THE SEVEN SORROWS OF CHINA 1

By Mark Miravalle

China. A land of mysteries. Typically associated with force and fear in the minds of the West for the last 50 years, China now seems to be putting forth a new face. But who is the real China of the twenty-first century? Recent feedback from the press and certain decisions made by the world seem to indicate that China has taken a new direction towards greater openness, greater freedom, greater respect for the human person. After all, Beijing has been selected as the place for the 2008 Olympics. Would the International Olympic Federation grant China the honor of hosting the world’s Olympics if they were still blatantly oppressing women by forced abortions and sterilizations, and if the police were still hunting down and persecuting Christian clergy and lay people? What about the international business community? Beijing and other huge Chinese cities have become the focus of international trade. Western businesses don’t hesitate to visit China’s Communist capital, and in fact have enough trust in the Government to establish long-term business partners and manufacturing plants there. Economic success cannot be the only reason for the West’s new rush to do business with China. There must be some significant democratic progress there, right? And what about common Westerners visiting China purely for the motive of vacationing? Beijing has recently blossomed as a tourist attraction, with hoards of Americans and Europeans going to the Great Wall and other Oriental wonders. This would never have happened in the 1980s when Reagan continued the strong Cold War front against a Chinese dictator who dressed in military attire. Now the president of China dresses in Western business suits, speaks about peace and dialogue, and President Bush warns Taiwan not to be too aggressive in its relationship with China, instead of the other way around. Something big must have changed between then and now.

1

This article was excerpted from The Seven Sorrows of China, Queenship, September 2007, and is available from Queenship Publishing at 1-800-647-9882, www.queenship.org., or P.O. Box 220, Goleta, California, 93116, U.S.A.

1

Because I have a few friends doing some beautiful works of mercy with abandoned Chinese orphans, I decided to take a quick trip to China and see for myself, starting with a quick one-day visit with them, and then traveling to several other provinces by plane and by train. I would like to share with you my brief experiences of China, not as one who has any true expertise in the complexities of the Chinese situation, but rather in the same way that a friend might introduce you to another person that they had recently met. The narrative that follows is based upon the testimonies of real persons and on first hand experiences by trustworthy sources—people who have risked their freedom and even, in some cases, their lives to bring them to you, so much did they want them known and understood by Western minds, and felt with compassion by Western hearts. Names have been changed, locations left out, and specifics at times covered in more general expressions in order to protect those who are already so much afflicted. The following true events make up the seven sorrows of China.

2

The First Sorrow: Dang Yi Wei - Abandoned Son of Communism

As we were finishing Morning Prayer with a Litany to the Precious Blood of Jesus, the chapel door flew open, and "Marie" announced in words too quick for most of us to understand, "Yi Wei hasn’t breathed for several minutes." Moments later, after rushing to the hospice, we found Marie in tears holding the lifeless body of little Yi Wei, who, after a year of intense suffering with multiple daily seizures and eight near-death experiences, had finally gone home. The full effects of China’s devastating "one-child policy" is little understood in most Western minds and hearts. Communist Government officials and Population Police construct and enforce the general mandate that a Chinese couple can have only one child. Each province and district is granted a certain quota of children by the Government. Local authorities must utilize Population Police to ensure that the local quota is not exceeded, otherwise local authorities pay the price with their jobs. More often than not, babies pay the price for the maintenance of the quota with their lives. The socio-psychological effects of the one-child policy lead to seeking the "best possible child," since one is all you get. This has led to the abortion of countless girls, as the culture values boys more. And if gender justifies abortion, then certainly any form of physical disability is also seen as a legitimate occasion for the abortion remedy. When it comes to cases of severe medical illness or physical defect, then generally little or no concern enters the picture. Abortion is considered the only common-sense solution. In cases when the special needs situation of the child does not appear in utero, when the truth of their physical or mental disability manifests itself after birth, numerous parents abandon their children to federally run orphanages. When abandoned "orphans" (orphans is a bit inaccurate in the traditional understanding of the term, as the parents are oftentimes both alive and well) are found to be gravely ill with little or no hope of survival, they are sometimes placed in back rooms and simply left to die by starvation in absolute isolation. Marie, a young volunteer, witnessed the tragic reality of these innocent "undesirables" while working in a privately run orphanage in China. With little more than raw determination and great faith, she opened an infant center for the physically and mentally impaired children that even the orphanages had rejected. Loving, caressing, affirming these suffering children became her work of the angels (in a way similar to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta), in an effort to send each child out of this world and into the next with a spiritual mother’s love. This is authentic "death with dignity," as opposed to the abuse of the term by euthanasia advocates.

3

Some poor families have no true desire to give up their seriously infirmed child, but at the same time have no possible means of getting the child the necessary medical attention needed, as the People’s Republic offers their people no health care service. Hospitals, including emergency rooms, must be paid in full upfront, otherwise they provide absolutely no treatment, regardless of the lifethreatening nature of an illness. Some brave people have also provided necessary medical intervention with life-saving effects for many children confided to their care. But more often than not, the situation for the child is terminal. Dang Yi Wei was one such case. Brought to those same brave people shortly after his birth, Yi Wei (pronounced, E–way) would experience multiple seizures a day. Within a few months, the little baby would experience approximately 60 seizures a day. Yi Wei would stare off into the distance as these terrifying seizures racked his body. Yesterday, when I first met Yi Wei, a volunteer held the infant over a pot as he vomited during one of his seizures. This morning, Yi Wei died. Dang, the infant’s surname, was given to him, as is the case for most of his brother and sister orphans at the Government-run orphanages, since they are designated children of the state. Yi Wei was an abandoned son of Communism. After praying prayers of Christian burial we brought Yi Wei’s body to the hospital to obtain a death certificate. In China it is illegal to die out of the hospital. This makes it more difficult to get a document of death, which is necessary for mandatory cremation. China mandates cremation for all citizens, except for a few minority groups like Muslim believers. Foreigners face greater difficulty when trying to obtain a death certificate, and so a Chinese woman friend joins us at the hospital and carries in the little body while we wait in the car. In a rather unusual routine, someone enters the hospital asking for emergency help for the infant (even though the infant is obviously already dead). The emergency room official then issues the death certificate. After about an hour, the woman returns with the child’s body and the certificate. She quips that the ER official tried to direct her to the pediatrics department for infant care, but our friend insisted that the document be granted in the emergency room and the certificate witnessed. The ER official finally returned to the crematorium. No mortician middleman in this case. The family does all. We continue on. We arrive at the crematorium, and bring the baby and the certificate to one official, who then leads us to higher-ranking officials. The higher officials gather in confab because the baby did not die in the hospital, and the certificate says he did. Finally, "permission" for the mandatory cremation is granted, and the fee of slightly under 100 dollars is paid. The little diapered body is placed on a

4

long stone slab, which mechanically extends out from the wall, and then slab and body recede back some 25 feet into wall for the cremation process. They tell us to return in 40 minutes. We walk through the cemetery, praying the Rosary for Yi Wei’s soul, which is already assured Paradise by virtue of his Christian baptism. Foreigners publicly praying the Rosary in a Chinese cemetery creates a bit of a spectacle for the workers doing cemetery building and repair and who are not accustomed to seeing public forms of devotion. Technically, it is illegal to conduct any form of worship outside buildings not approved for such by the Government. We offer the sorrowful mysteries for Yi Wei and for the plight of the Chinese people under persecution: For the lonely, that the agonizing Jesus in the garden will console them. For those Catholic clergy and laity who continue to be physically beaten and tortured in Chinese prisons, that the scourged Jesus will be their strength. For those unjustly condemned due to the errors of the mind that could cause such a tragic violation of universally accepted human rights, that the Crowned Lord will give them hope. For those falling under the weight of their seemingly unbearable crosses of forced abortions, loss of freedom, jobs, and homes for having a second child and the like, that Jesus carrying the cross will help them carry theirs. For all the thousands of people who were buried in that cemetery and who never heard the name of Jesus, that the Merciful Christ (who hears all prayer out of time) will save their souls and guide their purification in Purgatory. Two small Oriental lions border most of the cemetery plots, which had an incense pot placed in the center. A recent Chinese Catholic convert explained to us that most Chinese do not believe in God but are still extremely superstitious. They offer incense to their deceased relative as a protection against being haunted by them, or from their ancestors causing bad things to happen to them. Fear of ghosts and evil omens are the source of the incensing ritual, according to the convert. They don’t believe in God but do believe in some preternatural force that can harm them. Another recent Catholic convert adjusts this perspective by saying people know in their heart that God exists, but often will not admit it. They believe the souls of their loved ones continue, but they don’t know how or where. This is why the fear factor enters, which leads to their superstitious fear of ghosts and bad events happening if they neglect the honoring of their dead. There are festal days during the year in which many middle-generation Chinese still follow the traditional practice of laying out foods and gifts for their departed ancestors to appease them. I asked one of the converts about the younger generation and their beliefs. This 26-year-old convert (who has been Catholic for three years) then said that the first response to her conversion to Catholicism from her university peers was that she was crazy. Later, as the convert witnessed to her friends about Jesus and the Church through Bible stories and her own newfound peace of mind, her friends changed their response to "I think your faith in Jesus is a good thing." Another volunteer who had taught as an English professor in a Chinese university in another province, shared other stories of the foul fruits of the one-child policy. When beginning to teach one English class, she noticed a student who also had a younger sibling in the same class. When she asked how this was possible with the one-child policy, the student responded: "My mother got pregnant and went away to have my little sister. When my mother returned with the second baby the 5

