_ From the Editor:
_ Message for the 35th Caritas Sunday
_ Message for 2018 Biblical Week (November 25 – December 1,2018)
_ Message for the 37th Human Rights Sunday and the 8th Social Doctrine Week
_ Message for the 18th Week of the Sanctification of the Family
_ 2019 Pastoral Letters of the Diocesan Bishops
_ The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea
From the Editor:
Time to Pay More Attention to Our Neighbors
It is getting colder day by day and as time passes the economic recession is stressing out many of us. People’s complaining over their economic difficulties can be easily heard in markets, restaurants and other public places. However, we should remember those who are suffering more than others in these hard times and strive to help them. One who belongs to God must first treat those in need as people of God and should help them preserve their human dignity.
Our ancestors in faith exerted themselves to help their neighbors. At one time, during a long period of famine there were many children abandoned by their parents. However, there were our ancestors in faith who adopted such children and brought them up in the faith, despite their destitution and while hiding in the deep forest from persecution.
Unfortunately, there are still more than a few of our neighbors suffering from lack of food, basic necessities, and a shortfall in fees for education and medical services. There are also the poor and marginalized who, for various reasons, are unable to receive benefits from social welfare. Such people are in desperate need of care, and it is time to turn our gaze towards them.
Fortunately, many people are trying to help their poor neighbors even when they themselves find it difficult to make ends meet. Thanks to such people our society is getting better at welcoming others. It is not affluence but charity that leads people such as these to live simple lives of saving and sharing. What generosity such lives witness to!
We should embody such holiness in our daily lives. Who will be willing to offer themselves to God and to their neighbors if they do not believe in God? In fact, living a life of self-giving love seems like a foolishness. Moreover, life of faith itself seems to demand a continuing loss.
Many people living in this world of secular values are struggling for their own interests. Against the mentality of giving for the sake of getting, we believers should gratuitously give ourselves while seeking nothing in return. However, in life there is no real loss. This is because the Lord enriches our lives with true meaning: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt 19,21).
Fr. Thomas Aquinas Kim Joon Chul
Secretary General of the CBCK
Message for the 35th Caritas Sunday
“Invite the poor” (Lk 14,13)
Beloved brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ,
“Fathers and mothers in their 80’s are taking care of their sons and daughters over 40 years old. …… Poverty of the elderly is closely linked with that of the young.” This was the recent headline of a newspaper article in South Korea which highlights the difficulties faced by those living in today’s society. We face the challenges posed by the vicious cycle of poverty: elderly poverty, an emerging social issue, is accelerated by poverty among young people who fail to find jobs and who are still financially dependent on their parents. It is difficult to believe that Korea ranks top for elderly poverty rates amongst all OECD member countries while ranking as the twelfth largest economy in the world! On the occasion of this Caritas Sunday, we should reconsider the meaning of charity.
Pope Francis’ message for the First World Day of the Poor 2017 began with the words of St. John the Apostle: “Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth” (1Jn 3,18). Pope Francis always shows special affections for the poor. Furthermore he says, “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs” (Evangelii Gaudium, n.57). The Holy Father’s sayings remind us of Jesus in His infinite mercy. Jesus said, “Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” (Lk 14,13). We should welcome the poor. They cannot reward us for the mercy we show them but we will be rewarded by God. As we do so, we will find the way towards true happiness.
So far, we have considered charity as merely giving goods to the poor. The Church has often provided emergency aid without taking into serious consideration the causes of such poverty and ways to alleviate it. However, Pope Francis asks us to take a further step towards rooting out the social ills (structural evil) that lead to poverty (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, n.202). Neo-liberal capitalism has deified and absolutized the market to the extent of causing social exclusion, social imbalance and income inequality, thus causing more poverty (cf. ibid, n.56). As long as we fail to radically resolve the problems of the poor by fighting against the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problem (cf. ibid, n.202).
