Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review . . . The Blood Of Martyrs In China

April 1, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By DONAL FOLEY

The Red Book of Chinese Martyrs: Testimonies and Autobiographical Accounts by Gerolamo Fazzini (Ignatius Press, 374 pages; sale prices $14.41 print, $11.02 e-book). Order through Ignatius Press, at www.ignatius.com, or call 1-800-651-1531 (web discounts do not apply to phone orders).

This book is a sobering account of the persecution, and in some cases martyrdom, of Chinese Catholics, mainly during the time of Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), from the mid-1940s until the early 1980s. The author, Gerolamo Fazzini, is Italian and the Ignatius Press edition is a translation from the Italian. Fazzini is associated with PIME, the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.
After Mao’s Communist forces had defeated the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek in 1949, and gained power in China, they gradually began to move against all opposing forces in the country, including the Catholic Church, which was accused of “imperialism.”
At this point, there were about three and a half million Catholics in China, including over 5,000 priests, nearly half of whom were native Chinese. There were even more nuns, in excess of 300 seminarians, and over 100 dioceses or archdioceses. The Church was responsible for a large social apostolate, including over 200 hospitals and nursing homes, three universities, and nearly 200 high schools. In addition, the Legion of Mary had a strong and growing presence.
But gradually, the Communists moved to repress “counterrevolutionary activities,” and developed a propaganda campaign against the Church, involving repeated mass campaigns, such that by 1951, persecution of Catholics was taking place all over the country, with the aim of exercising total government control over all religious activities. There were numerous arrests, and schools, convents, and seminaries were closed, while foreign missionaries were forced to leave China or face imprisonment or expulsion.
In October 1951, large numbers of Chinese and foreign clergy in Peking were arrested, leading to trials and in some cases death sentences. By the end of the year, there were 22 bishops in prison, and over 1,000 foreign missionaries had been expelled. By the mid-1950s, the Church in China was “almost completely confined to the prisons and labor camps.”
That is the background to the experiences of the particular individuals whose stories are recounted in this book, and they comprise three priests and a laywoman, as well as a large community of Trappist monks. Only the monks actually died, but the long-term sufferings of some of the priests in prisons and labor camps were a veritable martyrdom in themselves.
The first two accounts, those of Fr. Tan Tiande and Fr. John Huang Yongmu, are autobiographical and consist of diaries recording their imprisonment, including forced labor, which lasted 30 and 25 years respectively. There is also a short biography of another priest, and an autobiographical account from a young woman, Gertrude Li Minwen, which was smuggled out of the country in the shoes of an Italian missionary.
The final section is a harrowing account of the martyrdom of the 33 Cistercian monks from Yangjiaping, who were literally “marched to death” in 1947.
One of the big obstacles to such accounts becoming better known has been the ideological bias in favor of Chinese Communism displayed by Maoist sympathizers in the West, so this book performs a very useful service in giving us the unvarnished truth about the sufferings of Catholics under Mao, the self-styled “Great Helmsman.”
Indeed, a case can be made that Mao ranks as the foremost mass-murderer of all time, given that an internal Communist Party document puts the number of “non-natural” deaths during the “Great Leap Forward,” which took place from 1958-1961, at 80 million.
For the Catholics imprisoned under Mao — those in the category of “enemies without guns” — the regime was very harsh, and included a “reeducation” process. This often involved endless interrogations, mass meetings, indoctrination courses, and forced public confessions of guilt, with the whole thing designed to break down the resistance of the prisoner.
It is interesting to note that as part of Fr. John Huang Yongmu’s reeducation program in prison, not only did he have to study the historical development of socialism, but he was also indoctrinated in the theory of evolution. He was instructed that mankind is descended from apes, in teaching expressly designed to deny the existence of God.
He describes what life in the camps was like:
“During the ‘Great Leap Forward’ we worked shifts of twelve hours a day and often more, so that I was completely exhausted. . . . We were permitted to rest only five or six hours per day. Despite this, I always recited five decades of the Rosary each day and the litanies of Our Lady for the souls in purgatory. Once I had been put in prison, I used to recite mentally the whole Mass from memory while lying down in bed.”
Fr. Tan Tiande underwent nearly 30 years of hard labor in a cold northeastern province of China. He describes how on occasion he was locked up “in an extremely small and narrow room. All day long the only thing I could do was to remain seated with my legs crossed. . . . I was not allowed to speak to anyone at all, . . . otherwise I would be subjected to a painful tongue lashing.”
But the harshness of his treatment did not break his spirit, or quench his zeal for the faith, and on his release he carried out an extensive pastoral ministry well into his 90s. One foreign missionary, who knew him after his release, said: “To encounter him is a blessing; one sees how fidelity to Christ and a complete and undivided love for Him can make a life beautiful.”
The Cistercian monks of Our Lady of Consolation Monastery at Yangjiaping had to endure particularly appalling treatment. They were forced out of their monastery on a “long march” for months on end, on the steep paths of the northern mountains, in the heat of summer, the rains of autumn, and the cold of winter.
Their hands were tied behind their backs with wire, they were forced to carry the baggage of the soldiers, and they were subject to constant brutality and ridicule. One by one they died along the way, while six were executed during this tragic “Way of the Cross.”
The situation for the Church did not really begin to improve until well after the Cultural Revolution of the mid to late 1960s, and the death of Mao, in 1976. There are various estimates as to the number of Catholics in China today, but a figure in excess of 10 million seems probable, so once again we see a fulfillment of Tertullian’s saying that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.
The book has a preface by Joseph Cardinal Zen, the emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, and it certainly makes good lenten reading. The number of those in China who had to shoulder Christ’s cross of suffering was not insignificant, and we should realize that our fellow Christians are likewise undergoing persecution in many parts of the world — as indeed some still are in China today.
And it is not impossible that we in the West could face persecution ourselves at some point in the future.