Population Police came to our house, took everything in our house except the table, took off the front door, and removed all the windows—we were left with nothing, except the house and the table." In other cases, families were not so fortunate. When they returned from the hospital with the second baby, they found their house burned to the ground. Still worse were the families where the mother went to the hospital to deliver the second baby, and the medical attendant, after examining the woman, returned with a needle and injected her abdomen with poison and killed the unborn baby. Sadly, the one-child policy has even penetrated the psychological recess of Chinese family life. The same English instructor told me about one of her star students whose grades were always at the top of her class. One day, she scored rather poorly on a given exam, and immediately had a nervous breakdown. She was removed from the class and brought to a mental institution. The instructor explained, It’s the one-child policy. These kids already have so much pressure on them to achieve and to be "number 1" as part of their culture. But now they are the only one! They have to be successful for the family honor thing, but now they absolutely must succeed to support their mother and father. They are the only source of financial support for their parents in their old age. And this, along with no belief in God, no recognition of themselves as good in themselves, as created children of God, and no affirmation of being good, whether they achieve or not, from their parents. No wonder students are having nervous breakdowns." Too much pressure from parents, from school, from society, and no relief—not from family, not from country, and not from a relationship with God. All depends on your one child. After 40 minutes, we are invited back into the rear section of the crematorium, where we are brought to the slab where Yi Wei’s ashes lie. The worker quickly sweeps the small pile of ashes into what appears to be a metal dustpan, with little care and no visible respect. He brings the open-faced dustpan down the hall to a place where the ashes are placed into a bright yellow silken sack, which is then placed into an outer red silken wrap. Two fake gold coins are put in the sacks, presumably to assist the deceased gain entrance into his next habitat. Yi Wei’s sacred remains will be transported to a Catholic cemetery for his body’s final resting place. In the Communist mindset, this was the death of just another insignificant crippled child who could never be productive for the state, the family, or for national honor. From Heaven’s perspective and from the perspective of those assisting the child in his final moments, a baptized member in God’s family returns home in victory, never to have another seizure. Yi Wei’s body was caressed and kissed by the tearful co-workers who had cared for him for the past year. Marie, who suffers the breaking of a mother’s heart at the death of Yi Wei, and at the death of each precious child providentially entrusted to her care (15 children have already died in her arms), cradled his body in the car en route to the hospital and exclaimed in tears, "I’m happy because the Chinese co-workers were so sad." Indeed, the transcendent dignity of the human person has been restored in the hearts of the few native Chinese who have chosen to care for the most innocent and the most rejected of their own people. 6

The Second Sorrow: A Mother’s Sorrow

In another region of China, I was led to an apartment on an upper floor. The door opened to a mother, visibly pregnant, who was watching television with her five-year-old son on her lap. When she saw company enter, including an American stranger, the mother immediately began gathering the numerous toys spread about the couch in an effort to clean up for the unannounced visitors. I had entered an illegal home for pregnant mothers. These women want to keep their unborn babies despite Government and, sadly, family encouragement to abort their children. The clandestine director of this safe haven for pregnant mothers went into a side room, and immediately came out with a beautiful newborn baby, head full of thick black hair, and dark, penetrating eyes filled with wonder. Next to come out of the side room was the newborn’s mother. "Elizabeth" had a beautiful smile and a proud but gracious look on her face as we all offered our doting homage to the darling newborn before us. I would like you to hear Elizabeth’s own first-hand account, in her growing grasp of English, of what precisely happened in her amazing story that saved her baby: I ran away from the hospital because people prayed for me. I had given up many times, but God used the prayers of others. I don’t think I have much courage, but people prayed. I found out I was pregnant after one month. I told the baby’s father (we are not married) over the phone. I found out later from a friend that he cried for three hours and drank a lot. I waited for him to talk to me, but he did not call. He cried and drank. I was like a fish on fire, and the fire was burning me. I could not stand it. He did not call me for four days. I then called a friend of mine—a Protestant from the U.S., Laura. I asked her if it was okay for a Christian to get an abortion. At first she said it doesn’t matter, whatever you choose God will respect you. Then she called me back very soon after—she had talked it over with her husband and said that the pregnancy is a blessing and that I should pray for God’s will before I make a decision. The baby’s father had asked me twice before to marry him. But I said to him, "Can you abandon your faith?" (He is a Buddhist). When he said he could not, I said I could not marry him because I did not think God would bless us. We broke up many times. The last time when we talked about faith, he gave up on me forever. When I found out I was pregnant, we were not even dating, but we had remained friends, and I was waiting for his heart to change. I know I should not have slept with him, but I wanted to please him. After I got

7

pregnant, I thought maybe marriage could shelter me, even though we had differences, but he began to see the problems between us and knew that marriage was not an option for us. Laura and her husband, Lawrence, helped me a lot. My pregnancy was a secret at first. I couldn’t tell anyone. I felt sick and wanted to throw up everything. I had always been a good student, a good girl, but now. … My family was still introducing me to other men, men in high positions. Sometimes I think if I just give up and have an abortion no one will know, but Laura and Lawrence told me marriage without love is not good. Eventually the secret got out, little by little. Many friends, even Christian friends, were telling me to get an abortion. They said I could just ask for God’s forgiveness afterwards. But then another friend, an American, told me of a place I could stay in X during my pregnancy. I asked for time off from work. A pregnant woman can get six months off from work, so I asked for time. My boss asked me why I needed so much time off. I had to tell her the truth. She was a friend. She was so surprised. No one thought I was that kind of girl to sleep with a man before marriage, because I am very traditional. Because I am not married, my boss tried to get me to go for an abortion. She was frightened for me. Finally I was tired and I said, "Okay, tomorrow I will have an abortion." She persuaded me because she said I could have such a bright future. She said things like, "You are just a child," and, "It will be a secret." After I said okay, I went home. I did not want to think about the abortion. I watched TV. I refused to think about it. I told myself to be quick; if I delay, I will surely change my mind. Around 10 o’clock at night, I called a friend. She is not a Christian. I told her that I would have an abortion the next morning. She was surprised and said, "Four months, what a pity." Then I cried and cried. I cried so hard, I think the people downstairs must have heard me. I prayed to God, "Please don’t let me have an abortion. I’m weak but you are strong. Please give me a miracle—tomorrow I can’t get an abortion. No matter what, please stop the abortion from happening. Stop me! Stop me!" I then called the baby’s father and said, "The baby is moving now, it is very hard to get an abortion." His response was, "You are naïve, too simple. Consider the future! It will be very hard." He said only this. He wanted me to get an abortion. My boss asked me to wait at home. She would come to pick me up and take me to the hospital. But the next day, the hospital called her—there were no beds available, and so it was not possible to go in for an abortion! I was so happy! I went to the office and said, "I don’t want to have an abortion anymore. God answered my prayer—it’s a miracle and I love this baby!" Many people think I want to keep this baby because of Laura and Lawrence. They think I don’t want to disappoint them. But really, I love this baby. 8

My boss took me to the home of a single mom to show me how hard a life it is. She helps this mother by buy rice and vegetables for her. She wanted to change my mind, but I said, "I want to keep this baby." I knew God would help me. That afternoon, though, my boss informed my older sister of my situation. My sister said I should get an abortion. She is married, has one daughter, and has had many abortions. My sister came from her home, far away. She cried and cried. She told me to have an abortion— she said it only hurts for a moment and then you forget all about it. My sister is six years older than me and is like my mother. She always took care of me. She said to me, "When I heard that you were pregnant, I wanted to hit you. But now that I see you I want to hug you." She loves me. I looked so pathetic and was wearing dirty clothes. I had no energy to wash my clothes. Now I was very troubled. Laura and Lawrence called and encouraged me to run away. I said it was too hard now to run away. I told them I didn’t think I had any choice; my sister could not sleep at night. What was I to do? They said they could not sleep either and would continue praying for me. The next morning Laura came to my apartment. My sister was very angry at her because she knew that Laura wanted to persuade me to keep the baby. The three of us went to visit another American woman who has adopted two Chinese babies. My sister softened a little when she met Anne, and especially after meeting her adopted babies. My boss then called and asked if I was coming to work, so I went into the office. My sister called my parents and told them to come force me to change my mind. My sister did not tell them yet that I was pregnant, only that something was wrong. They were very worried. When I returned from work they were all waiting for me, my parents, my sister, her husband, and now they all knew that I was pregnant. Laura came with me. She just wanted to help support me. I was so nervous! I couldn’t think anymore, my brain stopped working. I didn’t know what would happen. When my mother saw me, she started to cry—she fell down to the ground, and my father hit me, kicked me, and slapped my face. Laura was sitting next to me. My sister told her to go home: "It’s our family’s trouble, we don’t need you!" But Laura said "I won’t go." She sat so close to me—my father hit me and then hit her as well. I didn’t realize that he was hitting her, my hair was pulled down, and I was looking down. My father was so angry and was shouting, "You are a shame! We paid so much money to get you into university!" (I am the only one from my village to go to university). "Just go die! Look what you have done!" My mother was crying and crying. Suddenly she knelt down before me (in China, only in very hard times does a mother kneel before her child) and said, "If you don’t get an abortion I will commit suicide in front of you." In my childhood my mother tried many times to commit suicide, so I really believed she would try to do this. Finally I said quietly, "Ok, I will get an abortion. Please stand up." She calmed down. Laura wanted to go home; maybe she was disappointed in me. I asked her to stay. We went out to a restaurant for dinner.

