Today is the feast of the countless martyrs of Korea, led by the indomitable convert priest, Father Andrew Kim Taegon, tortured and beheaded in 1846 at the tender age of 25, by the shores of the Han River. Thousands more were likewise killed for their faith, 103 of whom were canonized by name by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1984. Pope Francis beatified 124 others during World Youth Day in Korea in 2014.
Their work and their witness were not in vain: Korea today, by which most people mean ‘South Korea’, although mostly secular and atheistic, still boasts a nearly 30% Christian population amongst its 51 million, about 11% of that number Catholic. And from what I have heard, they are in the main zealous and orthodox. But there is still much work of evangelization to do.
North Korea, usually specified by its geographical adjective, on the other hand, was divided from Koreans in the south after World War II in 1945, when so many countries were given over to the insidious evil of Communism. A puppet regime was set up, which still exists today, suffering under the ridiculous, but fanatical and dangerous and evil antics of Kim Jong Un and his loyal henchmen. The country is more or less atheistic, under the cult of personality of its ‘great leader’. Christians make up less than 2% of their own 25 million population, all of them hidden and underground.