+    +    +

(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related web site at www.theotokos.org.uk.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Cardinal Zen on dubia: ‘Very respectful request by those bishops and Cardinals to have a clear statement’

February 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Joseph Zen in an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo expressed his support for the four Cardinals’ dubia that asks for clarification on the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia’s chapter 8. “I suppose it is a…Continue Reading

These Catholic parishes openly celebrate LGBT. Why aren’t bishops stopping it?

January 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – As controversy continues to rage over Pope Francis’ doctrines on communion for the divorced and remarried, an even more controversial practice proliferating in the shadows for decades is becoming increasingly open and explicit: same-sex couples…Continue Reading

Michael J. Novak, Jr. [1933 – 2017]

Theologian, public intellectual, and close friend of the Acton Institute, Michael J. Novak Jr., passed away last night on February 17, 2017. Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico reflects on the passing of his friend and mentor Michael Novak,…Continue Reading

Twitter erupts with dubious reaction to Cardinal Cupich’s post on marriage document’s ‘absolute clarity’

February 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich tweeted Tuesday that Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia document was in full fidelity with the Catholic Church and absolutely clear in the expression of its teaching on marriage, but users of the…Continue Reading

More essential than ever for Catholic hospitals to maintain distinct identity: Cardinal Burke

Catholic health-care institutions are needed today more than ever, Cardinal Raymond Burke told a conference on Catholic hospitals in Ohio last week. “Our country suffers the scourge of an attack on the dignity of human life,” the cardinal said. He…Continue Reading

Council of Cardinals pledges allegiance to Pope Francis

ROME, February 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – In an odd note without explanation placed on the Vatican’s daily press briefing today, the Council of Cardinals, a group of 10 Cardinals which Pope Francis has delegated to work with him on reform,…Continue Reading

Conference Looks Beyond ‘Crisis’ of Catholic Colleges, Debunks ‘Land O’ Lakes Statement’

The day after an historic and widely-covered March for Life, presidents from four Newman Guide colleges and Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick Reilly presented on the future of Catholic higher education at the “CRISIS: Catholic Higher Education and the Next…Continue Reading

Top Restaurants Will Sell Cookies to Raise Money for Planned Parenthood Abortion Business

A handful of Chicago restaurants are baking cookies and selling them through Feb. 24, with the proceeds benefitting the abortion group Planned Parenthood, the Chicago Eater reported.

Roman Catholic Church of Philippines Criticizes Duterte’s Bloody Drug War

The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs in a sermon read out during Sunday’s services, marking its strongest opposition yet to a flagship policy that has led to the deaths of more…Continue Reading

Catholic conservatives level criticism against pope

VATICAN CITY —Conservative criticism of Pope Francis intensified Saturday after his intervention in the Knights of Malta order, with posters appearing around Rome citing his actions against conservative Catholics and asking: “Where’s your mercy?” The posters appeared on the same…Continue Reading

U.S. archbishop visits Vietnam to show solidarity, offer support

CHICAGO (CNS) — U.S. bishops sent their immediate past president to Vietnam to see how they could help with the first college-level Catholic school approved in the Asian country in about 40 years. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky,…Continue Reading

Nancy Pelosi Tells Adopted Woman: Your Mom Should Have Had the “Choice” to Abort You

nancyp

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has made some pretty outrageous statements about abortion in the past. During a recent CNN Town Hall event, Pelosi stuck her foot in her mouth again when she told a young woman who was adopted…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Washington D.C. Becomes 6th Place in the U.S. to Legalize Assisted Suicide

A Washington, D.C. law allowing doctors to prescribe their patients lethal drugs to commit suicide went into effect Saturday after U.S. Congress failed to block the measure, the Washington Times reports. The district is the sixth area in the U.S. to legalize the deadly procedure, following Oregon, Washington state, Vermont, California and Colorado. The D.C. council passed the law at the end of 2016, despite wide-spread opposition from African Americans, people with disabilities, medical professionals,…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke urges massive U.S. crowd to defend faith amid Church confusion

cburk12

LENEXA, Kansas, February 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The façade of Cardinal Raymond Burke as a boogeyman of tradition projected by his critics and the media was nowhere to be found last Friday when he gave his usual clear witness to the Catholic faith before an overflow crowd in the Kansas City area. Cardinal Burke delivered a stirring, clear message on defending the Catholic faith amid the current confusion in the Church that was embraced with…Continue Reading

