Will 2013 bring some relief for Chinese Catholics?

The Chinese Martyrs

I regularly think about times when the Church has been persecuted.  Has been? Nay, rather… is being persecuted.  I think it is a good idea to reflect on these matters frequently and even try to get your head around the real possibility of serious, sustained persecution in times to come.

From AsiaNews:

Hebei Catholics: Penal Code reform means Xi Jinping must free imprisoned bishops and priests
by Bernardo Cervellera

The new laws, in force since 1st January 2013, provide for immediate access to a lawyer; immediate notification for the relatives; limits detention without trial to six months. Bishops and priests imprisoned without trial for seven years or more, should be allowed return home or receive visits from their relatives. Optimism of some faithful Hebei; skepticism of other church figures. [And who can blame them?]

Rome (AsiaNews) – Hebei priests and faithful are eagerly awaiting the return of their bishops and priests who have disappeared in police custody for years. From 1st January 2013, their hope of seeing their pastors, some detainees without trial for 15 years and more, it also has a legal basis.

Since the beginning of this year, in fact, the reformed penal code has passed into law which, at least in intention, aims to “respect and protect human rights.” An example of this is that under the new law no one should be forced to incriminate themselves and all arrests must be based on evidence “obtained in a legal manner”, i.e. not through torture.

The law also ensures immediate access to a lawyer within 48 hours of a request being made, and that the relatives of the suspect are to be informed of the circumstances and place of detention. Moreover during the period of detention, the suspect must be guaranteed an adequate diet and sleep. Finally, the police can not detain a person without charge for more than six months.

A Hebei priest told AsiaNews that under these new laws, enacted in the era of Xi Jinping, Msgr. James Su Zhimin, the underground bishop of Baoding (ds in the photo), 80, who disappeared in police custody 15 years ago, should be able to return home. His family every year, on the anniversary of his kidnapping, ask the police where their relative is being held, as of this year they will finally have an answer different from the one received in the past (“We do not know!”) .

There is also “legal” hope for Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang, 90 years old, underground bishop of Yixian (left in photo). Arrested by police and detained without trial since 2001, according to the new laws he should be able to return to his family and its dynamic diocese.


Read the rest there.

Read it with the thought in mind that Pres. Obama, if he could have his way, would impose an American Patriotic Catholic Association, under state control.

Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede with your Son for our brothers and sisters in China and obtain for us the graces we will need when it is our turn to make the hard choices.

Hail Mary…

萬福馬利亞,你充滿聖寵,主與你同在,你在婦女中受讚頌,你的親生子耶穌同受讚頌。天主聖母馬利亞,求你現在和我們臨終時,為我們罪人祈求天主。亞孟 。

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Modern Martyrs, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. zapman449 says:

    Read it with the thought in mind that Pres. Obama, if he could have his way, would impose an American Patriotic Catholic Association, under state control.

    Father: Could you give some insight as to why you believe this to be true?

  2. wmeyer says:

    zapman, I can offer my own view: Obama–and his ilk–see the state as the ultimate seat of all power. As such, citizens are chattel, government is supreme, and the Church must obey. That’s essentially the situation Mao established, and the role which is played by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

  3. James Joseph says:


    July 2011. A Federal court determined that a thought to disagree with the administration inherently causes harm even if not expressed or acted upon, and likewise can be considered criminal.

  4. JKnott says:

    “Read it with the thought in mind that Pres. Obama, if he could have his way, would impose an American Patriotic Catholic Association, under state control.”


  5. Father G says:

    In case anyone was curious about the icon depicted, it is an icon of Eastern Orthodox martyrs who were martyred during the Boxer Rebellion: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Martyrs_of_China
    An image of the Catholic martyrs is this: http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/resources/Chinese/ChineseMartyrs/images/chinese%20martyrs_a.jpg

  6. Art says:

    It is a nice gesture, but just because China has a law in the books only means that it will be enforced only when it is convenient. The idea of “rule of law” is foreign concept. Please keep up your prayers for China.