9

Everyone went because they thought everything was settled. Now they felt bad for treating Laura so poorly. Before going to the restaurant though, my brother-in-law called the baby’s father. He said my one chance for not having an abortion is marriage. But the baby’s father kept telling him that we have broken up and there was no chance for marriage. Laura was trying to convince him to just say yes, even if he didn’t mean it, so that I wouldn’t have to get an abortion. But he refused. After dinner Laura went home and prayed. That night my parents slept with me—they were afraid that I would attempt suicide or run away during the night. The next morning I was very angry because I realized that I would be killing my baby that day. I yelled at my parents, "You are so weak. You only care about your face, about what others think of you! You say I don’t love you—you want me to get an abortion but let it be known that I don’t want to have an abortion! I’m only doing this because of you!" My parents said, "If God punishes you, let the punishment fall on us." We went to the hospital around 11:00 a.m. There were so many girls waiting to have an abortion, so there were no beds free. My sister said, "See, so many people are here to have an abortion. It’s no big deal." The doctor did an exam and found that I had a vaginal infection. She said that I needed to first get rid of the infection. The abortion would take place within the next two days. Laura called me later that day, thinking I had already had an abortion. I asked her if she thought God would accept my baby. She said yes, but sounded so depressed. When I told her the abortion hadn’t happened yet, she jumped for joy! She said there was still time, I could run away. But I told her I was too tired. I had already given up. I was in the bathroom when I was talking to her, talking very quiet so no one would hear me. Laura was begging me to choose life and save my baby. But I was too tired. She said, "Do you still pray that God will grant you a miracle?" I said yes. The next morning the nurse came and pressed on my belly very hard. I was really uncomfortable—I felt like trash. They all knew I would have an abortion, so they don’t cherish my baby at all. She spoke only one word and smiled, "Your belly will get a shot." I jumped up "What! Why?" She thought I was nervous and simply said that I would understand when it happened. I was very upset then. I thought my baby would die by a pill, peacefully. But now I realized the baby would feel pain. I was very upset and angry. I was shouting at my mother then: "I have a way to keep this baby. Why do you force me to have an abortion? Why? I am always obedient to you and always listen to you! But now I’m doing what I don’t want to do! I only listen to you. Why did you give birth to me? It would be better if I had not come into this world!"

10

My mother cried. But I began to think of how I could get away. I lay down in the bed, and the nurse gave me IV antibiotics. I was worried that the medicine might hurt the baby. I felt so confused. I was in the hospital to kill my baby, but was worry about whether or not he was going to be healthy. A Christian friend called me and I asked her advice. She said I should try to keep the baby and asked why I had given up. Then Anne’s friend sent me a message. She had a friend who could come talk to my mom. I said no, it was no use. My mom would not talk to anyone. That night, I got another message. Two friends were in the hospital waiting for me to help me escape. They sent me a message to let me know they were there and would wait as long as I needed. They also let me know that many, many people were praying for me just then. They were waiting by the elevator for me. My mother was sleeping in the same bed as me, because she was afraid I was going to run away. Finally my mother fell asleep. I wrote a little note for my mom, "For two days I have been waiting for this baby to die and it is so hard. I know it is God’s will that the child should live because today I prayed that if the abortion did not happen today, I would take it as God’s will. Should I choose my family or my baby?" I wasn’t wearing much—just thin hospital pants and a thin sweater. I had my cell phone and my ID card. I grabbed a cucumber and said to my roommates, "I slept too much today, I’m going to walk around a little." I did not want my roommate to wake up my mother. I walked out casually, eating my cucumber. My two friends were waiting by the elevator. The elevator was not coming, so we ran for the stairs. My heart was broken—what about my mother? We ran down six floors, got in a taxi and ran. I was so scared, I thought I could not sleep that night, but God let me sleep until six o’clock the next morning. I stayed at the house of an American sister. There were people all over the world praying for me that night. I was frightened, but after two days I left for X. I heard from others that my family was okay. I have not spoken to them yet, but sent them a letter to let them know that I am okay. During the last week of June, Elizabeth gave birth at home to a beautiful baby girl. After recounting her story to me, Elizabeth mentioned that she was thinking of names to name the baby. The religious sister who had helped Elizabeth was also with us and jumped into the conversation with the suggestion that "Perhaps Dr. Miravalle might have a good name for the baby." Embarrassed and on the spot, I confirmed that I thought it was the proper right of a mother to name her own child, and how she shouldn’t feel pressured by anyone else’s suggestion. The suggested name, "Mary Elizabeth" then popped out of my mouth. Elizabeth, because her baby deserved to be named after her mother who had so heroically fought, risked all, and offered all for her life. "Mary," because the mother of Jesus likewise offered all and suffered all in union with her Son for the redemption of the world, and because Elizabeth had already lived parts of the life of the Sorrowful Mother, called by God’s mysterious Providence to share in a unique, unprecedented way in the suffering of her child. Elizabeth responded to this possibly presumptuous suggestion with the response, "Mary Elizabeth, yes, I like that name. I already have been thinking more of Maria, Jesus’ mother in these last days. I 11

feel like I begin to understand her life better. I do not know much about Jesus, his blood, his life, and that, but I believe in God and I prayed to the Lord. Yes, I like Mary Elizabeth." I was then informed that Elizabeth considers herself a Protestant Christian. Elizabeth and little Mary Elizabeth, healthy and happy, make a beautiful contemporary portrait of an oriental Madonna and her newborn child. Elizabeth and little Mary Elizabeth daily grow in mutual admiration and joy for the gift God has given them in each other.

12

The Third Sorrow: Abortion Without Conscience: The Indoctrination of a Nation

The individual accounts of the brutality of the one-child policy and its effects on the noble Chinese people are never-ending. One new Chinese convert recounts her terrifying fear while hiding under the bed as the Population Police were at the front door. Another young convert from a distant province testifies how her mother—while she was pregnant with her—jumped the wall of her backyard and fled from the Population Police. A Catholic missionary describes more of the process of the one-child policy: A certificate of permission is required to have a baby in a Chinese hospital. The government tells you how many children you can have and when. In the city, married couples are limited to one child. In the farming regions a family, if the first child is a girl, can sometimes be permitted to try for a boy as a second child because of the need for boys on the farm. Even in this case, the government will control when they can try for the boy, with the requirement that it be at least five years after the first child. The Government also uses psychological pressure to keep the policy. If a couple in the country have only one child, then this child will probably be able to have two children. The policy varies from region to region. A couple must go to the hospital with their permission certificate to deliver their child. If they arrive at the hospital without the permission certificate, hospital officials contact the Population Police. At this point, the Police decide, based on the circumstances of the family and the history of the couple, what is to be the fate of the family. The child will be injected with poison on the spot. Or the couple will be fined and their home burnt down. Or the couple could lose their jobs, and in some cases, cause the loss of their employees’ jobs (one teacher told me that if his wife didn’t abort her second child, he and the school principal would both lose their jobs). One Protestant woman refused to abort her second child and lost her own job at the hospital she worked at. Still another possibility is that the child does not receive official recognition that it exists and does not receive the "Chinese Social Security Card." The child therefore is not technically a citizen, nor can he or she go to school or participate in any right of a citizen. One remedy is to try to find a retired and sympathetic midwife who can deliver the child at home. This saves the baby’s life, but does not guarantee his registration. The missionary went on to give an example of one poor family from a village in Province M: One married couple from a very poor village in the countryside in M had LuLu, a girl, and in the countryside it is permitted to try for a boy if the first child is a girl. So the parents had Xiao Chuan, a boy. All was fine until they had a third child, a boy. At this point, village officials or family planning people came and destroyed the little shack they were living in and tore up their vegetable plot. They had nothing. So they sent LuLu and Xiao Chuan to work on local city streets for an uncle who was selling fruits and vegetables (depending on the season). LuLu and Xiao Chuan would 13

