Seoul Man, a Saintly Assassin

I suspect Father Jim Martin won't be writing about this guy anytime soon, but in South Korea he is apparently held in high regard: On October 26, 1909, in Harbin, northeastern China, Thomas An Jung-geun assassinated Ito Hirobumi, Japan’s first prime minister and the first Japanese resident general of Korea. He was later executed by the Japanese on March 26, 1910.

Seoul archdiocese’s Preparatory Committee for Beatification and Canonization held a symposium on Sept. 28 to discuss the possibility of canonizing this “Catholic patriot." Apparently the overwhelming view of attendees was that An should eventually be canonized.

UCAN reports:"Koreans regard An’s killing of Ito as a symbol of Korea’s resistance against Japanese imperialism. Korea suffered greatly under Japanese colonial rule which ended in 1945.

"For years the Catholic Church condemned the murder, but changed its position when the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan of Seoul officiated at a Mass for An in 1993, during which he said: 'An acted in righteous defense of the nation. The Catholic Church does not regard killing committed to defend the nation from unjust aggression as a crime.'"

One supporter likened An to St. Joan of Arc, likewise known for her sanguinary saintliness, and said An’s killing of Hirobumi was “an act to witness God’s justice at great risk to his own life.”

UCAN notes: "Seoul Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, president of the preparatory committee, said last year that the archdiocese is ready for the beatification process of An and would review his cause soon."

Bill Mazzella
5 years 5 months ago
Bring back the Crusades. Return to blessing of weapons, battle ships and items of mass destruction. An eye for an eye. I guess those live by the sword will no longer die by the sword.
Beth Cioffoletti
5 years 5 months ago
"The Catholic Church does not regard killing committed to defend the nation from unjust aggression as a crime.'"

It may not be a crime, but is it cause for sainthood?

" ...An’s killing of Hirobumi was “an act to witness God’s justice at great risk to his own life.”

This doesn't sound right to me.  Killing as a witness to God's justice???

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

This is not a country at ease with itself, if it ever were. The United Kingdom continues to display more and more intolerance and anger.
David StewartFebruary 24, 2017

On St. Patrick’s Day, we celebrate our Irish heritage and our good fortune to be Americans.

George J. MitchellFebruary 24, 2017
“The Catholic Church stands in love with the Jewish community in the current face of anti-Semitism.”
Michael O'LoughlinFebruary 24, 2017
Addressing 90 experts from many countries, Francis said that “all people have a right to safe drinking water.”
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 24, 2017