Friday 4th September 2015

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

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Head of CDF, Cardinal Müller warns of a split as big as the Reformation

The Prefect of the CDF, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, has criticized in Regensburg on Tuesday a “climate of the German claim to leadership for the whole universal Church”. At a book presentation, he pointed out the high number of people leaving…Continue Reading

When Defiance of Marriage Law Was Hailed as Heroic

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who will not issue marriage licenses to anyone because, she says, she cannot in good conscience issue them to same-sex couples is being sharply criticized for lawlessness and abuse of her office. Consider…Continue Reading

Good News . . . Brief update on Father John Corapi

A bit of good news to share: A reliable source has informed me that Father John Corapi, a popular priest among orthodox Catholics who departed public life after a tumultuous period a few years ago, remains in the priesthood and…Continue Reading

9th Shocking Video: Planned Parenthood Sells Intact Aborted Babies, One “Just Fell Out” of the Womb

The Center for Medical Progress released a new video this morning — the 9th in its series of videos catching the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling aborted babies and their body parts. This latest video catches a Planned Parenthood medical…Continue Reading

All priests will be able to forgive sin of abortion during Jubilee for Mercy

September 1, 2015 7:33 AM Vatican City, Sep 1, 2015 / 06:33 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a new set of pastoral guidelines for the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy Pope Francis has made some significant moves, allowing all priests to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Francis Arinze: 50 years as a Bishop

Yesterday Saturday 29 August 2015, Francis Cardinal Arinze, 82, marked fifty years as a Bishop. In an interview with Vatican Radio’s English Africa Service to mark to the milestone, Cardinal Arinze was in high spirits. Although now retired and living…Continue Reading

Russians to construct ‘the tallest statue of Jesus Christ in the world’

Towering 80 meters monument to ‘Christ the Teacher’ by Zurab Tsereteli to find home in Vladivostok, Christian Telegraph reports according to RISU. The statue was cast in 2013 by Tsereteli, the famous Georgian-Russian sculptor, known for his gigantic projects such…Continue Reading

If You Still Support Planned Parenthood, You Are Simply Not A Decent Person

Another Planned Parenthood video has been released. I promised I would write about every new video that comes out, so here is my write up on the latest. Please read and share. I don’t usually ask you to share things…Continue Reading

“Catholic” Group Sends Cakes to Thank Planned Parenthood Staff After It Sells Aborted Babies

Apparently, Catholics for Choice want their friends at Planned Parenthood to know how appreciated they are since they will be “harassed” tomorrow at the protests across the country regarding their organ harvesting business.  As LifeNews previously reported, tens of thousands…Continue Reading

Facebook’s very (very) suspicious ‘trending’ Planned Parenthood story

Update Aug. 20, ’15 at 7:54 AM EST: I woke up this morning, and lo and behold, the “trending” news topic had changed. It now reads, “7th video critical of organization released by anti-abortion group.” That’s more like it. I…Continue Reading

Questions raised after pro-life activist Twitter accounts suspended without warning: one now restored

ONTARIO, August 20, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A pro-life activist campaigning against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s abortion extremism as well as a pro-life organization on a mission to show the violent reality of abortion through large graphic billboards had their Twitter…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone thankful for San Francisco teacher contract agreement

San Francisco, Calif., Aug 23, 2015 / 06:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Efforts to promote Catholic culture in the San Francisco archdiocese’s high schools and to agree on a contract acceptable for the schools’ teachers concluded on Wednesday with a new…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 145 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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: Sowing divisions is a sickness in the Church

pope893

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says sowing divisions and discord is a sickness within the Church and described a person who indulges in gossip as like a terrorist who throws bombs. His comments came during his homily at his Friday (4th September) Mass in the Santa Marta residence. Taking his inspiration from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians where the Apostle spoke of how Christ was sent by God to sow reconciliation and peace among humanity,…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: The astonishment at the encounter with Jesus

(Vatican Radio) The capacity to recognize ourselves as sinners opens us to the astonishment at the encounter with Jesus: that was the message of Pope Francis Thursday morning during Mass for the feast of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church. Pope Francis’ homily focused on the day’s Gospel reading which tells the story of the miraculous catch of fish. After working throughout the night without catching anything, Peter, trusting in Jesus,…Continue Reading