work from early morning til late at night. When they were discovered, a foreign friend tried to teach them a few things there on the street. LuLu would work hard all day and then late at night would return to her aunt and uncle’s apartment, where her aunt would receive a massage from LuLu. The little girl would get up very early and go to bed very late, and all her wages were given to her aunt. The foreign friend later received permission from the aunt and uncle to put both of these children in school. Subsequently, LuLu quit because, having been away for so long, she found it too difficult. Xiao Chuan has continued until now, getting excellent grades in elementary school. I pray to find a benefactor to fund his middle school. The examples go on and on. But the most alarming, the most depressing, the most copernican revelation of all that I have been exposed to (including the yet more grisly examples to follow), is the repeated refrain that the great majority of the people in China have lost any concept that there is anything at all wrong with having an abortion. It is considered less significant than a flu shot, a minor procedure like going to the dentist, a simple solution to a simple problem that doesn’t merit any soul searching for any alternative plans. China has become a nation who without conscience aborts their own future generations. And this is Satan’s ultimate victory here. Is this conscience loss regarding the transcendent dignity and inherent right of human life to be blamed exclusively on atheistic Communism? Have not the recent influences of Western morals of secular humanism, materialism, hedonism, and ultimately unmitigated egoism, also contributed to this Chinese terrorism of the womb? In any case, the combination amounts to self-inflicted Chinese genocide, which so saddens the God that creates and loves the ethnical uniqueness of China. New macabre manifestations of this conscienceless abortion mentality include the recent opening of five restaurants in the region of X, which began serving "fetal soup" at the price of 300 Yuan (approximately $40) a bowl! Recent medical publications have praised the exceptional health benefits for the consuming of "fetal remains" (this jargon allows them to overlook what this really is —unborn baby bodies). Therefore, local entrepreneurs jumped on the opportunity to distribute this new health breakthrough to the chosen few who could afford the price. So evil and scandalous is this fetal soup trade that the Government shut down the Web sites advertising the restaurants, in fear that they would scandalize the reputation of the People’s Republic to outside countries and businesses. Is it possible that the abortion holocaust and its rejection of life’s sacred dignity has also contributed to the recent practice of "ghost wives," as recently reported in Chinese news sources? This is the practice of providing a woman’s dead body to be buried with a deceased man so that the man will have company in the "next life." Distributors of the dead bodies of women found that men were willing to pay much more for a "new" dead body of a woman, rather than one previously preserved. Murder of women from out-of-the-way places ensued to fill the new demand for the fresh ghost wives. When human life in the womb is not safe, no human life is safe. How can China regain the natural law dictates of conscience that tells every human heart that it is always wrong to directly kill an innocent human being, regardless of race, religion, health, age or location, including the womb 14

(historically man’s most secure location, and now his most dangerous)? Through God, through prayer, through education, and through the witness of individual heroes, saving one person, one unborn child, at a time. Six years ago, Mrs. Niu was evangelized by an aunt who had married into the family. She heard of Jesus and his Catholic Church and wanted to follow in his footsteps. She and her six-year-old daughter were baptized and brought into the Church. Her husband and in-laws could not understand this foolishness and only grudgingly allowed it. Mrs. Niu was often reprimanded for taking her little girl, Xiao Xiao, along with her to Church. But for Xiao Xiao, Church was a joy, and learning about Jesus was life-giving. Her mother talks of her as though she were the greatest saint to walk the face of the earth. She is really proud of the grace that has begun to work in her. Mrs. Niu’s commitment to Christ is unquestionable. She is filled with a peace that could only come from a strong faith. At the beginning of the summer of 2004, Mrs. Niu discovered that she was pregnant. Feeling she could trust her husband, she told him of the new life developing within her. Rather than sharing in her joy though, he told her she needed to have an abortion. He proceeded to tell his parents, who were also of the opinion that she should abort. Her daughter, frightened by what all this meant, also encouraged her to have an abortion. Feeling the pressure all around her, she was uncertain as to what she should do. One morning while she was struggling with this pressure, she happened across a copy of the movie, "The Passion." She bought it, took it home, and watched it that same afternoon. After this visual reminder of all that Jesus suffered for us that we might have life, she was determined to do all she could to preserve the life of her little one. This movie left her with a powerful resolve to fight for her child’s life. That very night, Population Control came to her home looking for her. Her motherin-law had reported her pregnancy, and they were coming to verify and end it. They asked, "Is it true that you are pregnant?" She said, "Yes it is true, and I will go in the morning to have an abortion." That they came in the evening (and on that particular evening) rather than in the morning was ordained by Divine Providence. For if they had arrived in the morning, they would have escorted her to the clinic and made sure the abortion took place. But it was evening, and they felt satisfied with her answer. And having just finished watching "The Passion" she was filled with the conviction that she could not go through with an abortion. After Population Control left, Mrs. Niu knew that she would have to leave home. She knew there was no way she could carry the child to term at home. She spoke to her daughter in private and told her that she was going to leave, but her daughter began to cry and plead with her mom. Not wanting to be separated from her mom, she begged her to have an abortion. Mrs. Niu tried to console her and finally told her daughter she would have an abortion to stop her from crying. But Mrs. Niu knew that this was not really an option for her. Although she heard the pleading of her daughter in her ears, she also heard the cry of her unborn child in her heart. The next morning she took her daughter to school and on the way told her daughter she would go that morning for an abortion. She explained that she would be too weak to care for her for a little 15

while, and so she should go to her grandparents’ house after school and remain there for a few days. Her daughter agreed, and again pleaded with her to have an abortion and not leave her. After dropping her daughter off at school, Mrs. Niu left her bicycle near the school gate, got on a bus and went to the local church. There she spoke with a religious sister who said she could go and live with the sister’s parents until she gave birth to the baby. The sister wrote out the address of her parents on a piece of scrap paper and gave it to Mrs. Niu. Mrs. Niu thanked her, but knew she did not want to go there. The sister had two brothers who were living with her parents. She felt the house would be crowded and that she would be a burden. However, on the little piece of scrap paper was the address of a convent in another town. Mrs. Niu decided to see if they could offer her any help. She took a bus to the convent and when she arrived she spoke with the superior. When the superior heard her story, she told Mrs. Niu, in complete violation of the teachings of the Church, that she should be obedient to the law and carry out her husband’s wishes by aborting the baby. But Mrs. Niu was determined to follow God’s law and eventually was able to convince the sister that she was going to do everything in her power to save her baby. The sister, seeing there was no convincing Mrs. Niu otherwise, decided to help her. A priest happened to visit the convent to give the sisters some teachings. Mrs. Niu was introduced to him and he began to think of how to help her. He mentioned a nice Catholic village where she could go, but then ruled that out because the conditions there would have been a bit harsh. The priest then thought of a family where she could stay and decided that would be the best place for her to go. He sent her to this town in early August. The timing was perfect. Just before she left, her husband called the convent looking for her. He was trying to track her down. In the town she was able to help care for the babies and cook for the staff in a nearby children’s home for several months. Although she missed her daughter terribly, she never complained about her situation or said anything bad about her family who had betrayed her. During the first week of November she started bleeding. She was taken to the hospital where the doctors discovered the placenta had partially detached from the uterine wall. They sent her back to the host family, but she was placed on complete bed rest. For the next month and a half she spent her days in bed praying the Rosary, reading the Bible, and knitting little booties. She remained at peace through the whole ordeal and constantly thanked God for taking care of everything. She just knew he would see everything through, as he had taken care of them thus far. On December 24, in the wee hours of a snowy morning, her water broke. She was still six weeks away from her due date. She was rushed to the hospital and admitted at 3:00 a.m. Her husband, after months of having no idea as to her whereabouts, was contacted the next day to explain the situation to him. He was quite angry the first time he was called and hung the phone up before he even heard about his wife’s situation. Five minutes later, he was called again, and he had calmed down. He became very concerned for both mother and child when he learned that they were in danger. The very next day, he came to the town where his wife was. It happened to be Christmas morning. He felt sorrow for the pressure he had placed on his wife and wanted to make sure that both she and

16

the baby were now safe. He feared losing his job and the fear had made him think they should abort the baby. But now he expressed gratitude for his wife’s wisdom in wanting to keep the child. The doctors decided that Mrs. Niu should remain in the hospital until she delivered, as her situation was very serious. On the 26th, while Mrs. Niu was sleeping, the doctors came in to monitor the baby. They discovered the baby’s heart rate was very slow. They said to the father, "If we are going to save this baby, we need to do a C-section now! Will you sign the papers giving permission for this surgery?" He hesitated, not knowing the full implications of what was being said to him. But Mrs. Niu woke up when she heard "save the baby" and shouted to her husband "Sign it!!" They both signed the papers, and she was rushed to the emergency room. During surgery, they discovered that the placenta had completely detached itself from the uterine wall. They realized that if they had waited any longer they might have lost both mother and child. The C-section was performed, and the baby was safely delivered. They were able to present Mrs. Niu with her newborn son, 1.7 kg (3.7 lbs). They held the baby up to her and told her to kiss his little head before they sent him off to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The NICU at that hospital was full, so the newborn was transferred to another hospital, where he grew in size and health. The husband was so happy that both were safe and that he now had a son. Once the baby was delivered and he could see that both were well cared for, he returned home. One week later, the mother-in-law called. She was crying on the phone and kept saying how sorry she was for trying to force her to abort the baby. Mrs. Niu responded with generous Christian forgiveness, as the motherin-law kept repeating, "Thank you for having the baby." The baby was in the hospital for 10 days. He was not completely out of the woods when he was released, but was in stable condition. Mrs. Niu was very vigilant in her care for him, and he got stronger and larger with each passing day. As Chinese Spring Festival approached, Mrs. Niu’s desire to return home got stronger and stronger. She was ready to be with her family again. She announced that she would return home for New Year. But she was advised to wait a little longer for the sake of the baby. She finally agreed to wait. Later that day her husband called her with the frightening news, "Don’t come home!" The police, expecting her to come home for Spring Festival, were waiting for her at her door. Once again, she felt the hand of God watching out for her and protecting her and the baby. Her daughter, still missing her terribly, found a family member to take her to her mom to spend the Spring Festival with her. After Spring Festival ended, Mrs. Niu, the baby, Xiao Xiao, and the aunt all made their way back home. They did not return to Mrs. Niu’s home, but to another city not far away, where she can stay safely for a while. Everyone is presently well and thankful. Ironically, the Mandarin Chinese linguistic character for the word "good" is the symbolic representation of a mother next to her child safely present. The Communist Government would do well to remember that it is good to protect, and not to destroy, the mother-child relationship if it truly seeks good for its people.

