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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunday Meditation: Holy Week Begins....On Betrayal and the Church in China

Our Lady of China, pray for the
persecuted underground Church.
Holy Week begins. The betrayal is imminent, a betrayal that continues throughout history like the expanding ripples in a lake. Judas isn't far from us. He lives in our hearts and we can see him in the larger events occurring around us as I realized once again this morning with sorrow.

I was reading a LifeSiteNews article reprinted in The Wanderer about Cardinal Zen and his dismay over the Vatican betraying China's underground Church and recognizing the unfaithful bishops excommunicated by previous popes.

What a head-shaker!

The suffering Church in China must be feeling the same betrayal as Catholics in England watching their bishops bend the knee to a lustful monarch who began the systematic dismantling of the Church. Except for St. John Fisher, I'm not aware of a single courageous English bishop who defended the faith.

China is different. The underground Church is estimated at millions of souls. After the Communists took over in 1949, the government wasted no time in trying to bring the Church to heel. They established the "Three Autonomies movement" calling for independence from the Holy See and began arresting and imprisoning thousands of Catholics, many bishops among them. On September 8, 1955 the Chinese government swept up hundreds of Catholics in the diocese of Shanghai including Bishop Ignatius Kung, the Bishop of Shanghai, who would not support the movement. His courage inspired the Chinese Church already embarked on a journey of persecution and martyrdom.

"...the whole Church could not but honor a man who has given witness by word and deed, through long suffering and trials, to what constitutes the essence of life in the Church: participation in the divine life through the apostolic faith and evangelical love."
Pope St. John Paul II with Cardinal Ignatius Kung
Unable to destroy the Catholic Church, the government established a faux Church called the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA). On the night before Bishop Kung's trial in 1960, the Chief Prosecutor dangled thirty pieces of silver by offering him the leadership in the "Three Autonomies Movement." He refused proclaiming, "I am a Catholic bishop. If I leave the Holy Father, not only would I not be a Bishop, I would not even be a Catholic. You can cut off my head, but you can never take away my duty." He spent the next 30 years in a Chinese prison.

In an interview with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN's The World Over, Cardinal Zen pulled no punches condemning the Vatican's betrayal of the underground Church and her bishops. "They are delivering the whole administration of the Church into the hands of the so-called Patriotic Association , which is just a puppet in the hands of the government....I am not a cartoonist....[If I were] I would make a cartoon showing the Pope kneeling, and offering the keys of the kingdom of heaven, saying, 'Now, please, recognize me as Pope'." It was unnecessary, he says. "This is ridiculous. They are afraid of the Pope, but now the advisers to the Pope are giving him advice to renounce his authority....We have to pray, because what is coming is a tragedy and will weaken the faith, and we are going back to the times of the catacombs."

Here's the full interview below. This Holy Week, let us pray for the underground Church in China, betrayed like Jesus Himself, by the Judases among His apostles. Our Lady of China, pray for your poor persecuted Church. Bishop Kung, pray for us, that we might imitate your fidelity and courage and be willing to die before we abandon the faith.

Read more about the Church in China at the Cardinal Kung Foundation website.

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