Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bishop Mutel's Diary

The diary of Bishop Gustave Charles Mutel (1854-1933) who lived in Korea from 1890 to 1933 has finally after 26 years of work, been published. It is composed of 8 volumes and is being sold for $160.00(?) .

The diary covers a long period, is very detailed and gives a picture of the tensions in Korean Society. Bishop Mutel was a Paris Foreign Missioner and administered the Catholic Church in Korea for 43 years. The diary deals with his personal affairs, the response of the Church to the times, the growth and changes, the politics of the Choson times and diplomacy. Many persons appear in the diary, some are very important to church history and Korean national history. We see the relationship Korea had with the Europeans, Americans, Japanese and the Chinese.

The diary will enable us to understand the society of the times in a way we would not without it. This diary was always considered an important historical document for those who were working in the field of history.

Mutel was the 8th ordinary of Seoul. It starts from the time he became the ordinary in 1890 August 4th to just before he died in Jan. 14 1933. When the Paris Foreign missioners moved to Daejeon City the diary went to Yongsan and finally to the headquarters of the Paris Foreign missionaries in Paris. The Church historian Monsignor Andrew S Choi who died recently was the one who began the work of translating knowing the value of the work. The work was not an easy. With the help of a Belgian Priest they finished the translating, giving us a very valuable look into the past.

Click here to see an interesting video on the history of the Catholic Church of Korea. It can be seen at The Western Confucian taken from Totus Tuus. It is the work produced by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea.


  1. Hello there! I realize it's been seven years since you posted this info, but I came across your blog while searching for a copy of Bishop Mutel's diary and I can't find it published anywhere. You wouldn't happen to know where it can be purchased in English or French do you? Thanks so much. :-)

  2. Mr.Frank Rausch ( may be able to help you since in his writings he shows great familiarity with the history of Korea and Bishop Mutel.

  3. Thank you very much. I will be sure to contact him. I truly appreciate your help.