First of all, although some might find it hard to believe for a soldier and a general but St Joan of Arc never killed anyone in her life. She had a sword and she wore armor but according to all that I have read, and her own testimony, she never took the life of anyone. She stated at her trial that when she rode into battle she preferred to carry her banner rather than her sword for fear that she might kill someone. The only thing she is known to have used her sword for was to use the flat of it to strike prostitutes who followed the army. In battle, she mostly preferred waving her special banner to rally and inspire the French soldiers who did the actual fighting. She was wounded, very badly wounded at times, because she was at the front, leading her soldiers and urging them onward but never did she ever actually kill anyone herself. Furthermore, St Joan of Arc did not want anyone to die, French or English. She would plead with the English before battle to leave in peace and go back home to England, she was as much concerned for the souls of her English enemies as she was her own countrymen.
|Prince Ito Hirobumi and the|
Crown Prince of Korea
Of course, there are still some differences. Balthasar Gerard could claim to be acting on instructions from his sovereign lord the King of Spain, at least in a way. Again, we have the difference of there being an actual war going on between the Dutch rebels and the Kingdom of Spain. During the Dutch War for Independence, King Philip II of Spain declared the Prince of Orange to be a “pest on the whole of Christianity and the enemy of the human race” and offered a reward of 25,000 crowns to anyone who dispatched this traitorous rebel, which to Spain he certainly was. Balthasar Gerard acted on this and shot and killed Willem the Silent on July 10, 1584. He was arrested by the Dutch, given a trial and condemned to death. However, whereas the Japanese simply hanged Ahn Jung Geun, Balthasar Gerard was sentenced to death by slow torture, having his right hand burned off, the flesh torn from his body, his arms and legs were cut off, he was disemboweled, had his heart cut out and shown to him before finally being beheaded. Ouch. And this was after enduring four days of other horrific tortures before his actual execution. Ahn Jung Geun fared much better. The Japanese did not torture him, helped him write the story of his life, gave him special treats for the new year celebration and his warden brought him a special set of white Korean clothes for him to be executed in as he requested.
|Anh Jung Geun|
I find it astonishing that any Catholic, even if they are Koreans burning with national pride and eternal hatred of Japan, could propose canonizing someone who is only known to history for being an assassin. I find it deplorable that he is being compared to someone like St Joan of Arc, a spotless example of Christian compassion, virtue, heroism and loyalty, showing the sort of loyalty that stood firm even when it was not returned and I find it, frankly, disgusting that this could actually be given serious consideration. After all, even if we are to toss religious and Christian principles out the window and look only at plain, dirty, political considerations, it still makes no sense. Remember again the case of Balthasar Gerard. He was not canonized but the fact that he was so popular among some Catholics and that it was considered made Protestant leaders like Queen Elizabeth I in England extremely paranoid and this resulted in a great deal of persecution for totally innocent Catholics. Obviously the Japanese would be greatly offended to see Ahn Jung Geun canonized and the Christian minority in Japan as well (just as Ahn Jung Geun is cheered by Protestant as well as Catholic Koreans and Chinese atheists all at the same) but think of how other presidents, prime ministers and assorted national leaders will look at their Catholic citizens in the future if the Church declares a man who assassinated a prime minister to be a saint. Will this gain the Church greater acclaim or will it make every world leader, particularly those paranoid, dictatorial types, start to look at the Catholics in their populations as a threat to national security, a group of people who might decide to become a saint by murdering their leader or a foreign political leader and sparking a war?