  7. Angie Mcs says:

    Does anyone honestly believe that, after our leader leaves the White House in four years, that he will not have set up some further mandates, executive orders and laws so that his hateful agenda will continue? I believe he wants to leave behind a legacy, one which is well described inWMEYER’s comments. I hope I’m wrong and that eventually he will”hoist himself with his own petard.” (figuratively speaking of course)

    In the meantime, I will Pray for our Chinese brethren in Christ. May we learn from them in the days ahead.

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  9. Bob B. says:

    China’s one child policy, legal detention of a person for a year without charge, reeducation camps, execution of people for a variety of crimes where the family also pays for the cost of the bullet used, ignoring a variety of human rights (though China is a member of the UN), and rigged elections where only members of their Communist Party will win are but a few of the things the Chinese people must deal with in China.
    Let’s not forget that Mao couldn’t complete destroy the Catholic Church in China, so they created their own – the Patriotic Catholic Church – where they entirely fund and administer the clergy (can you imagine going to confession and who else might hear what you had to say?) and property. The Vatican has tried to accomodate China in the years since Pius XII (though his encyclicals clearly called China on the mat for their crimes and attempts to usurp the Church in China). The result has been that detente with this Communist state has not worked, not surprisingly.
    There are some similarities between China and Obama’s brand of government, e.g., Planned Parenthood and China’s one child policy and the creation or repeal of laws that this Administration (or their supporters) do not like (e.g., marriage). What is most important is that the Administration cannot be trusted to do the right thing and accomodating or ignoring their slights or assaults on our beliefs in any manner is injurious to the Church.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    AsiaNews is a great source zapman, …and read Gramsci’s first letter from prison. He and tbe Marxists knew that the Church understood both Marxism and Her own position as the only bulwark of spiritual strength against materialism. Obama cut his political teeth on Chicago grass-roots Marxism.

  11. PA mom says:

    I am preparing to teach the reforms of Pope Gregory of the Middle Ages. Am I correct that China’s actions of elevating their own Bishops is a form of lay investiture?

  12. Imrahil says:

    Dear @PA mom,

    you are technically correct. But… the historical practice known as lay investiture were mere boys’ scuffles in comparison.

    Henry IV and consorts were wrong; but it is possible to have sympathy with them… That beforehand; and then, this was a merely inner-Christian thing. Lay investiture meant that a Christian layman (hence primarily, a Christian) who sincerely and, in an only more limited way than he thought, also correctly believed himself anointed by God and trusted with governance, designated who would come to be a bishop. Think also that bishops then, because celibate and well-educated, were among the King’s most important helpers and on the point of becoming territorial princes.

    The investiture quarrel began when the King of Germany wanted – not to appoint a bishop, but a bishop in Italy (the Emperor was always King of Italy, but he was not as yet Emperor); when it was finally solved, one of the major provisions was that the King forever waived to have bishops receive ring and staff, and thus the sacramentals, from his own hand; where the mere personal designation, and perhaps a scepter as denoting the secular position was concerned, the Pope was way more generous.

    In China the situation is that an at very least un-Christian, but also historically and in quite some specific points presently hostile to Christianity, wants to appoint Christian office-holders. To compare them to Henry IV, even though he was an irascible man which induced him to a schism, is giving them honor beyond what they deserve.

  13. SKAY says:

    “As the New York Times reported in March of 2011: “Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As one official put it, ‘No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao’s words in Tahrir Square.’”

    As a child in Hawaii, Obama’s grandfather introduced him to Frank Marshall Davis from Chicago and an admitted communist.– as a mentor.
    I think China’s way of dealing with the Church and many other things might be very appealing to the present administration.

  14. PA mom says:

    Imrahil- thank you. The book did not explain this well. It seemed that what was causing the trouble was power issues (similar), but the difference between similarly Christian forces disagreeing over power and anti Christian forces struggling over power is a significant one.
    I also wish they had spent more than one sentence on priestly celibacy as well. As another teacher pointed out, explaining it from “our” side while we have the chance, is helpful to the conversation as a whole.

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