The first step of charity is ‘sympathy’ and ‘sharing’. Jesus came into this world in human flesh like our own, or rather He allowed Himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus loved us so much that He called us His brothers and sisters. Since all of us serve one God, the heavenly Father, we are all true brothers and sisters. As Jesus identified Himself with the “least” (Mt 25,40), we too should consider the “least” as our brothers and sisters and be with them. Pope Francis sent a donation for Yemeni refugees to the diocese of Cheju in July this year and asked all the faithful to more generously welcome the refugees as our brothers and sisters as we face this new social and geographical reality.
We should make God’s love incarnate in our lives of caritas and move beyond mere helping. The pastoral proposal of the Church prepared, last year, on the occasion of the first World Day of the Poor remains in effect this year. Let us ‘go out to meet the poor and invite and accompany them into our community’. Let us “offer the poor useful tools for a greater involvement in both ecclesial and social life” (cf. Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Pastoral Aid for the World Day of the Poor 2017 Love not in Word but in Deed). Let us practice charity to embody the Gospel!
December 16, 2018
The 35th Caritas Sunday
+ Timothy Yu Gyoung-chon
Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul
President Caritas Committee of the CBCK
Message for 2018 Biblical Week (November 25 – December 1, 2018)
“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul” (Ps 19,8)
Dear brothers and sisters,
In 2018, we prepared the Year of the Bible (running from the first Sunday of Advent 2019 to September 30 2020) with the theme, the Word and Life. I believe that all of you have meditated on the Word so that your lives might be deeply assimilated to the Word. For next year, we hope to be enriched by the grace of the Word by meditating on the second theme for the Year of Bible: Biblical Animation of Life.
Pope Francis emphasized how the Bible, which is permeated with the love of the Father, is the great story of the marvels of God’s mercy. When Pope Francis suggested celebrating a Day of the Word of God, he hoped that every Christian community would be renewed in its efforts to make the Sacred Scriptures better known and more widely spread. He also recommended that through undertaking creative initiatives the faithful might be encouraged to become living vessels for the transmission of God’s word (cf. Misericordia et Misera, n.7).
The Catholic Church in Korea has long celebrated its Bible Week in the 34th or the last week of Ordinary Time of the liturgical year. Through Bible Week, the Church has encouraged those engaged in the biblical apostolate to recognize their important mission and invited all believers to approach the Bible with affection. This year we are celebrating the 34th Bible Week and I hope that biblical apostolate volunteers will grow in their sense of vocation and that believers will be revitalized through biblical words.
The Psalmist sings that the Lord refreshes our lives and souls. “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. …… you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name” (Ps 23,1.3). “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple” (Ps 19,8). Thus the prayers of the psalms encourage us to know that the Lord is with us refreshing our lives and souls. It is through the Word that the Lord reveals His presence and refreshes our lives.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1,1). Christ, the Word, lived in this world as we live, raised up the dead, healed the sick, and comforted the poor. God who, in the beginning, created the world by His Word, recreates our lives through His Word. Thus, we should meditate on the Word, practice the Word, live with the Word, and live in the spirit of the Lord. The Word nourishes our spirits just as our daily bread nourishes our bodies.
When the Apostle Peter was going up to the temple with the Apostle John, he healed a man crippled from birth at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate”. He then gave an address to the people at “Solomon’s Portico”: “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus” (Acts 3,19-20). The Apostle Peter said that when we repent and are converted, God does not only forgive our sins but also renews us. When the man crippled from birth met the Apostle Peter at the gate of the temple, it was not just his body which was healed. He also experienced the presence of Christ in healing. He had distanced himself from the Lord, but his encounter offered him new strength in life.
“In the beginning, God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being” (Gn 2,7). As humankind fell into sin and consequently distanced themselves from God, God sent Christ, the Word to die for our sins and rise again. After His resurrection, Christ appeared before His disciples and blew the breath of the Holy Spirit upon them (cf. Jn 20,22), so that they were reborn as redeemed citizens of the heavenly kingdom. Through repentance and conversion to the Lord, we become fitting vessels to receive divine grace.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Christ saves us. The Word that is Christ comes to us and empowers our hearts and spirits to live according to His teachings. At the beginning of new year, let us endeavor to stay closer to the word of the Lord. The Church Fathers taught, ‘When we read the Bible, the Bible reads us’. When we find joy in the Word, we will be able to see ourselves with God’s eyes. May all believers experience the new grace of life that the Lord will bring to us through His words. The Lord wants to be with us and to infuse our lives and souls with vitality.
