There are a great number of Koreans who consider that Thomas An Jung-geun, a man who assassinated the Japanese Prime Minister in 1909 and was executed a few months later, might be a candidate for beatification or even canonization. The Church had condemned the murder, but in 1993, Cardinal Kim of Seoul offered a public Mass for An, and now the archdiocese is preparing to initiate the beatification process.
The comparison is being made with Joan of Arc. Well, I am now going to risk alienating all my new-found French friends by saying that I have never really been able to get my head around la Pucelle.
I mean, if An, then why not Anthony Babington?
Or Guy Fawkes?
Or Michael Collins?
Or Eamon de Valera?
There will be those who will redouble their efforts for the beatification of Francisco Franco. Or even Augusto Pinochet! After all (despite a little skulduggery on the side) these two did fight the enemies of the Church as well as those they considered the political enemies of their country.
And what about the other side? Oh, the list could go on and on.
I do hope that there is no suggestion that An be beatified as a martyr!
You can read more about An's potential for beatification here, on the UCA Asian Catholic news site. If you click on the 'opinion' button, make sure you're sitting down with a good glass of something strong.