Gospel spread, grew in Korea without direct support from missionaries
A new book about Christianity in Korea says the faith spread throughout the country without any direct support from missionaries.
The book, “Inside the Catholic Church in Korea,” is published in both the Korean and English languages. The Korean edition has already been released, and the English translation will be forthcoming in the next few months, Asia News reported.
The book is the work of the Research Institute for Korean Church History. The English version was done by Father Patrick McMullan of the Missionary Society of St. Columbian in Korea, according to Asia News
Don Joseph Kim Seong Tae, director of the Research Institute wrote in the preface, “We felt the need for a book that succinctly summed up the history of our Church to make it accessible to all. I think it is an aid for those who wish to know the Korean Catholic Church,” Asia News reported.
According to Asia News, the book outlines Korean Catholicism from its persecution in the 18th century up until today. It is the first endeavor to present the story of the Korean Catholic church and its martyrs in a clear and more easily readable manner.
The book, which emphasizes the role the Korean laity played in the spread of the Catholic faith, notes that Christianity first came to the country in 1784 when a Korean came back from the Chinese court with a catechism that was written in Chinese by Matteo Ricci, Asia News said.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, some 20,000 people were martyred for their faith. The book also talks about the role that the church and Christianity played in bringing democracy to South Korea, Asia News reported.
Asia News quotes Monsignor Andrea Yom, Su Jeong, Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul and president of the research institute of the history of Korean Church who said, “This book contains the glorious history of our church through the work of the laity in Korea, but it also tells of their effort in spreading the Christian message in the present.”
According to Asia News, the bishop invited readers to ask themselves how they would have responded as a Christian under such persecution.