November 25, 2018
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
King of the Universe
+ Augustinus Kim Jong Soo
Auxiliary Bishop of Daejeon
President CBCK Biblical Committee
Message for the 37th Human Rights Sunday and the 8th Social Doctrine Week
Let us Remember the Spirit of the Early Church
Dear brothers and sisters,
Each year on the second Sunday of Advent, the Catholic Church in Korea celebrates Human Rights Sunday. Let us strive to make the light of the Gospel shine upon the reality of human rights, recalling how the early Christians stayed awake living in ‘eschatological time’ (kairos), which arrived with the Incarnation of God’s Son. Such an attitude can be helpful in preparing for the coming Christmas.
1. Today, it is not easy for Christians to reflect upon and talk about human rights. This is because the people of God have been afflicted by numerous scandals on both the universal and local Church levels. When it comes to the issue of human rights, Christians are likely to be ridiculed by others, saying “Physician, cure yourself” (Lk 4,23).
However, one who suffers can also be a “wounded healer”, as pointed out by Fr. Henri Nouwen. Hence following the social doctrine of the Church and the example of Pope Francis, we Christians should confront the reality of human rights abuses in the light of faith, and proclaim the Gospel as Jesus commanded. We should also strive to protect and promote human rights in concrete ways.
In our society, discrimination and violence are prevalent, especially towards women, the disabled, sexual minority(LGBT), migrants, temporary employees, young workers, the elderly, children, and victims of political conflicts. Such people’s human rights are often ignored and violated.
Last year the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea decided to pay more attention to migrant workers involved in farming and fishing, and prioritize them as a socially disadvantaged group.
The CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace and its Subcommittee for Labor Pastoral Care in collaboration with the CBCK Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents Living in Korea, after a year of research, has compiled ‘Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Migrant Workers Involved in Farming and Fishing.’ These guidelines are to be distributed to each diocese. On this Human Rights Sunday, therefore, I would like to invite you to keep foremost in your minds migrant workers involved in farming and fishing. At the same time, I would also like to outline a wide range of issues related with human rights, including women’s rights.
2. Sensitivity to human rights is based on having a deep understanding and respect for each other’s ‘differences’, even if those differences may cause inconvenience. According to the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, “the truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth” (no.1). This saying underpins our approach to human rights.
To a question about homosexuality, Pope Francis answered: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge gay people?” During his pastoral visit to Korea in 2014, Pope Francis expressed his deep condolence to victims of the Sewol Ferry disaster, saying “One cannot be neutral about human pain.” The Pope’s words illuminate the dignity of the human person in the light of the Gospel.
3. In general, in various areas of society a minority of people can be vulnerable to discrimination and violation of their human rights. Such a minority’s pain is aggravated by the indifference of the majority and those in positions of power, who do not take seriously the issues of discrimination and exclusion.
The Church in her long history has also fallen to the temptation to compromise with mainstream culture, favouring certain social groups over others. On the other hand, the early Church, as a minority religion, suffered as a result of misunderstandings and discrimination. During the early centuries, Christianity was severely persecuted due to its ‘difference’ from Greek and Roman cultures. In this sense, we may understand the biblical passage: “Jesus also suffered outside the gate. …… Let us then go to him outside the camp, bearing the reproach that he bore” (Heb 13,12-13). Consequently, the early Christians considered themselves as “aliens and sojourners” (1Pt 2,11) in a foreign land.
4. The Old Testament does not lack special love and care for aliens. In the Old Testament, one’s love for his or her neighbour is mentioned only once: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lv 19,18). Yet, the command to love aliens is repeated at least thirty-six times: “you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt” (Ex 23,9; cf. Lv 19,33-34; etc.).