17

The Fourth Sorrow: A Broken Body: The Church in China

What is the real story of the Catholic Church in China? Are persecutions of bishops, priests, and faithful loyal to Rome easing up, as would be expected by a government that purports to be granting more religious freedom as part of its new "democratic approach"? On June 30, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI released a rare papal document—a letter not for the entire Catholic world, nor to a continent, but to an individual country: To the Bishops, Priests, Consecrated Persons, and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China. Even a quick read of the document reveals that Pope Benedict has released a very carefully worded document that on the one hand calls for the true fidelity and obedience appropriate for a local church in communion with the Catholic Church universal, and at the same time deals with an unusually complex and sensitive set of circumstances. Some of the serious issues which led the Pope to issue a specific letter to China include: the lack of normal diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican’s Holy See; the involvement of the Government in the internal affairs of the Church; the tensions and divisions within the Church, due in large part to the existence of a "Patriotic Church" established and sustained by the Government, which does not recognize the ultimate authority of the Pope, particularly in regards to the appointment of bishops; the status of the Chinese Bishops Conference; and the ongoing violations of freedom for Chinese Catholics who have remained in complete fidelity to Rome at the price of great personal suffering, persecutions, fines, imprisonment, and in some cases, torture and death. The Holy Father, while offering profound spiritual insights and exhortations about the supernatural faith and hope that must sustain a Church under persecution, also puts forth some specific directives for Chinese shepherds and their flocks which, without some understanding of the complex situation of the Chinese Church, may be difficult to understand. He has defended the right of religious freedom for Chinese Catholics and has called for fidelity to the Bishop of Rome for all Catholics, but has given permission for the faithful to receive the sacraments at Government-associated Patriotic, or "Open," churches when grave inconvenience prevents access to a local church under a bishop approved by Rome. He has delegated to the bishops great pastoral latitude in seeking to address the complex spiritual and pastoral problems that come from a divided, largely uncatechized Church, whose clergy and religious oftentimes lack proper theological and spiritual formation (due in greater part, once again, to the intervention of the state). At the same time he has declared the Chinese Bishops Conference to be invalid, because of the prevailing influence of Patriotic bishops and the absence of any participation from most underground bishops.

18

How should the inspired teachings of Pope Benedict be properly understood and applied amidst bewildering divisions and ongoing persecutions experienced daily by the Church in China? We must begin with a few distinctions. The following distinctions and their true case examples (with pseudonyms) regarding the present state of the Chinese Church were provided by some Catholic missionaries with unquestioned loyalty to the Holy Father, with decades of experience in Asian missionary work, and who has uncanny connections to reliable Catholic information sources throughout this expansive nation. The present status of bishops can be summarized into three categories: 1. Vatican-Approved "Underground" Bishops These are bishops appointed by the Holy See and who were consecrated by other bishops who were validly consecrated and are in communion with the Pope. This category of bishops is not approved by the Government (hence "underground”). The Government consistently persecutes these bishops, specifically through the agencies of the Religious Affairs Bureau (RAB) and/or the Public Security Bureau (PSB). Underground bishops are typically under constant surveillance and consistently imprisoned or detained in isolation without warning, for anytime from a few days, to six months, to several years, and oftentimes without any reason beyond their refusal to join the Patriotic Church. One underground bishop commented that most of his fellow underground bishops have spent approximately 20 years in combined time of imprisonment or isolated detention. Bishop Gao of Yantai, Shandong, after many years in prison and in poor health, died in prison in January 2005. Another underground bishop was told by the attending physician who went to examine and remove Bishop Gao’s body that the body, and particularly the limbs, exhibited a darkened color which the doctor believed was indicative of death by poisoning. Another underground bishop, Bishop A, spent 13 years in prison, most of those years working under great physical duress at a forced-labor camp. During his prison time, he received more than 300 fellow inmates into the Church. Before great Church feasts like Christmas and Easter, the RAB and PSB will frequently come and take the underground bishops away so that they are separated from their faithful. One underground bishop was admitted to surgery, and during his recovery in the hospital he was abducted by the police and brought to an undisclosed location for several weeks. During their forced detainment, efforts are made to indoctrinate them against their uncompromised loyalty to Rome, and they are promised large sums of money, cars, and assignments to important cathedrals in influential cities if they will simply agree to an alliance with the Patriotic Church. Financial support is given by the Government for the physical upkeep of Patriotic cathedrals and local churches, whereas church buildings within underground dioceses are not supported, and are sometimes toppled to the ground by the Government. The Government forbids any foreign financial assistance for underground bishops and their dioceses. 19

2. Government-Appointed "Patriotic" Bishops without Vatican Approval These bishops are officially approved by the Government and are normally consecrated by other patriotic bishops, but without Vatican approval. They are often used by the Government to promote Government agendas. One example of an official patriotic bishop is the recently deceased bishop of Beijing, Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan, who was known to have an active role in the Central Government as well as his ecclesiastical authority within the Beijing diocese (located within the capital of Communist China). 3. Government-Appointed and Consecrated Bishops with Subsequent Vatican Approval; VaticanAppointed Bishops with Subsequent Government Approval Some bishops were originally appointed by the Government without Vatican approval, consecrated by other patriotic bishops, but at some later time requested and obtained approval from the Holy See. Still other bishops were originally Vatican appointed, but later also received Government approval. At present, approximately 80 percent of all bishops in China have Vatican approval. In many instances, these bishops who have accepted Government approval as well as Vatican approval are pressured by the Government to compromise or betray their allegiance to Rome by participating in illegal consecrations of bishops—some are offered large sums of money and some are kidnapped and forced to attend these ordinations. Others are punished for their non-cooperation by Government refusal of building permits, salaries withheld, constant surveillance, and other forms of harassment. Pope Benedict’s letter reminds Vatican bishops that while Government approval does not in itself constitute a violation of loyalty to Rome, that it cannot, however, lead to any concrete compromise of Church teaching and obedient communion with the Holy Father. This is often a most challenging balance to live day by day under a proudly professed atheistic Communist regime. Recently, two Vatican-approved bishops were kidnapped and forced to attend a Patriotic bishop’s consecration, which was not approved by Rome. On the day before the illicit consecration one bishop, Bishop B, pretended to go jogging, and then just kept running and escaped. When this was discovered, 10 policemen were assigned to guard the other bishop, Bishop D. He attempted to contact the proper Vatican authorities, but in the end was forced to participate in the Patriotic episcopal consecration. With this degree of division within the ranks of bishops due to the unjustifiable state invention of a parallel church, structured but intrinsically severed from its divinely instituted means of unity in Peter, one can imagine the level of confusion, frustration, and suffering of faith that is experienced by the Catholic clergy and laity. The Heart of Jesus is pierced by this division in his Body, as his beloved Chinese Catholic disciples must daily experience his own broken Body. 20

Priests, religious, and seminarians also have acute experiences of the Church suffering in China. In terms of loyalty to Rome and the teaching Magisterium, official or Patriotic priests and seminarians vary widely, some being very loyal to the Government party line and others in total union with Rome and the teaching Magisterium. A missionary religious sister offers a few examples of the complex situation for priests and religious: A few years ago, a Government-staged illegal consecration of several bishops took place in Beijing. There are two seminaries in Beijing—the Beijing Diocesan Seminary and the National Patriotic Seminary. All the seminarians were required to attend the ordination. All the seminarians from the National Seminary refused to attend, some locked themselves in their rooms. They were severely punished, the ringleaders dismissed from the seminary, and the remaining seminarians subjected to weeks of reindoctrination. Prior to this incident, the Government had been pushing for the Beijing Diocesan Seminary to combine with the National Seminary. In the Cathedral city of another diocese, the Government announced that an illegally consecrated bishop would visit the Cathedral and say the main Mass. The priests were all opposed and refused to say Mass with the illegal bishop. The Government put on the pressure. The priests resisted. Finally, the illegal bishop ended up saying Mass by himself at a very early Mass, rather than at the main Mass as originally intended by the Government. Seminarians at one seminary in China always had an enormous crowd at the seminary for Christmas celebrations. They began preparing for this in September. Some prepared Bible skits for the children who would be present, others prepared catechetical teachings for the youth and adults—there was something for everybody. This event at the seminary became so popular that thousands of people were coming. So, one Christmas, the Government forbid the seminary and seminarians from advertising the event by placing posters on any buildings. So the seminarians resorted to an ingenious remedy. They advertised the event by sending up a hot air balloon with the dates and times that could be seen throughout the region. In another instance, a new bishop was going to be consecrated. He had both Vatican approval and Government approval. Usually when a bishop is consecrated, the decree from the Vatican appointing the new bishop is read publicly. But, in this case, the Government refused to give permission for the decree from the Vatican to be read in public. The consecration ceremony, scheduled for the morning, was about to begin and the problem still wasn’t solved. Hundreds of people were waiting patiently. Still, the priests were at loggerheads with the Government. In the evening, still no solution was arrived at since the Government forbid the reading of the Vatican decree. Finally the priests went to a neighboring church where the faithful processed after the consecration (which was held in a public building), and the Vatican decree was read there from the pulpit.

