Saturday 22nd February 2020

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review… Witnessing To Christ In China

December 12, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY

Blood of the Martyrs: Trappist Monks in Communist China by Theresa Marie Moreau; 187 pages, available on Kindle and limited hardcover at Amazon.com.

Blood of the Martyrs details the persecution of a group of Cistercian monks following the establishment of the postwar Communist government in China, a government determined to destroy all traces of Christianity in the country.
It makes for instructive reading in the light of the recent agreement between the Vatican and China regarding the appointment of bishops in the country, and the growing persecution facing Catholics and Christians generally there under the increasingly authoritarian regime of Xi Jinping.
The story of the hardships and martyrdom of these mostly Chinese religious was concluded in the late 1940s and early 1950s, but it began over sixty years earlier, when a French Trappist monk visited Yang Kia Ping valley, in northern China, in June 1883, and decided that this desolate place, 75 miles west of Peking, would be the site of what would be called the abbey of Our Lady of Consolation.
After a slow start the community began to grow, attracting many vocations, and by 1928, it was able to open a daughter house, Our Lady of Joy, 190 miles southwest of Peking. This likewise prospered, despite the penitential life for the monks of scant food, hard labor, and perpetual silence.
As the thirties progressed, the monastic life was peaceful, but the country itself was in turmoil; initially, though, the Communists treated the monks with respect. But as time went on, petty harassment grew, from intrusive searches, to demands for food and money, to open hostility.
By the early 1940s, the whole community had been placed under house arrest, as Mao Zedong’s forces tightened their grip on that part of northern China. After the war, once Mao’s Nationalist opponents had been driven onto the island of Formosa, now Taiwan, the Communists turned their attention to what they described as “counterrevolutionaries,” a category which included the monks, who were classed as “major enemies” of the people.
The real martyrdom of the monks began in 1947, when the Communists initiated a program of open agitation against them, which culminated in a mob attacking the abbey and ransacking it. Then the 75 monks, the majority of whom were Chinese, were arrested, and brought before a howling mob of local peasants, who had been whipped up into a frenzy.
Several of the leading monks were questioned and repeatedly clubbed if their answers were not the expected ones. Then the whole community was brought before a People’s court, and many of its members were mercilessly beaten so as to extract confessions from them.
It was then decided, in August 1947, to move the monks, and this was the beginning of what would be a “death march” for many of them. They had to carry heavy loads, although their hands were cuffed, and quite often their feet were weighed down with chains, as they made way along tortuous mountain paths. They were forbidden to rest and kept moving with threats and ill treatment. The weather was often inclement, with the monks having to battle through torrential rains and wind.
Some of them, such as Fr. Seraphinus Shih, were singled out for particularly brutal treatment. He had remained constant in the faith, and the Communists hated him for it, and beat and tortured him relentlessly.
As the march went on, more and more of the monks succumbed to the brutality of their guards and the atrocious conditions they had to endure, and were buried in shallow graves along the way. The others reached a village called Teng Chia Yu, but because of the international outcry over the religious persecution, some of them were allowed to go to Peking/Beijing. But of the others who remained, some were poisoned.
The foreign monks were often treated as harshly as their Chinese brothers, and many of them suffered from dysentery, and, as the year advanced, from the harsh winter weather. One by one they died from exhaustion and ill treatment, and in early January 1948, half a dozen of the remaining monks were taken before another people’s court.
They had all endured six months of agonizing tortures, beatings, and ill treatment, and now the “blood-encrusted, lice-infested men, wearing rags caked in their own filth” were condemned to be executed on false charges. They were shot and their bodies thrown into a nearby sewage ditch.
Their confreres at Our Lady of Joy monastery had likewise to suffer much. In April 1947, fleeing the violence engulfing the country, they had had to leave their monastery and seek refuge in Szechuan. Some of the monks from Our Lady of Consolation monastery had been released and moved to Beijing and stayed there, as over time, more survivors from the death march joined them.
Meanwhile, in August 1948, the resurgent Communists threatened Beijing, as the three last survivors of the death march reached the city. Finally, in early 1949, Beijing fell to the Communists. Only a small number of the monks of Our Lady of Joy managed to escape to Hong Kong, but of those seven finally made it to the United Sates.
Those who remained in Szechuan were imprisoned by the Communists in February 1951, but later released, although three priests were kept in detention, where they were repeatedly interrogated. They were asked the question, “Does man come from monkeys or from God,” and if they answered, “from God,” they were beaten. Two of them eventually died because of their ill treatment, but one was released.