Jews, from their own experiences, knew well what it was like to be expatriates, foreigners and aliens, and they strived to remember those experiences. Thus every year Jews celebrated the feast of Passover to commemorate the night when God helped their ancestors escape from their slavery in ancient Egypt.
5. It is often “the poor and lowly ones” (anawim) who accept and understand the Gospel first. Pope France in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, emphasized the words of his predecessor Benedict XVI: “the poor are the privileged recipients of the Gospel” (n.48). Just like twinkling stars in the midst of a dark night, only the poor and lowly ones can truly understand and accept God’s Word. They better see those who are in pain and discriminated against. Just as those who have suffered are able to truly understand those in pain, the Church can show compassion towards those who are misunderstood, discriminated against, and persecuted.
The Church should strive to always remember the spirit of the early Church. She should not just help the poor, but should identify herself with the poor. Only then, can the light of Gospel truly shine upon this painful world. When the Church identifies with the poor she can be renewed, evangelized, and, in turn, can evangelize the world. In this context, Pope Francis constantly invites us to “reach all the peripheries.”
6. We realize the fact that having a sensitivity to human rights is “invaluable but inseparable from faith”; it is intimately connected with a true and healthy faith. Ignoring or exploiting a minority and the weak is not just a violation of human nature and the rights of the person, but is also an attack on the divine nature and divine rights that all human beings possess. Because human beings are created in the image of God and God himself became flesh out of love for humanity.
In this sense, Pope Francis has said: “For the Church, the option for the poor is primarily a theological category rather than a cultural, sociological, political or philosophical one” (Evangelii Gaudium, n.198). In other words, the Church’s preference for and solidarity with those marginalized and discriminated against is not simply an act of charity but also an act of faith. The people of God firmly believe in God’s presence especially in the midst of the poor.
7. Dear brothers and sisters, we are living alongside many immigrants in this land. Among them, many barely make ends meet and endure poor working conditions such as those found in the farming and fishing industries. Regardless of race, language, culture or religion, such people are our brothers and sisters who are born of God. We, like the good Samaritan, should take the initiative to be good neighbors to those who are afflicted by discrimination of any type.
Christ came in the flesh into the world, born in the small town of Bethlehem and laid in an humble manger, in a feeding trough for animals. This year let us pray for our Saviour’s grace.
December 9, 2018
The second Sunday of Advent
+ Constantine Bae Ki Hyen
Bishop of Masan
President CBCK Committee for Justice & Peace
Message for the 18th Week of the Sanctification of the Family
Family, a Cradle of Life
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In this joyful season the world celebrates the Nativity of Jesus Christ, and we are enfolded by the warm and gentle light of faith and love of Mary and Joseph. Laying the baby Jesus in a manger, they exchange loving and sympathetic gazes in recognition of all the troubles they have faced together.
In the mystery of Christmas, we encounter Mary and Joseph who chose life, and faced with courage all their difficulties. Although they did not know how their baby would turn out, they would have been well aware of all the challenges a baby brings. Mary and Joseph could have made a different choice, but they welcomed life. Through their acceptance of life the Messiah came into the world.
We are all living creatures who depend on each other. This is especially true of those who are weak and rely on the care and help of others. The bonds of life are forged on the basis of mutual sharing and self-giving. However, if such sharing and self-giving is distorted into abuse and oppression, solidarity in life is doomed and our lives will come to perish in loneliness and isolation.
Today the culture of death prevails in our society, disrupting the interconnectedness of lives. The culture of death leads us to exploit and oppress others. It can lead one to use verbal and physical violence, which sometimes can lead to the crime of reckless killing. A frightening reality is that the culture of death can invade even the family, the cradle of life. All forms of violence between a husband and wife, between parents and children threaten the lives of all family members, especially weaker ones.
All lives are the unique creation of God. There can never be such a thing as a worthless life no matter how small it may be. The worth of human life is beyond value. No one can ever be possessed by an other. This is the case especially within families where special bonds of life between parents and children are nurtured. Parents should not try to possess their children by imposing their own values on them. Instead, they should take care of their children in faith and love, and encourage them to find meaning in their own lives by themselves.
