At the funeral Mass for Choi In-ho (Peter), celebrated by Cardinal Nicholas Chong, the Cardinal said in his sermon that "Choi was the best and most beloved writer of our times, and his works convey his insights into life as well as his affection for people." The Catholic papers provided some of the many reasons he is held in such high esteem.
The novelist moved his readers because of his deep appreciation of life and its meaning. He was able to write in the genres of fiction and essays, and even wrote children's books. During his fight with cancer, which took his life at the age of 68, he wrote for the Seoul Church Bulletin which gained for the bulletin many readers, and even changed the image of the bulletin. His fight with cancer also helped many who were dealing with similar difficulties in life.
Many of his books became movies and TV shows which made his name even more well-known. He often said that even more than the pain of cancer, his inability to write gave him more pain. He was a prolific writer, often including Confucian and Buddhist themes in his writings, along with themes from the Christian Scriptures. He made a thirty day retreat, intending to gather material on Jesus in order to write a book on his life that would help people come closer to him. But he wasn't given the time. During his last moments he is quoted as saying he considered the Gospel of John as being the Gospel within the Gospel.
In the Seoul Bulletin he wrote the prayer he called the Piece of Taffy. “Lord, this body is a piece of taffy at the bottom of the wooden box. You can cut it up with scissors or play the taffy-cutting game; it is the taffy master's choice. Only allow that the words I have written be sweet daily food for the poor and sick. I pray this in the name of the master of taffy."
A fellow novelist writing in the Catholic Times mentions that Plato in the Symposium, using Socrates as his spokesperson, says there are two ways of attaining immortality in this world. One is to have children and the other is to give birth to art or knowledge. A prominent novelist in our time has died and been buried, he said, but his spirit is still with us. Though he noted that Choi wanted to die still writing till the last moment, his friend said that he was not able to write a parting message for Choi, because he is still very much with us.