Be My Witnesses

From this point on, the Chinese government began to promote their own separatist church in the country, as a breakaway movement from the Vatican, and so a new type of persecution began. The faithful bishops in China sought guidance — should they leave the country or remain?
The papal nuncio for China, Archbishop Antonio Riberi, asked Pope Pius XII on their behalf. His reply, quoting from St. John’s Gospel, was, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” And then, quoting from the Book of Acts, he repeated the words of Christ: “You shall be my witnesses.”
So the course to be followed by the Chinese bishops was set by the Pope — they should remain with their flocks even if it meant martyrdom. The word martyr, of course, comes from the Greek word for witness.
For the remaining Trappists, the suffering continued, and in September 1954, after six more months of interrogation and torture, the priests among them were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment in the “laogai,” the system of penal labor and prison farms in Communist China.
Then the Bamboo Curtain descended upon China as its people were cut off from the outside world for many years.
The heroic witness of the Trappist monks of Our Lady of Consolation and Our Lady of Joy has been beautifully captured in this book, which is a well-researched and often moving account of the brutal treatment and brainwashing which they underwent in their struggle to remain faithful to Christ. It is good to have such a reminder of what that fidelity has cost some of our fellow Catholics.

+ + +

(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related website at www.theotokos.org.uk. He has also a written two time-travel/adventure books for young people — details can be found at: http://glaston-chronicles.co.uk/.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

The #USSCB preoccupies itself with open borders, climate change and "tolerance". Meanwhile < 30% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence.

How refreshingly "common sense" this statement is. Finally, a Catholic Bisho (Cardinal) who understands the principle of subsidiarity, as properly applied, and affirms the truth that difference is not a problem, but a gift.

Sachin jose on Twitter

“"Poland can tell Europe that each nation was created by God to be placed in a particular place, with its culture, its traditions, its history. ...

twitter.com

Bishop Strickland . . . Mary, Mother Of God And The Church - https://t.co/kkfGoSn6Dr

Load More...

Rush has lung cancer. Catholics owe him BIG TIME. Wherein Fr. Z rants. ACTION ITEM!

Rush Limbaugh has advanced lung cancer.  He made the sad announcement yesterday. ACTION ITEM: Please pray for a complete, swift, durative miraculous cure for him, perhaps through the intercession of Ven. Augustus Tolton. Every reader here, every committed conservative, faithful…Continue Reading

Catholic parish will not host Episcopalian consecration

Richmond, Va., Jan 17, 2020 / 11:30 am (CNA).- The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia will no longer hold a bishops’s consecration at a Catholic parish in Williamsburg, after an internet petition objecting to the event drew national attention. “It…Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan conducting ‘Vos estis’ investigation into Brooklyn’s Bishop DiMarzio

New York City, N.Y., Jan 18, 2020 / 09:05 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Timothy Dolan is conducting an investigation into Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, following an allegation of sexual abuse. The investigation is being conducted under the provisions of Vos estis lux…Continue Reading

Theodore McCarrick has moved from Kansas friary

Denver, Colo., Jan 7, 2020 / 11:00 am (CNA).- The disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved from the Kansas friary where he had been living since 2018. A spokesman for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad told CNA…Continue Reading

Vatican Archbishop: those who say Judas is in hell are ‘heretics’ and priests may ‘accompany’ assisted suicides

