Sunday 21st September 2014

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:

Archbishop Coakley: Though City Leaders Do Not Take Seriously Threat of Inviting Evil Into Community, I Do

Washington, D.C., September 18, 2014 (Zenit.org) Here is an article from the Sooner Catholic, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, regarding the black mass scheduled at the city’s civic center for this Sunday. Archbishop Paul Coakley has used…Continue Reading

Report: Bishop Cupich of Spokane to succeed Cardinal George in Chicago

The AP broke the story, and local media is now confirming, that Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane will succeed Cardinal Francis George as archbishop of Chicago. The Archdiocese of Chicago is expected to make the official announcement tomorrow morning at…Continue Reading

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial…Continue Reading

Catholic Education Honor Roll Announced

Today, The Cardinal Newman Society released the list of schools recognized by the Catholic Education Honor Roll as 2014 Schools of Excellence. Since 2004 the Honor Roll has celebrated quality Catholic education throughout the United States. Honor Roll schools receiving…Continue Reading

Hermeneutic of Continuity: Pope Benedict XVI’s 10 Step Guide to Vatican II

pope200

In 2005 His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI gave a Christmas address to the Roman Curia that sparked a “Holy Revolution.” The good pontiff’s comments were received as “epoch-making” by many of those faithful to Sacred Tradition.1 At the heart of…Continue Reading

Satanists Sell Out Controversial Oklahoma ‘Black Mass’ Event, Will Stage Exorcism Despite Christian Protests

The Satanist group that will stage a controversial “black mass” at an Oklahoma City civic center has said that all 88 tickets for its Sept. 21 event are sold out. The co-founder of the group revealed that the ritual will…Continue Reading

Catholic League Bowing Out Of New York’s St. Patrick’s Parade

NEW YORK –  The Catholic League says it will sit out next year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York because parade organizers aren’t letting an anti-abortion Catholic group march. Catholic League head Bill Donohue said Thursday that his organization…Continue Reading

Catholic Cardinal McCarrick Embraces Islam

Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick offered Islamic religious phrases and insisted that Islam shares foundational rules with Christianity, during a Sept. 10 press conference in D.C. “In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate,” McCarrick said as he introduced himself…Continue Reading

MURDER OF CATHOLIC NUNS SHOCKS WORLD

The triple murder of three elderly Italian religious sisters in Burundi has their religious family and the local community reeling. The Italian Foreign Ministry has confirmed Monday’s death of a third missionary, Sister Bernadette Boggian, who wasdecapitated, according to a…Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

by Hon. Bob Marshall Sept. 8, 2014 New York’s Cardinal Dolan, appointed as Grand Marshal of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, praised the decision to allow an openly gay group to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. “I have…Continue Reading

Founder: Catholic Studies programs help colleges fulfill call to faithfulness

St. Paul, Minn., Sep 8, 2014 / 06:03 pm (CNA).- University-level Catholic Studies programs are an essential response to the increasingly fragmented college experience, said the man who founded the first such program 20 years ago. “At the heart of…Continue Reading

A ‘dereliction of duty’? Catholics react to Cardinal Dolan’s role in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s decision to act as grand marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade despite its decision to allow an openly homosexual organization to participate has drawn strong criticism from Catholic writers and outrage from many…Continue Reading

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 subscribe 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

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope: No To The Use Of Religion As A Pretext For Violence

pope526

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said on Sunday that no one must consider themselves to be the “armour” of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression. “May no one” he said “use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of every man and woman, above all, the right to life and the…Continue Reading

Pope’s Morning Homily: Resurrection Completes Christian Identity

Our Whole Life Is Called to Being With the Lord, To Remain With Him Forever Vatican City, September 19, 2014 (Zenit.org) Staff Reporter Pope Francis focused on the Resurrection as the seal of Christian identity at Mass this morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence. Drawing on the words of St Paul the Apostle from his Letter to…Continue Reading

Marriage Is Not A Metaphor

By DONALD DeMARCO I passed through the metal detector at the Las Vegas Airport easily and uneventfully. While waiting for my wife, who was the inconvenient recipient of a more thorough random check, I turned to the attendant and told her that I was surprised to pass through the metal detector so quietly since I…Continue Reading

Reconnecting With Mary… Our Lady Of La Salette

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Part 1 This is the first of two articles on the apparition of our Lady at La Salette in September 1846, which has a lot to teach us in our own day. At that time, the small nearby town of Corps, in the Grenoble region in southeastern France, was a poor…Continue Reading

The Saint Who Was Never Born

By DONALD DeMARCO St. Raymond Nonnatus came into the world in the early 13th century (1200 or 1204 according to scholars) in Portello, Catalonia (Spain). His appended name, in Latin, means “not born.” He was taken from the womb of his mother by caesarean section after her death. Shakespeare used this notion of not being…Continue Reading

Bluster And Bluff In The Baltic

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “I say to the people of Estonia and the people of the Baltics, today we are bound by our treaty alliance. . . . Article 5 is crystal clear: An attack on one is an attack on all. So if . . . you ever ask again, ‘who’ll come to help,’…Continue Reading

One Thing Hillary Clinton’s Memoir Doesn’t Explain About Benghazi

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY In her memoir, Hard Choices, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton included a chapter on the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. But she failed to specifically explain why Ambassador Chris Stevens was there that day. “U.S. ambassadors are not required to consult or…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Priestly Celibacy: Unnatural? Or . . . Supernatural? The Faith Of The Early Christians

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 5 It is a very comfortable position for the defenders of sola Scriptura to wish to interpret it according to their own criteria. In so doing, they pick and choose verses here and there to justify their views. God’s first commandment to mankind, “Be fruitful and multiply,” seems to be the “dogma” against celibacy.…Continue Reading

Catechesis In The Twenty-First Century

By Don Fier “In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council.” With these words in his apostolic letter Porta Fidei announcing the upcoming Year of Faith…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I am currently reading Paul Likoudis’ excellent but shocking book Amchurch Comes Out, regarding incidents of immoral conduct among our clergy, the cover-up, and the accompanying damage that has been wrought within the Church. I recall being alarmed while involved with religious education in our then parish in the late 1980s and attending diocesan seminars for teachers and hearing…Continue Reading

Our Attitude Should Be The Same As Christ’s

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 18:25-28 Phil. 2:1-11 Matt. 21:28-32   In the Gospel reading today our Lord asks the question of which son did the will of his father: the one who said he would not go into the field but eventually did or the one who said he would go…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . “And Who Is My Neighbor?” The Embryo And The ALS patient

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prophet Jeremiah in chapter 20 bewails his isolation as a result of the scorn of nonbelievers: “The word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.” He describes his temptation to throw in the towel as a prophet tasked by God with a message for mankind: “I say to myself,…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

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… Mother Teresa Of Calcutta

By CAROLE BRESLIN After returning from a visit to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and giving a retreat to her Missionaries of Charity there, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, told a class of lay faithful, “Americans are living in a dream world.” He spoke of the thousands of people dying on the streets of Calcutta where Mother had begun her work…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading