a good article in the Wikipedia on An Jung-geun which will give you a good idea of the man and his ideals.

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