During the Japanese occupation, at least 200,000 women from numerous Asian countries were taken as comfort women for Japanese soldiers. It remains a contentious issue to this day.
Last year a South Korean court ordered the Japanese government to pay compensation to Korean women turned into sex slaves during the Japanese occupation there.
As Papua New Guineans in particular and the Melanesian Catholic Church, in general, commemorate Peter To Rot’s beatification and papal visit on Jan. 17, his act of faith once again is brought to public attention.
His martyrdom can be an inspiration for Christians in many parts of the world where religious persecution continues, particularly on the Asian and African continents.
Over 340 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution and discrimination, according to Open Doors’ World Watchlist List 2021. Four Asian nations — North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India — are among the top 10 worst countries on the list. His martyrdom may motivate them to be steadfast in the faith.
Blessed To Rot’s stellar contribution to humankind is “his ardent defense of Catholic marriage against customary polygamy which shows us how highly To Rot considered the dignity of women,” wrote Father Thomas Ravaioli in Church Live, a Catholic family magazine.