Again More Questions than Answers . . . MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS ON THE OCCASION OF THE WORLD MEETINGS OF POPULAR MOVEMENTS IN MODESTO

Dear Brothers and Sisters, First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your effort in replicating on a national level the work being developed in the World Meetings of Popular Movements. By way of this letter, I want to encourage and strengthen each one of you, your organizations, and all who strive with you for “Land, Work and Housing,” the three T’s in Spanish: Tierra, Trabajo y Techo. I congratulate you for all…Continue Reading

U.S. House votes to overturn Obama regulation forcing states to fund Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The  U.S. House of Representatives voted 230 to 188 today to overturn former President Obama’s “eleventh hour” HHS rule forcing states to give Title X money to organizations that commit abortions. Title X money comes from the government to fund “family planning services,” but technically not abortion. Before he left office, Obama pushed through an HHS regulation that essentially forces states to give Planned Parenthood Title X

When Cardinals Clash

It was easily predictable that the Amoris Laetitia (particularly footnote 351), would lead to jarring assaults on the Church’s doctrinal unity – even by some of the Church’s own shepherds. Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, has just joined the ranks of prelates who say that Pope Francis has authorized giving Holy Communion to those in adulterous second “marriages

Ex-Planned Parenthood Worker . . . Recalls Webcam Abortion Opposition, Sees Hope For Pro-Life Cause

By PEGGY MOEN ST. PAUL — Sue Thayer told her February 15 audience here that “an immediate stopper” in a debate with a pro-abort is this quotation from President Reagan: “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” Thayer was addressing the Legislative Dinner of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, held here at the…Continue Reading

Reopening The Question Of Women Priests… A Theological Travesty And A Spiritual Tragedy

By JEFFREY MIRUS (Editor’s Note: Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. This commentary first appeared on CatholicCulture.org, and LifeSiteNews featured it on February 13. All rights reserved.) + + + La…Continue Reading

Even As “Assisted Suicide” Looms . . . Ethics Expert Tells How Roe V. Wade Might Be Reversed

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — “If you want to see what a Roe v. Wade reversal looks like, read Washington v. Glucksberg,” a national expert on medical ethics and the law told a Catholic physicians’ meeting here while he also warned against an accelerating effort to legalize “assisted suicide” in the states. With speculation rising…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred… Silence As An Expression Of The Sacred

By JAME MONTI In a recent interview concerning his new book, The Power of Silence, His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah observed, “Before God’s majesty, we lose our words” (Catholic World Report, October 3, 2016). Silence is man’s humble reply to the glory and transcendence of His Creator, a reply that even the high and mighty…Continue Reading

The Fatima Centenary . . . The Historical Context Of The Fatima Event

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of monthly articles on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.) + + + There is no better time to more deeply learn, live, and spread the message…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Signs Of Growth At “The Margins” Of The Church

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Why does a young man of 18 years old put on a suit and tie on Sunday morning, leaving his parents and sisters behind, to drive to a more distant parish? To attend the Traditional Latin Mass. I’d noticed him for a few weeks along with our growing Sunday Traditional Mass congregation and met him…Continue Reading

The Meaning Of Original Sin

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 25 Haven’t you met Catholic people who question the gravity of Adam’s sin? They do believe that all humans stem from a single couple, yes, but they find it hard to accept that stealing an apple is such a big deal. Surely God could not be that much offended by that! Such people argue…Continue Reading

The Liturgical Celebration Of The Eucharist

By DON FIER As narrated in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and in the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper on the night before He died. Jesus and His apostles had just traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the great Jewish feast of Passover in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Following up on a recent reply about the failure of Jesuit colleges and universities to uphold Catholic morality, the Cardinal Newman Society has reported that most members of Congress who graduated from Catholic institutions have pro-abortion voting records. Of the 56 Jesuit college alumni who hold seats in the new Congress, said Matt Archbold of the Cardinal Newman…Continue Reading

The Meaning Of Mammon

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eighth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 49:14-15 1 Cor. 4:1-5 Matt. 6:24-34 In the Gospel reading today, our Lord tells us that we cannot serve two masters. We will either hate the one and love the other or we will be devoted to one and despise the other. Then He states the point…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Church different saints have had special devotions. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Peter Julian Eymard had a great devotion to the Real Presence, and Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco had a deep devotion to the Most Precious Blood. (The Catholic Church recognized this…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Geltrude Caterina Comensoli

By CAROLE BRESLIN (Editor’s Note: Some sources give this saint’s name as Gertrude, but the Vatican’s website calls her Geltrude.) + + + Can there be any nobler calling than to promote adoration of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ really and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament? St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and St.…Continue Reading