Priest Answers Chinese Bishop
Because the Zenit news service article on Chinese Patriotic Association Bishop Jin Luxian (“Chinese Patriotic Bishop: ‘We're With the Pope in Faith,’” May 6-12) is misleading, the following facts are submitted to set the record straight.
The article states that Jin “was educated by the Jesuits in Italy in the 1940s.” It is more accurate to state that Jin in the late ‘40s was more than a Jesuit student. He was, in fact, a Jesuit priest. Jin Luxian was born in Shanghai in 1916, entered the Jesuit order in 1938, and ordained a Jesuit priest in 1945. After studying in Europe, he returned to Shanghai in 1950. In Shanghai, he served as a faithful collaborator of Bishop Ignatius Kung of Shanghai. He was appointed by Bishop Kung as rector of the local seminary.
Foreseeing what would happen to the Catholic Church under the communist leadership of Chairman Mao, Bishop Kung in 1954 led all his priests and seminarians to Sheshan Basilica for prayer. The bishop, along with all priests and seminarians, including Father Jin, took an oath before a statue of the Blessed Lady of Sheshan never to do anything to compromise their Catholic faith.
The next year Bishop Kung and Father Jin were among those arrested and imprisoned, and efforts were made for each of them to defect from the Catholic Church and join the puppet Catholic Church, which is now known as the Catholic Patriotic Association. Bishop Kung was unwilling to defect and was eventually given a life sentence. Father Jin was more pliable, however.
Father Ladany's book The Catholic Church in China made the following reference to Father Jin Luxian: “Several families suffered because of his confessions ...The court verdict stated that he was given only 18 years because, while in jail, he was willing to reveal the ‘crimes’ of others.” Because of Jin's collaboration, he earned the communists’ trust and became head of a scientific translation bureau under the government's Ministry of Security. Eventually, to reward him for his cooperation with the communist regime, he was consecrated auxiliary bishop of the Patriotic Association, under the now government-controlled Diocese of Shanghai. Later, when the Patriotic Association ordinary of the Diocese of Shanghai died in 1988, Bishop Jin succeeded him.
By accepting Episcopal consecration without a papal mandate, he incurred automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church, and his schism became now full-blown. Bishop Jin apparently finds that his defection is merely a problem with ecclesiastical law which is, according to him, “man-made.” During his time as a bishop of the state approved church, he wrote to all the bishops of the U.S. soliciting and receiving funds of the “Catholic Church in China.” He toured the U.S. several times and was well received by several U.S. bishops and other church authorities including his Jesuit confreres.
Bishop Jin's view of the Catholic Church is that the pope is merely the bishop of the Diocese of Rome and that each other diocese is independent from the jurisdiction of the Roman pontiff. In his view, the Catholic Church is not governed by the Roman pontiff, in contradiction from what the First Vatican Council clearly taught. According to him, mirroring the communist line, the pope is merely a spiritual leader with no authority over any other diocese beyond Rome.
On Nov. 16, 1987, Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila visited China and was feted at a state banquet. Also present was the prisoner Bishop Kung, then under house arrest. The cardinal was not allowed to speak directly with Bishop Kung. When, to liven things up in a very tense situation, each person present was invited to sing a song of his own choice. Bishop Kung, to let Cardinal Sin know that he was still loyal to the Holy See, sang the familiar hymn “Tu es Petrus.” After that, Jin, who was also present, remarked to Bishop Kung: “What are you trying to do, show your position?” Bishop Kung quietly replied: “It is not necessary to show my position. My position has never changed.”
At this time Bishop Kung's life sentence had been commuted to ten years of house arrest. Keeping guard over Bishop Kung as his official jailer was none other than Bishop Jin Lusian, now no longer a faithful helper of the true bishop of Shanghai, Ignatius Kung, but instead a faithful collaborator of the communist government of China.
As is well known, Bishop Kung, while still in a communist prison, was named a cardinal in secret in 1979. Later, when he was freed and living in the U.S., he was publicly proclaimed a cardinal in the consistory of 1991. When he received the cardinal's insignia, the ovation he received last seven minutes. In March, 2000, Ignatius Cardinal Kung died a faithful priest for 70 years, a bishop for 50 years and a cardinal for 20 years. In him are fulfilled the words of the Gospel: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
FATHER RAYMOND V. DUNN, S.J. Boston
The writer is a member of the board of directors of the Cardinal Kung Foundation.
The Register Goes Semi-Cyber
I've had the pleasure of being a subscriber for several years. On occassion (actually, quite often!) I find an article I'd like to pass on to a friend. An example is the Vatican News article on Lucienne Salle in your April 15-21 edition. I'd like to be able to find this article online and pass it to a friend. Do you “archive” past editions so that this could be done? Please let me know. Thanks for all you do. It is appreciated!
TOM CANEFF Burnsville, Minnesota