Trials and Tribulations: Catholics Persevere in China
In all things we suffer tribulation: but are not distressed. We are straitened: but are not destitute.
We suffer persecution: but are not forsaken. We are cast down: but we perish not.
Always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies.
For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake: that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (2Cor:4:8-11)
Sixty-five years of Chinese communist rule should be mourned, not celebrated. Contrary to the media-fueled image of Mao as a gentle philosopher and great freedom fighter, he was actually a degenerate mass murderer who ruthlessly suppressed all human rights. In their remarkable biography, Mao: The Unknown Story, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday revealed that Mao grew up not as an oppressed hard working peasant dedicated to fighting injustice, but as a loafer who took a job as a Communist International Soviet agent to receive “a comfortable berth as a subsidized professional revolutionary.”
Mao enthusiastically adopted Lenin’s most violent terrorist techniques because he was a vile bloodthirsty thug. From 1920 to 1976 Mao murdered more people than Hitler and Stalin combined – 70-million Chinese. The “Great Famine” (1958-1961) in which 40-million perished was a direct result of Mao’s farm collectivization policies. To eliminate tens of millions of imagined enemies he ordered the “Great Leap Forward” (1958) and the “Cultural Revolution” (1966-1968) which he privately referred to as the “Great Purge.”
Mao attempted to control every form of social intercourse. Merely having a dinner party, use of humor or sarcasm could be – and were – deemed criminal activities that warranted the death penalty. And he was proud of these policies: Mao told his fellow gangsters at the 1958 party conference that they should welcome, not fear, party policies that cause people to die.
Mao ruthlessly suppressed centuries-old Catholic missions. His persecution of Catholics began long before he took over the government in 1949. In the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, Mao’s Red armies roamed through Chinese provinces torturing and murdering scores of priests and nuns. In 1947, for instance, eighteen Cistercian monks at Yang Kia Ping were jailed and their monastery was looted. All died from endless interrogations, beatings, and brainwashing.
The Red Chinese were not content with suppressing the Church. They dumped Catholics into re-education camps and used harsh psychological measures that included physical and mental torture to convert them to Marxism. If the education treatments failed, it was hoped that recalcitrant pupils would go mad or commit suicide.
In recent decades, the Communists continued to persecute China’s 5-million Catholics. After the 1989 anti-government demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, there were crackdowns on the underground Church. “House Churches” were destroyed and priests were arrested. Also, Catholic women were forced to have abortions or were sterilized to comply with China’s “one-child policy.”
In May 2007, Pope Benedict XVI released a letter to the Catholics of China which dealt with the relationship between Church and State. The pontiff reaffirmed there was only one Church which included both the unofficial underground one and the government-recognized Patriotic Catholic Church. He respectfully called for religious freedom and constructive dialogue to overcome disagreements.
The pope’s pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Priests and bishops are still imprisoned and the faithful continue to be physically abused by government officials.
In May 2008, on the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, Pope Benedict held a worldwide day of prayer for the Church in China. However, Chinese Catholic pilgrims, who travelled to Mary Helper of Christians Shrine near Shanghai to participate in the day of prayer, were denied access to the consecrated grounds by the police.
America’s elitist intellectual and political classes have a distorted view of today’s China. Contrary to their revisionist claims, China’s people still lack basic freedoms and their state-run economic system is built on the graves of millions of victims of Mao’s depravity.
See More photos: On the road, the Catholic Church in China by Lu Nan