Abstract

The role played by French Catholic missionaries in overseas evangelization during the nineteenth century was considerable. Their significance was not limited to their numerical contribution—the French Church is viewed as subscribing to a rigorous spirituality characterized by contempt for the world. This spirituality is seen, in the case of the Catholic Church in Korea, as having created a ghetto mentality, which dominated the Church until the 1970s. However, the spirituality of the French Church was more nuanced and varied than this model suggests. The Counter-Reformation ensured that the salvation of the individual soul became paramount, while the French Revolution encouraged the French Church to rediscover its commitment to overseas missions. The spirituality passed to the Korean Church might assist its confessors and martyrs in enduring persecution, but it gave to the Church as a whole the concept of charity and the imperative to relieve the suffering of others.

pdf