21

In another similar instance, the consecration of a bishop with Vatican approval took place very early before the officials got up, and the Vatican decree was read publicly. By the time the officials arrived, the consecration was over. One priest is known to have been arrested and severely beaten, including being stomped on his chest resulting in broken ribs and having to be hospitalized. He has always escaped, one time when going to the toilet, one time from the hospital, etc. These arrests are because of pressure from the Government for him to join the official, or Patriotic, Church. Another priest was severely beaten on the head by the police and has suffered headaches for several years as a result. Underground priests live on the run going from house to house, subjected to arrests and beatings. Often they are unable to lead a regular life of daily prayer, spiritual reading, etc. Often their formation has been clandestine and deeply inadequate. In many instances, they find themselves in circumstances very detrimental to chastity. For example, when they stay in private homes, the husband works during the day while the wife is often at home. They have no salary and are dependent on contributions from the lay faithful. There has also been a beautiful example of friendship between underground and official (or "open" Patriotic Church) priests. In one parish in a certain province, two underground priests were arrested and made to serve in the official parish where two official priests were in residence. The unofficial, or underground, priests were blood brothers as well. Eventually, one of the underground priests was sent off to the seminary for more formation. His brother was left in the parish. He became good friends with the parish official priest and pastor, who was very loyal to Rome and the Magisterium. The underground priest wanted badly to escape and the pastor deeply understood his desire to be with his own and minister to them. But if the underground priest were to escape with the official priest in residence, the Government would suspect some collaboration. So the official priest took a trip to the countryside to visit a convent of sisters. He carried a small package that contained the belongings of the underground priest who was planning an escape that same day. Along the way, he mailed the package. The underground priest escaped through the collaboration of the official priest. Tragically, many Patriotic priests are largely unfamiliar with the Church’s teaching with regard to abortion and birth control. Until recently, most of them, if not all, had never heard of Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical The Gospel of Life. Many Patriotic Church priests and sisters recommend abortion. Religious women also fall under two categories: official and unofficial, or underground. Official church religious women generally receive some support from the local church or the Government. For 50 years, their formation was extremely insufficient. Today, they are able to send some sisters abroad for further study. They assist parish priests, especially in catechesis. They work very hard and serve well. Some of them care for orphans, run medical clinics, eye clinics, etc., as a means of 22

subsistence. One drawback, however, is that many of the Patriotic church sisters have heard Government propaganda for so long and have not heard the truth about the preciousness of human life—many will counsel abortion if they are confronted with a potentially difficult pregnancy. As the same missionary sister recounted: At a pro-life seminar, some Patriotic Church sisters said that a foreign priest came and told them that it was okay to abort the handicapped. So they had been doing this at their clinic. In one diocese out west, a Patriotic church sister performs abortions at a small clinic in front of the church. Some women confronted with a crisis pregnancy have gone to the Patriotic Church sisters or parish priests for help. In many cases, they are given the same line as the state—they are told to have an abortion. There is great need in China to spread the pro-life message and to be prepared to follow this up with concrete services, especially to those women in need. Unofficial or underground sisters continue to have an extremely difficult time. They have no means of livelihood except maybe a little vegetable patch and a few donations from the laity. Their formation has also at times been lacking due to Government persecution. Their life is very precarious, and they do not know from one year to the next how they will survive or what their future holds. As one Catholic missionary related: One group of sisters in one diocese lived safely in one place for a year or two. Then the police came and chased them away. They went somewhere else and the pattern continued. Every two or three years they would be chased away. At one location, the police confiscated their habits and all their religious items. Some of these sisters make cloisonné rosaries which are purchased by faithful in the U.S. They are most grateful for this assistance, without which they would not be able to survive. Prayer, support, love, is what the Church in the West should be pouring into the Church in China. Their broken body is ours, because it is Christ’s. This morning, I am traveling on a fast train through provinces in this huge Chinese country, en route to a privileged meeting with an underground bishop. After a preliminary call a few days ago to a contact person for the bishop, the bishop agreed to meet with me at great personal risk to himself. Typically, bishops who refuse to have any cooperation with the Government-run Patriotic church are forbidden to speak to foreigners, receive outside financial aid, and have experienced a long history of abductions, imprisonments with extended terms of solitary confinements, and hard labor. They are also under near-constant surveillance by the Religious Affairs Bureau and the police. Exactly how this meeting is to take place, I am unsure. Although I have an extended train ride to the general area where the bishop lives, I cannot use public transportation for the last hour of travel, as officials will notice me. The bishop and those

23

assisting him have arranged that a driver will pick me up from the train station and drive me for the final hour of the journey. As I begin Morning Prayer on the train, I am happily shocked to discover that today, July 9, is the optional memorial of the Chinese martyrs canonized by John Paul II in the 2000 Jubilee Year! From the seventeenth century to the present day, Chinese Catholics have suffered numerous occasions of violent persecution. In 2000, John Paul II canonized 120 Chinese Catholics and foreign missionaries martyred from 1648 to 1930. St. Augustine Zhao Rong (+1815) was one of the 29 priests, including six bishops, martyred in this group. I cannot help but think that I am soon to meet in person a bishop who ranks in the company of the other Chinese bishops, priests, religious, and laity whom we invoke on today’s feast. Bishop C, like most all underground bishops, is greatly loved by his faithful flock, and has repeatedly shown his willingness to offer his life for Jesus, for the Vicar of Jesus in Rome, and for the Church of Jesus in its fullness without compromise. When I arrive at the train station, I am met by a woman who instructs me that I will be taking a taxi somewhere, and I should say nothing about the bishop or anything Catholic in the taxi. She also informs me that there are cameras all over the station and to say nothing. I follow her to the taxi station. We ride to the outskirts of this city and stop on the side of a gas station. There is a car and a driver waiting there. We get into the black car with darkened windows and ride in a new direction. My translator asks if it is OK to speak freely and the woman, who we find out is a religious sister, responds yes, we may speak freely. During the car ride, the sister explains that Bishop C has spent over fifteen years in prison or some form of isolation, as is the average for most underground bishops. Because he refuses to join the Government-influenced Patriotic Church, he is routinely taken away to prison without notice. As we arrive at an extremely poor village (even for third-world standards), I am taken down a primitive dirt road. We arrive at a building. The bishop will meet us there. The house of meeting is humble. We are taken to a location where the underground prayer groups often meet. After a few minutes, a man of simple attire walks in. It is the bishop. His face beams with humility and a gentle smile as walks over to greet us. He immediately displays a trust in us, as we have been introduced by a reliable source as true supporters of the Holy Father and our Chinese underground brothers and sisters. Indeed, he has risked his freedom and perhaps even more for this meeting. Frankly, my eyes begin to tear as I kiss his hand. He radiates the lowly presence of a saint. We sit with the translator, a young and relatively new convert, whose eyes also fill with tears in the presence of this holy man. Before we begin the interview, I thank the bishop for this honor that words cannot describe, and ask for his blessing that the Holy Spirit will guide our brief time together. We kneel, he blesses us, and we begin.

24

MM: What would you like the Catholics in the U.S. and the West to know about the situation of the Church here, and what would you like us to pray for? Bishop C: Pray for our Catholic faith here, faithful to God, to Rome, to the Holy Father. Pray for Chinese freedom. China does not have freedom of faith. You can have freedom in your heart, no one can control it, but if you express these convictions outside it is hard. They will try to control you. Pray also because much of our laity and clergy are kind of focused on earthly things, and not on God. Even though we have many difficulties here, if we can trust totally in God, we can solve all our problems. When we can do nothing for outside freedom, we can do something in our hearts to obtain freedom. There is a bad tendency regarding faith in our times. The commitment to faith has fallen in recent times, compared to the 1980s. All of society is tending this way. People pray little— they don’t do any sacrifices and faith gradually declines. People just want to pursue happiness in this world. This is much worse than the Government harassing us. MM: What is the reason for this decline in faith? Bishop C: People just want to enjoy earthly things, and they don’t want to pray or suffer. It is the happiness of their body that they pursue. MM: But what do you believe is the cause for this new attitude? Bishop C: Some influence from Western countries, which not only affects China but Western Catholics also. So even worse than the Government are these secular influences. Mary, through many of her messages, has clearly decried the present state of the world, and what we should be doing about it. Are you familiar with some of Our Lady’s descriptions of the Chinese Government in her modern messages? This is an accurate portrayal of our Government. MM: In some of her messages, she identifies Chinese Communism as the Red Dragon in the Book of Revelation. Bishop C: Yes, this, I believe, is an accurate understanding of our Government. In Heaven there is a kind of fight between Mary and the Red Dragon. In China, here is the sharpest point, the climax of the battle. So if we are united to Mary, to be with Her, we will never be afraid of this Red Dragon. We should not be afraid of the Red Dragon, but we should be afraid of ourselves, the danger of ourselves falling down in our faith. So we must listen and pray more to Mary. This is the only way to save the Chinese Church. To pull down the Communist party is not the only way to save the Church. We must seek their conversion, 25