Family is a cradle of life, which embraces each member in faith and love. Conjugal love can be completed by bringing forth and taking care of life. In this way, married couples participate in the holy journey of God’s redemptive work. God’s hands touch all married couples and their families in the same way as Mary and Joseph partake in the mystery of Christmas.
I wish to express my gratitude to those who courageously chose to preserve life and face all the subsequent challenges such a choice brings. May God bless them. In a deeper sense, they, like Mary and Joseph, chose Jesus, the Life. They are bearers of the light of salvation, witnessing to the divine economy of salvation. Even if people become more and more selfish, concerned only for their own lives, the divine economy of salvation will continue to be carried on by those brave people who are willing to embrace life at any cost.
My dear faithful,
Celebrating the week of the Sanctification of the Family, I encourage each family member to exchange tender and compassionate gazes with one another in a spirit of gratitude, just like Mary and Joseph. May the Lord pour out His abundant blessings on each Christian family who embraces life.
December 30, 2018
On the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
+ Linus Lee Seong-hyo
Auxiliary Bishop of Suwon
President CBCK Committee for Family & Life
2019 Pastoral Letters of the Diocesan Bishops
The diocesan bishops each issued 2019 pastoral letters. The main themes of these 2019 Pastoral Letters are as follow: ‘renewal of the Church’, ‘transforming pastoral structures’, ‘making efforts to mature the faith’, ‘putting into practice love’, ‘strengthening the family community’, and ‘invigorating ecological spirituality’. In particular, ‘the joy of the Gospel’ and ‘mission’ are the most noticeable themes in the 2019 pastoral letters of the various diocesan bishops.
H.E. Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, encouraged the building up of the Church community which proclaims the joy of the Gospel, saying “There cannot be a Church that does not proclaim the Gospel.” Cardinal Yeom said that the role of the family is important in proclaiming the Gospel as ‘the family is the foundation and seedbed of mission’. In this regard, he presented three roles for the family as preacher of the Gospel: a school where family members learn and cultivate love; a place where family members transmit their faith to the next generation; a tool by which to bring the joy of the Gospel to the world.
The Most Rev. Hyginus Kim Hee-joong, Archbishop of Gwangju, urged people to restore and consolidate the community spirit of both the family and the parish, saying “The mission of the Church begins with every single Christian who lives in the joy of the Gospel with gratitude.”
The Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Archbishop of Daegu, called upon the faithful, especially in this new year, to participate in the ‘campaign for the conversion of inactive Catholics’ and ask God for forgiveness of the sins of Christians who have left God and the Church.
The Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe, Bishop of Chunchon, recommended “to share the joy of faith in order to build up the community united in love.”
The Most Rev. Basil Cho Kyu-man, Bishop of Wonju, invited the faithful to put into practice love for family and neighbors, saying “Love is a hand to receive heavenly rewards bestowed by God.”
The Most Rev. Gabriel Chang Bong-hun, Bishop of Cheongju, urged all to preach the Gospel to the whole world in communion and with love.
The Most Rev. Joseph Son Sam-seok, Apostolic Administrator of Busan, emphasized the importance to preserve hope, the Lord’s gift, as St. Paul said “in hope we were saved” (Rom 8,24).
The diocesan bishops repeatedly called for a return to the sources of faith in life, such as Bible reading and prayer.
The Most Rev. John Baptist Jung Shin-chul, Bishop of Incheon, who set forth this new year as the ‘Year of Bible’, urged the faithful to make Bible reading and meditation a daily habit, and recommended reading the lives of the saints and the writings of the Church Fathers.
The Most Rev. John Kim Sontae, Bishop of Jeonju, recommended leading a life of faith, and emphasized the Bible in his pastoral letter entitled ‘Faith comes from what is heard’ (Rom 10,17).
As ‘renewal’ is an important subject of pastoral letters, the Most Rev. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Bishop of Daejeon, on the occasion of the Diocesan Synod, which began on May 8, 2018 and will conclude on May 8, 2019, called on the faithful to put into practice all the synodal deliberations for change and renewal.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Andong Diocese, the Most Rev. John Chrysostom Kwon Hyeok-ju, Bishop of Andong, said that the diocese will make a fresh start with the renewal movement in accordance with the biblical words “I make all things new” (Rev 21,5).
