A profile in courage: Pope Pius XII’s opinion on communion

A profile in courage: Pope Pius XII’s opinion on communion

Communism as a New Religion

Pope Pius XII, like many of his predecessors, regarded communism not merely as a political ideology but as a new religion. In his encyclical “Ad Sinarum Gentem” (“To the Chinese People”), he strongly criticized the establishment of a national church in China. He argued that such a church would cease to be truly Catholic because it would negate the universality (“catholicity”) that defines the society founded by Jesus Christ, transcending national boundaries.

Kung’s Efforts to Preserve the Church

Building a Clandestine Network

Facing the deteriorating situation in China, Bishop Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei knew that he would be arrested. To ensure the long-term survival of the Church, he embarked on a mission to prepare the laity to pass down the faith. Collaborating with priests and devout Catholics, Kung established a clandestine network in Shanghai. This network included covert catechism groups and underground preaching sessions, allowing the Church to continue its operations.

Role of Lay Catholic Associations

As the Chinese government increased surveillance and raided parishes and administrative offices, foreign missionaries were expelled, and Chinese clergy were arrested. Lay Catholic associations, such as the Legion of Mary, played a pivotal role in disseminating information within the diocese and maintaining communication networks. Kung’s efforts laid the foundation for what would become the underground Church.

Kung’s Arrest and Resilience

Kung’s Arrest and the Crackdown

Bishop Kung’s arrest on September 8, 1955, marked a significant turning point in Catholic resistance. More than 300 priests and lay Catholics were arrested that night. The Chinese Communist Party’s patience and propaganda efforts had paid off, leading to the eradication of what they referred to as the “Kung Pin-Mei counterrevolutionary clique.”

Kung’s Refusal to Yield

Despite intense pressure and indoctrination attempts during his imprisonment, Bishop Kung refused to acquiesce to the party’s demands to legitimize the patriotic church. His steadfastness was evident when, asked to denounce the pope in a public stadium, he defiantly proclaimed, “Long live Christ the King. Long live the pope.” His resilience endured throughout five years of imprisonment, including periods of solitary confinement and harsh conditions.

Release and Legacy

Kung’s Release and Continued Faith

In the 1980s, during China’s period of “opening up” to the world, Bishop Kung was released on parole in 1985, despite a life sentence. He continued to display unwavering faith and dedication. In 1991, he was introduced as Cardinal Kung. Pope John Paul II praised him for his witness to the apostolic faith and evangelical love.

Legacy of Faith and Courage

Bishop Kung passed away in 2000, leaving a legacy of faith, hope, and courage. He struggled to reconcile being a good Catholic with being a good citizen under a regime that demanded compromise. His example continues to inspire Catholics worldwide and serves as a symbol of fidelity to the Church and the Successor of Peter.

Perseverance of the Underground Church

Nearly 70 years after his arrest, Bishop Kung’s memory endures. The underground Church in China, though wounded, remains alive, with vocations and the faithful passing down their faith from generation to generation. Bishop Kung’s role in preserving the faith in China and his enduring example of faithfulness continue to inspire persecuted Catholics worldwide.

Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn

Read Related News On TDPel Media

Advertisement: Download Vital Signs App (VS App)