and Mary can convert them, she can convert their hearts. Like St. Paul, who converted from a killer of the disciples to become our advocate for Christ. MM: Have you heard of a movement to encourage the Holy Father to proclaim Our Lady as the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate as a new dogma, so the world can know they have a Spiritual Mother? Bishop C: Yes, I know of it. This is contained in the messages of Mary. MM: Your Excellency, what is your opinion of the new letter of Pope Benedict to the people of China? At this point in the interview, the bishop receives a call on the cell phone at the same time the driver enters the room. The bishop must leave immediately. He excuses himself and leaves with a peaceful haste. The sister comes in and lets me know that her contact has called and informed her that the police are arriving at his residence. They are afraid that they have come to take the bishop away again and ask me to please pray for his protection. The sister puts her head down in prayer and I begin to pray, with a return of tears for what new dangers might be awaiting him. A half hour has passed. I cannot help but wonder if our meeting had anything to do with the abrupt visit by the police. I also begin growing anxious as to how I may have squandered the few precious minutes with this holy bishop without getting more quickly to vital subjects, such as his imprisonment, his view of Pope Benedict’s letter to the Chinese, the one-child policy and the like. After a few more minutes of prayer and worry, sister walks in and proclaims the news, "Thank God, the bishop is returning!" Moments later, in walks the bishop. I let out a sigh and thank God for his safe return. His smile of recognition for my relief remains humble and peaceful. I ask him if he can inform me as to the reason for this visit from the police. He informs me what happened. Although too much detail could too easily identify Bishop C, suffice it to say he was encouraged not to publicly support or promulgate the Pope’s new letter. He responded to the police visit with the courage, unwavering loyalty to Rome, and the supernatural wisdom that has made him, along with the other underground bishops, a spiritual force that the People’s Republic of China must reckon with. In his weakness, he is so very strong. I asked him if all underground bishops are treated this way. He answered that in general, yes, they were. I then told him I wanted to include his over 15-year combined time of imprisonment and isolation in my published account of this interview, but that I was afraid it would too easily identify him. He responded that almost all underground bishops have spent at least 15 years in prison and therefore it wasn’t a problem to include the information. With a renewed gratitude for the gift of this man and this time with him, the interview continues. MM: Can you tell us how the underground Church operates? 26

Bishop C: In approved places, they can do Mass, but to come here, they have to come very secretly. MM: In the Pope’s letter it seemed like the Holy Father was saying that in each region it can be so complicated that it must be left to the local bishop to say how much or how little is possible in terms of cooperation with the Government. Bishop C: We do nothing with the Patriotic Association here, and we will have nothing to do with them here. I speak to my priests secretly. MM: How does the Government treat Patriotic bishops and actions of the Patriotic Church? Bishop C: For the Patriotic Church they communicate with the Government for big events, but for smaller events, they might not check with the Government. The Government cares little about the Patriotic bishops, because they are members of the Patriotic Church. They have much more freedom than us. But concerning larger events the Government will interfere with them too; for example, when they want to open a seminary or convent. The Government sends spies, Judas-type people, to both Patriotic and underground Churches, to get information, and then they will report to the Government. For example, during one of our liturgical ceremonies, one of the attending priests was a spy and reported it to the Government. MM: Is it hard for the spirit, the morale of the underground Church, when they hear that a Vatican-approved bishop is also inappropriately co-operating with the Government? Bishop C: It is like a shock, really hard! … The Patriotic Church sometimes attacks the underground Church because we will not join. Then the Government attacks our projects. For example, one bishop built a house for orphans, and they did not tell them. The Government came and tore it down. MM: About how many underground Catholics are there in the country? Bishop C: This is hard to know for sure. We build an underground church and the Government comes and tears it down. So the people move to another place. So it is hard to know. It is different in different areas (1). MM: How many underground bishops are there? Bishop C: There are about 17 underground bishops. MM: In the letter of the Pope, he indicated that a Vatican-approved bishop could also receive the approval of the Government and still be in union with the Pope. Is that the practical reality here? 27

Bishop C: Yes, this happens here. Two-thirds of Vatican-approved bishops are also Patriotic. MM: Are all Government-approved bishops forced to compromise with the Government? Bishop C: There are two types. One is the underground bishop who later got approved by the Government. The second type is the Patriotic bishop, who was first approved by the Government, and then they went to Rome to ask forgiveness and to get approval. At this point, the bishop must leave the interview to speak to an underground priest who is on the run. I then ask the religious sister who accompanied us here some questions about her bishop.

In light of the seemingly overwhelming obstacles to Church reconciliation and reunification, let alone the Goliath obstacle of the Communist government’s one-child policy among a myriad of other human rights violations, we could despair for the future of Chinese Catholicism. But there is hope, incarnate hope in the form of one David-like province of China. Today I travel by plane over majestic mountain ranges to arrive at what can be referred to as a true Catholic region of China—an area which, believe it or not, has not only to large degrees achieved reconciliation between the Patriotic Church and the underground Church, but has also in some miraculous fashion beaten the one-child policy in several of its villages, through a combination of courage, perseverance, and the blood of martyrs. Province D is already known for its general lack of cooperation with the Chinese Government. The remarkable experience of the unity of the underground and Patriotic churches into simply one "Catholic Church" is alive and well in a number of locations throughout the province. The blood of martyrs is the ultimate wellspring for vibrant faith, and the land of Province D is stained red with it. A former parish priest from one village spoke with great pride of the heroic defense of the people for their esteemed bishops and priests. During the Boxer Rebellion (18981901), great numbers of Catholics were put to death in this area. The people defended their clergy with extraordinary heroism, oftentimes at the price of their lives and the lives of their family members. I arrive at a holy place in this province, one which, for its own safety, cannot be described in all its extraordinary Catholic beauty and devotion. After praying at the several devotional locations, I met a young priest on pilgrimage from another part of the province, who informed me that he was about to offer Mass and that I was welcome to attend. After a Mass of noble and reverent simplicity offered by the priest, who had been ordained only three years previous, I asked him a few questions about the unusual Catholic vibrancy of this province. MM: Why is this province so exceptionally Catholic? 28

Fr. P: [Fr. P throughout interview > Because there are so many Catholics here. There are about x. number of Catholics and over x. priests [extremely large numbers for any Chinese region >. The priests are united under the bishop, our hearts are united. In the case of the priests, our hearts are united. And with all the faithful, are hearts are united. He told me he had been educated in a seminary which is operated by the Patriotic Church. I asked him if he received any direct pressure to join the Patriotic Church there. Fr. P: When I was at the seminary I did not feel any pressure directly from the Government, but inside my heart I felt pressure from the Government, because the seminary is a Patriotic, Government-run seminary. MM: How does your diocese resist the pressures of the government to compromise the Church’s teachings in regards to loyalty to Rome and respect for unborn human life? Fr. P: This diocese is just great, very strong. It is such a great diocese the Government can’t do anything. They put so much pressure in other places but they can’t here. MM: What about government enforcement of the one-child policy in your diocese? Fr. P: It doesn’t happen here the same way it happens in other places. The people are too united. They just refuse to follow the Population Police. Many families have many children. We help each other, and we stand together. The faith is so strong and without compromise. There are too many of us for them to control. We are united in heart with the bishop, clergy, and faithful, and the people make many sacrifices and pray very much. When the Population Police come to fine the people, the people fight back and say, "We don’t have the money, we cannot pay," and that’s it. There are too many of us united in faith under the Pope. Mary also protects us, and the blood of the martyrs. I left this village and drove a considerable distance to another location within the province. I spoke to a parish priest whose village was also striving in Catholic faith and life. The parish was filled with children, with many families having large numbers of children. The pastor also granted me an interview under the condition of his anonymity. MM: What is the relationship between the Patriotic Church and the underground Church here? Fr. Q: In this diocese, there is no underground Church and no aboveground Church. There is no separation, it is all one. MM: How did this happen here, especially in light of the division between the two that exists throughout the vast majority of the country? 29

Fr. Q: At the time of Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, the government wanted to appear more open and make religion legal through an official Patriotic Church. But here there has never been any separation. When they were trying to force this Open Church situation here, all the people gathered together; they were reading the Bible together, and praying Rosary together, and it did not happen. The Patriotic Association is an attempted bridge between the Catholic people and the Government. The bridge is not created by the Catholics, but by the Government. The people that are leading in this bridge are people with the same mindset as the Government. The Patriotic Association is guided by the Government and listens to the Government. That is how you get a separation of the two. The Patriotic Association does exist here, but with very few members. They call the bishop and say this or that, and if they tell the bishop to do something that is okay he will do it. If it is not okay, something not according to the faith, then he will not do it. MM: But why is it different here? In most other provinces, if the bishop doesn’t do what the government says, they take him away. Fr. Q: This is a very special situation. China just has a lot of different situations. Because here there are so many Catholics in the area and so many priests, we just stand together and the Government lets us go our way. So the local Government has never had any problem with us praying for the Pope in the Mass, or the Rosary, or any other time. The Government has never demanded that we join the Patriotic Association. The Catholics are not giving the Government any trouble, so since the people don’t give the Government any trouble, the Government does not give them any trouble. The Church is also doing works of mercy, they are doing things for the people, so the Government lets them do the work. MM: Again, there are other places where the Church is helping people through works of mercy, but the Government continues to persecute the local Church. Why the greater freedom of the Church here? Fr. Q: If you want to be Catholic, you have to have a straight line to the Pope and if the Government does not demand that we do anything different than that, that is just the way it is. If there is a division in that straight line from Pope to Catholic then you are no longer Catholic, so you have to have that straight line! From the beginning of the local Patriotic Association, a small group organized by the Government, they followed the good ideas and vision of the bishop. They cannot control, because everything here is done according to the Church. Our Church has always been free, 30