The Most Rev. Matthias Ri Iong-hoon, Bishop of Suwon, said, “As the world is changing towards the pursuit of more personalized services, we need to develop various missionary initiatives in respect to individual dispositions”. He then presented the task of ‘integrated pastoral care of a well-woven network’.
The Most Rev. Peter Lee Ki-Heon, Bishop of Uijeongbu, urged the faithful to develop the pastoral ministry focused on reconciliation of the Korean people, saying “The Lord has brought peace and joy to our people this year.”
The Most Rev. Constantine Bae Ki Hyen, Bishop of Masan, appealed for living lives filled with love and peace through mutual forgiveness. He stated: “It is God’s love that is the driving force enabling us to walk the path of peace to the end.”
The Most Rev. Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il, Bishop of the Military Ordinariate, chose the 2019 pastoral motto ‘Life to serve all.’ He invited the faithful to practice a kind, humble, and caring life of service based on fraternity, and follow the example of our Lord's love for us.
The Most Rev. Peter Kang U-il, Bishop of Cheju, expressed his gratitude to the parishes and the small ecclesial communities for their active participation in various efforts to reduce garbage, clean the beaches, and save the environment. He also recommended the faithful to live out of an ecological spirituality and work strenuously to revive our endangered ecology in 2019.
The Lives of 124 Blessed Martyrs of Korea
John Choe Chang-hyeon (1759-1801)
John Choe Chang-hyeon was born in 1759 in Seoul, into a translator’s family which lived in Ipjeong-dong. His childhood name was ‘Gwan-cheon’ and Matthias Choe In-gil, who was martyred in 1795, was his uncle, though younger than he.
John Choe who learned the catechism in the winter of 1784, soon after the Catholic Church in Korea was established, became a Catholic. He was talented in the area of literature and devoted himself to translating church books from Chinese into Korean. This was a great help to Catholics who did not know Chinese characters. John Choe was peaceful and prudent by nature, and performed his duties diligently and fairly.
John Choe was asked, by the leaders of the Church, to play the role of chairperson among the catechists. In this role he instructed the faithful to practice Church teaching properly and was zealous in helping with Church affairs. His lectures on Catholic doctrine were widely known. The faithful appreciated his religious knowledge and virtues, loving, trusting and respecting him.
After the Sinhae Persecution broke out in 1791 some Catholic leaders distanced themselves from the Church, but John Choe remained faithful and continued to work for the Church. He discussed with leaders of the Church plans to invite priests to Korea. And he actually took the initiative for implementing the plan and carried it out.
In late 1794, when Father James Zhou Wen-mo came to Korea, John Choe continued to perform his duties as a catechist. He attended the Mass of Father James Zhou and received the Sacraments. He also prepared and served Mass with devotion, and studied the Gospel with the faithful and proclaimed with sincerity.
Immediately after the Shinyu Persecution broke out in 1801, John Choe temporarily escaped to the house of a believer but ultimately had to return to his family due to illness. It was then that he was arrested by the police who searched his house with the aid of an informer. At first he was taken to Police Headquarters, but when it was revealed that he was one of the Church leaders he was transferred to the Supreme Court for interrogation.
During the first interrogation at the Supreme Court, John Choe became weak and failed to witness to his faith in God. However, he did not reveal anything about Church activities. During the trial he had to go through severe interrogation and was tortured many times. Throughout this period, he demonstrated his bravery and repented his previous weakness and professed his faith in God with courage.
“I have no believers to reveal, thus, I have no choice but to die. I deeply repent that I betrayed God and Jesus Christ in the past and I am resolved now to die for God. I have no fellow Catholics to report on.”
John Choe declared himself ‘a leader of the Church’ and was subsequently sentenced to death. He was taken outside the Small West Gate in Seoul with other members of the faithful, where he was beheaded and died a martyr on April 8, 1801 (February 26, by the Lunar calendar). John Choe was forty-two years old.