ROME, December 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In a statement difficult to reconcile with Scripture and Tradition, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has claimed on behalf of the Catholic Church that anyone who says Judas Iscariot is in…Continue Reading

Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone resigns after year of scandal

Vatican City, Dec 4, 2019 / 04:01 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Wednesday accepted the resignation of Buffalo’s embattled Bishop Richard Malone. The Diocese of Buffalo will be administered by Albany’s Bishop Edward Scharfenberger until a permanent replacement for Malone is…Continue Reading

Chinese bishop says Catholics must put ‘love for homeland’ first

Beijing, China, Dec 3, 2019 / 04:30 pm (CNA).- A Chinese bishop has said that Catholics in the country must put their loyalty to the state before the faith. Bishop John Fang Xingyao made the statement during a Communist Party…Continue Reading

Canada’s largest newspaper: Catholic schools must back LGBT ‘rights’ or risk losing public funding

TORONTO, November 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Canada’s largest newspaper threatened Catholic schools in an editorial that unless they get in line with homosexuality and transgender “rights,” support will only grow for an end to their public funding. The Toronto Star’s…Continue Reading

Pope compares politicians who persecute gays, Jews to Hitler

Pope Francis denounced the persecution of gay people on Friday and compared public officials who stoke hatred and anti-gay sentiment to Hitler. Francis delivered his remarks at an international conference on criminal law at the Vatican City, Reuters reported. “It is…Continue Reading

7-year-old whose mom tried to ‘transition’ him chooses to attend school as a boy

DALLAS, Texas, November 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Seven-year-old James Younger, whose mother enrolled him in kindergarten as a “girl,” has finally been able to attend school as a boy for the first time. James’ parents’ fight over whether he should…Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan on Biden communion denial: ‘I wouldn’t do it’

Washington D.C., Oct 31, 2019 / 04:58 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York has responded to questions about the denial of Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden last Sunday. On an Oct. 31…Continue Reading

Judge blocks Alabama law banning abortions, pro-lifers plan to appeal to Supreme Court

October 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Alabama’s ban on virtually all abortions will not take effect on November 15 as planned, thanks to a preliminary injunction issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson. In May, Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Alabama…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

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Italy is dying: Country’s birth rate drops to its lowest level in history

ROME, Italy, February 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Italy welcomed its smallest number of newborns in 2019, leading its president to foretell the country’s doom. “This is a problem that concerns the very existence of our country,” said Sergio Mattarella, 78. “The fabric of our country is weakening, and everything must be done to counter this phenomenon.”

Bishop Schneider analyzes Pope’s Amazon text: ‘a glimmer of hope’ despite deficiencies

ROME, February 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — In a new in-depth analysis of the apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia, Bishop Athanasius Schneider has praised what he views as Pope Francis’ decision not to weaken priestly celibacy or open the door to a female “diaconate.” But he has also criticized the “lamentable doctrinal ambiguities and errors” that he says the document contains. The auxiliary bishop of St. Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan, maintains that Querida Amazonia’s stance on priestly celibacy and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Zen criticizes Vatican for ‘despis[ing] the heroes of faith’ in China

NEW YORK, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The communist-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association “has always been objectively schismatic” and remains that way “but with the blessing from the Holy See,” Cardinal Joseph Zen said today. Cardinal Zen sat down with LifeSite for a one-on-one interview in New York today.

POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION

1. The beloved Amazon region stands before the world in all its splendour, its drama and its mystery. God granted us the grace of focusing on that region during the Synod held in Rome from 6-27 October last, which concluded by issuing its Final Document, The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology. The significance of this Exhortation 2. During the Synod, I listened to the presentations and read with interest…Continue Reading

Pope Francis’ Amazon exhortation calls for holiness, not married priests

Vatican City, Feb 12, 2020 / 04:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis published his response to the Vatican’s 2019 Amazon synod in an apostolic exhortation Wednesday. Despite widespread speculation following the synod, the pope does not call for married priests, but seeks to expand “horizons beyond conflicts.” Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis’s much-anticipated post-synodal apostolic exhortation, presents the pope’s “four great dreams” for the Pan-Amazonian region’s ecological preservation and “Amazonian holiness.” The exhortation does not quote from…Continue Reading