General Audience: love of family combats city desertification

(Vatican Radio) An estimated 15 thousand people were in St Peter’s Square for the Pope’s General audience on Wednesday, as he continued his catechesis on the family, which this week focused on the importance of families in spreading the faith. The Holy Father underlined that by creating the foundations of a solid faith in the home, the fruits are revealed in a more humane society. The Pope said that the alliance of the family with…Continue Reading

Saints Will Welcome Families, Pope to Philadelphia

St. John Neumann Was Bishop of the City and St. Katharine Drexel Was Born Here United States of America, August 31, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter When Pope Francis and thousands of families arrive next month to Philadelphia, they are sure to be welcomed by two saints with ties to the city. Fr. Thomas Rosica, English-language assistant for the Vatican press office, has compiled the following biographies: * * * ST. JOHN NEPOMUCENE NEUMANN, C.SS.R. (1811-1860)…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred… A Champion of Fitting Worship

By JAMES MONTI On a recent visit to the chapel of a Catholic nursing facility I observed an elderly resident arriving with her walker to spend time in the presence of the Lord. With her infirmity she obviously could not be expected to offer anything more than a gentle nod toward the Tabernacle before transferring…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . This Belongs On Every Catholic Pro-Lifer’s Bookshelf

By REY FLORES Redeemed by Grace — A Catholic Woman’s Journey to Planned Parenthood and Back by Ramona Trevino with Roxane Salonen. Ignatius Press: 2015; hardcover, $17.95; 157 pages. To order, visit ignatius.com or call 1-800-651-1531. Almost anyone who is either Catholic or involved in the pro-life cause has heard of Abby Johnson. Johnson, of…Continue Reading

Reconnecting With Mary . . . The Sabbatine Privilege

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY We recently celebrated, on July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which, according to tradition, is associated with the giving of the Brown Scapular to St. Simon Stock on that date in 1251. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him with the scapular saying, “This will be for you…Continue Reading

Is Trumpism The New Nationalism?

By PATRICK BUCHANAN Since China devalued its currency 3 percent, global markets have gone into a tailspin. Why should this be? After all, 3 percent devaluation in China could be countered by a U.S. tariff of 3 percent on all goods made in China, and the tariff revenue used to cut U.S. corporate taxes. The…Continue Reading

The Family Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris Presents Many Grave Problems

By MAIKE HICKSON After reading the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) for the upcoming October 2015 Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, when it was first published in June, the author of this short article was somewhat stunned and increasingly troubled. Yet I was soon helped by others to acquire a better understanding. It is…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. The Supreme Court has a history of immoral decisions, such as declaring black slaves as property, permitting credit card companies to charge usurious interest rates, allowing the public sale of contraceptives, okaying the killing of unborn babies, and approving sodomy. What’s next? Polygamy? Incestuous “marriage”? Person-animal “marriage”? It would appear that we are on a par with Sodom of…Continue Reading

Take Up Your Cross

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 50:5-9a James 2:14-18 Mark 8:27-35 Faith is a great gift and, given the times in which we live, it is more necessary than ever that we have our faith. However, in the second reading today St. James says that faith without works is dead. He then gives…Continue Reading

Communiqué Issued at the end of the Pro-Life Conference In Accra, Ghana (August 8-9

Preamble In response to the increasing violation of the sanctity and dignity of human life and the continuing culture of death in Ghana and around the world, and in line with Pope Francis’ call for the need to sustain and support marriage and family life, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the priests, religious and laity of the Catholic Church in…Continue Reading

End Media Blackout On Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Scandal

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The baby parts sale scandal at Planned Parenthood is being aided and abetted by another scandal: the refusal of vast portions of the mainstream media to cover the issue. The release of numerous videos that detail the brutal and criminal killing and dismembering even of babies outside of the womb in order to obtain body…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course… The Man Jesus — Humanity At Its Perfection

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 17 What was Jesus like, as a Man? We know about His divinity, we believe in it, but what was He like in His daily life with people in general? We call this topic investigating the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or, more simply, Jesus the Man. In an obscure province of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Aidan

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Church names many saints as patrons of certain professions, troubles, or countries. St. Benedict is the patron saint of Europe. As the father of Western monasticism, he is credited with building Western civilization. St. Catherine of Siena is also a patron of Europe since she played important roles in settling both civil and ecclesiastical disputes. St.…Continue Reading