In June 1846, Father Kim Taegon, Andrew, was arrested by police while searching for a route of entry for French missionaries. They pulled hair from his head and punched him although this was not to be since he was a member of the noble class. A journalist of the Catholic Peace Weekly in the Peace Column gives the readers some thoughts to reflect on.
When they reached the beach, they took off the priest's clothes, tied him with a rope, mocked him, and dragged him in front of the magistrate. Many people watched the scene. The magistrate looked down at Father Kim and asked: "Are you a Catholic?"
The writer reading from Fr. Kim's letters stopped to meditate on the magistrate's question. This short question made him think not without embarrassment: "Are you a Catholic journalist?"
He has lived as a Catholic journalist for a long time, but his eyes still are not able to read the signs of the times. The ability to interpret and read the signs in the light of the Gospel and the ability to communicate the interpretations in popular language does not increase. If that was all, it would be fortunate. Because of the fluctuations of the times, he has suffered from motion sickness, failing to focus on the truth of the Gospel, and become lazy.
What about the words and writings piled up on each other? Not one of them is being implemented properly. In "Praise of Folly", Erasmus with a great deal of satirical intoxication points out the foolishness of the times and the writer finds him referring to persons like himself. Father Kim answered the magistrate's question without hesitation, "Yes!" But the writer has no choice but to say: "I'm ashamed!"
The writer would like to have the magistrate appear in downtown Seoul to set up an interrogation station. In the middle of last month, women's civic groups advocating the abolition of the now present crime of abortion held a press conference for Catholics in front of the Sejong Center. Women who are Catholics say, "I am a Catholic. I am in favor of the abolition of abortion as a crime." They stood in front of the media's camera with hand signs. Some of the media delivered their claims emphasizing that they were "real" believers.
Four out of 10 female lawmakers who co-sponsored a bill to abolish the entire abortion crime are Catholics: since the right to self-determination of women is more important than the right to life of the fetus, criminal law requires that abortions be eliminated.
In the general election in April, of those elected, 83 considered themselves Catholics. This is 27.7% of the total number of members of the National Assembly (300). In other words, one out of four lawmakers is a Catholic believer. However, the writer couldn't find any believers who shouted that the right to life of the fetus should be protected. We are disappointed with those who separate life from their faith.
"Justice, O Lord, is on your side we are shamefaced even to this day" (Daniel 9:7). The prophet Daniel's confession should be ours. If we know how to be ashamed of shameful behavior, we are on the right path.
The Korean Episcopal Conference declared a Jubilee Year from November 29, the first Sunday of Advent, as the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. Andrew Kim. The question posed by the magistrate 174 years ago is the theme of the jubilee: "Are you a Catholic?" I hope that each of us in the Jubilee Year is prepared to answer this question.