Advertisement3

If Duterte Wants Us Out, Let’s Go

  By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has just given us notice he will be terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement that governs U.S. military personnel in the islands. His notification starts the clock running on a six-month deadline. If no new agreement is negotiated, the VFA is dissolved. What triggered the decision? Duterte…Continue Reading

The Face of God Was Seen That Day

By ROBERT N. BORGHESE A veil separates the face of God From our world of flesh. Is it ever breached? The mystic said the most sublime act Sets another before you. Unconditional human love reflects the face of God; And God is love. When Jesus said there is no greater love Than to lay down…Continue Reading

A Champion of the Catholic Faith . . . Sister Mary Louise RIP

sistermary

  Sister Mary Louise Matt, beloved aunt of Joseph Matt, the current publisher of The Wanderer was called to her eternal reward this past week. In an age that saw many changes in the Catholic church including within the sisterhood as conforming to the culture of the times – Sister Mary stood tall among her peers passionately…Continue Reading

Coronavirus, St. Jacinta And St. John Bosco

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY By one of those curious coincidences, the current threat from the Chinese coronavirus has come to prominence just as we celebrate the centenary of the death of St. Jacinta of Fatima, a death which can be attributed to complications arising from the Spanish flu pandemic which afflicted the world between January…Continue Reading

Don’t Trust Election Polls Predicting Huge 2020 Dem Victories

By TREVOR THOMAS (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews reprinted this with permission from American Thinker. All rights reserved.) + + + (American Thinker) — According to Real Clear Politics, in spite of the economy and everything else going well in the United States of America, almost every current national poll has President Trump trailing a hypothetical Democrat…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In his weekly Bulletin at the Church of St. Michael in New York City, Fr. George Rutler listed some of the false predictions of the climate alarmists and noted their refusal ever to admit being wrong: “Inevitably, the list of mistaken predictions keeps growing. We may remember being told in the 1960s that, within twenty years, overpopulation would…Continue Reading

“What Will There Be For Us?” Amazon Synod Doesn’t Like The Answer

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Many of you know I happily served as a Navy chaplain for years. Some of my assignments were with Marine units. I found Marine officers were always very happy to have a priest along because, being celibate, he could more easily pick up and move with the unit at any time they were called upon…Continue Reading

The Temple Of God Is Holy

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Lev. 19:1-2, 17-18 1 Cor. 3:16-23 Matt. 5:38-48 In the first reading today, God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites that they were to be holy because the Lord God is holy. This makes sense on several levels. First, we are made in the image and likeness of…Continue Reading

Bishop Strickland . . . Mary, Mother Of God And The Church

By MOST REV. JOSEPH STRICKLAND I write this column on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, one of many Marian memorials in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. That is because Mary is, and always has been, deeply loved and honored by Catholic and Orthodox Christians. It was only in the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, that…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In an exchange with a fellow on Facebook, he wondered how God could be a loving Father when He abandoned His Son Jesus on the cross. How can I answer him? — R.Q., Massachusetts. A. Your questioner is referring to Jesus’ words from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). But Jesus was…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Frances Of Rome

By CAROLE BRESLIN Saints come from all states of life and forms of associations within the Church. Quite a few of them were members of Third Orders. A Third Order is an “association of the faithful established by religious orders. Dating from the thirteenth century, they may be either secular or regular. If secular, they are lay persons, commonly called…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Cortona

By CAROLE BRESLIN Great sinners make great saints. It takes a strong-willed child to become a saint. These are statements which would easily fit saints such as Mary Magdalene and St. Augustine. In the thirteenth century, a young lady free in spirit and strong in will led such a life that she was essentially driven from her home village, but…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)