not like in other places. No, here from the very beginning, all the time the Church is open, it is connected with the Government, but with no suppression and no compromise. A final commentary on the extraordinary situation of the Church that exists in parts of Province D, as well as in isolated parts of other provinces, comes from a religious sister who originally migrated from Mongolia to this province. Her comments comprise a succinct summary of why the Church local in these select regions has beaten the local government: We are united. Our people fight back and refuse the one-child policy. We tell them we have no money, and we do not pay the fines. We stand together, as many Catholics, with the Holy Father and for life. We fight with our faith, with sacrifice, and with the Rosary. The people pray the Rosary in groups, united with our priests and bishops. Families have larger families because the clergy and the people stand united, and we are too united, there are too many of us, for them to enforce their policy. The formula for Catholic success, though admitting of a variance in concretely applying them according to local circumstance, appears consistent: 1. An uncompromised loyalty to the Holy Father; 2. Unity of heart among bishop, priests, and laity in living orthodox faith and pro-life practice to sacrificial and heroic degrees; 3. Tapping the supernatural aids of devotion to Our Lady and the intercession and witness of the martyrs. With these ingredients, there is truly hope for the Chinese Church.

The fifth Sorrow:

31

This morning, I am traveling on a fast train through provinces in this huge Chinese country, en route to a privileged meeting with an underground bishop. After a preliminary call a few days ago to a contact person for the bishop, the bishop agreed to meet with me at great personal risk to himself. Typically, bishops who refuse to have any cooperation with the Government-run Patriotic church are forbidden to speak to foreigners, receive outside financial aid, and have experienced a long history of abductions, imprisonments with extended terms of solitary confinements, and hard labor. They are also under near-constant surveillance by the Religious Affairs Bureau and the police. Exactly how this meeting is to take place, I am unsure. Although I have an extended train ride to the general area where the bishop lives, I cannot use public transportation for the last hour of travel, as officials will notice me. The bishop and those assisting him have arranged that a driver will pick me up from the train station and drive me for the final hour of the journey. As I begin Morning Prayer on the train, I am happily shocked to discover that today, July 9, is the optional memorial of the Chinese martyrs canonized by John Paul II in the 2000 Jubilee Year! From the seventeenth century to the present day, Chinese Catholics have suffered numerous occasions of violent persecution. In 2000, John Paul II canonized 120 Chinese Catholics and foreign missionaries martyred from 1648 to 1930. St. Augustine Zhao Rong (+1815) was one of the 29 priests, including six bishops, martyred in this group. I cannot help but think that I am soon to meet in person a bishop who ranks in the company of the other Chinese bishops, priests, religious, and laity whom we invoke on today’s feast. Bishop C, like most all underground bishops, is greatly loved by his faithful flock, and has repeatedly shown his willingness to offer his life for Jesus, for the Vicar of Jesus in Rome, and for the Church of Jesus in its fullness without compromise. When I arrive at the train station, I am met by a woman who instructs me that I will be taking a taxi somewhere, and I should say nothing about the bishop or anything Catholic in the taxi. She also informs me that there are cameras all over the station and to say nothing. I follow her to the taxi station. We ride to the outskirts of this city and stop on the side of a gas station. There is a car and a driver waiting there. We get into the black car with darkened windows and ride in a new direction. My translator asks if it is OK to speak freely and the woman, who we find out is a religious sister, responds yes, we may speak freely. During the car ride, the sister explains that Bishop C has spent over fifteen years in prison or some form of isolation, as is the average for most underground bishops. Because he refuses to join the Government-influenced Patriotic Church, he is routinely taken away to prison without notice.

32

As we arrive at an extremely poor village (even for third-world standards), I am taken down a primitive dirt road. We arrive at a building. The bishop will meet us there. The house of meeting is humble. We are taken to a location where the underground prayer groups often meet. After a few minutes, a man of simple attire walks in. It is the bishop. His face beams with humility and a gentle smile as walks over to greet us. He immediately displays a trust in us, as we have been introduced by a reliable source as true supporters of the Holy Father and our Chinese underground brothers and sisters. Indeed, he has risked his freedom and perhaps even more for this meeting. Frankly, my eyes begin to tear as I kiss his hand. He radiates the lowly presence of a saint. We sit with the translator, a young and relatively new convert, whose eyes also fill with tears in the presence of this holy man. Before we begin the interview, I thank the bishop for this honor that words cannot describe, and ask for his blessing that the Holy Spirit will guide our brief time together. We kneel, he blesses us, and we begin. MM: What would you like the Catholics in the U.S. and the West to know about the situation of the Church here, and what would you like us to pray for? Bishop C: Pray for our Catholic faith here, faithful to God, to Rome, to the Holy Father. Pray for Chinese freedom. China does not have freedom of faith. You can have freedom in your heart, no one can control it, but if you express these convictions outside it is hard. They will try to control you. Pray also because much of our laity and clergy are kind of focused on earthly things, and not on God. Even though we have many difficulties here, if we can trust totally in God, we can solve all our problems. When we can do nothing for outside freedom, we can do something in our hearts to obtain freedom. There is a bad tendency regarding faith in our times. The commitment to faith has fallen in recent times, compared to the 1980s. All of society is tending this way. People pray little— they don’t do any sacrifices and faith gradually declines. People just want to pursue happiness in this world. This is much worse than the Government harassing us. MM: What is the reason for this decline in faith? Bishop C: People just want to enjoy earthly things, and they don’t want to pray or suffer. It is the happiness of their body that they pursue. MM: But what do you believe is the cause for this new attitude? Bishop C: Some influence from Western countries, which not only affects China but Western Catholics also. So even worse than the Government are these secular influences.

33

Mary, through many of her messages, has clearly decried the present state of the world, and what we should be doing about it. Are you familiar with some of Our Lady’s descriptions of the Chinese Government in her modern messages? This is an accurate portrayal of our Government. MM: In some of her messages, she identifies Chinese Communism as the Red Dragon in the Book of Revelation. Bishop C: Yes, this, I believe, is an accurate understanding of our Government. In Heaven there is a kind of fight between Mary and the Red Dragon. In China, here is the sharpest point, the climax of the battle. So if we are united to Mary, to be with Her, we will never be afraid of this Red Dragon. We should not be afraid of the Red Dragon, but we should be afraid of ourselves, the danger of ourselves falling down in our faith. So we must listen and pray more to Mary. This is the only way to save the Chinese Church. To pull down the Communist party is not the only way to save the Church. We must seek their conversion, and Mary can convert them, she can convert their hearts. Like St. Paul, who converted from a killer of the disciples to become our advocate for Christ. MM: Have you heard of a movement to encourage the Holy Father to proclaim Our Lady as the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, and Advocate as a new dogma, so the world can know they have a Spiritual Mother? Bishop C: Yes, I know of it. This is contained in the messages of Mary. MM: Your Excellency, what is your opinion of the new letter of Pope Benedict to the people of China? At this point in the interview, the bishop receives a call on the cell phone at the same time the driver enters the room. The bishop must leave immediately. He excuses himself and leaves with a peaceful haste. The sister comes in and lets me know that her contact has called and informed her that the police are arriving at his residence. They are afraid that they have come to take the bishop away again and ask me to please pray for his protection. The sister puts her head down in prayer and I begin to pray, with a return of tears for what new dangers might be awaiting him. A half hour has passed. I cannot help but wonder if our meeting had anything to do with the abrupt visit by the police. I also begin growing anxious as to how I may have squandered the few precious minutes with this holy bishop without getting more quickly to vital subjects, such as his imprisonment, his view of Pope Benedict’s letter to the Chinese, the one-child policy and the like. After a few more minutes of prayer and worry, sister walks in and proclaims the news, "Thank God, the bishop is returning!" Moments later, in walks the bishop. I let out a sigh and thank God for his safe return. His smile of recognition for my relief remains humble and peaceful.

34

I ask him if he can inform me as to the reason for this visit from the police. He informs me what happened. Although too much detail could too easily identify Bishop C, suffice it to say he was encouraged not to publicly support or promulgate the Pope’s new letter. He responded to the police visit with the courage, unwavering loyalty to Rome, and the supernatural wisdom that has made him, along with the other underground bishops, a spiritual force that the People’s Republic of China must reckon with. In his weakness, he is so very strong. I asked him if all underground bishops are treated this way. He answered that in general, yes, they were. I then told him I wanted to include his over 15-year combined time of imprisonment and isolation in my published account of this interview, but that I was afraid it would too easily identify him. He responded that almost all underground bishops have spent at least 15 years in prison and therefore it wasn’t a problem to include the information. With a renewed gratitude for the gift of this man and this time with him, the interview continues. MM: Can you tell us how the underground Church operates? Bishop C: In approved places, they can do Mass, but to come here, they have to come very secretly. MM: In the Pope’s letter it seemed like the Holy Father was saying that in each region it can be so complicated that it must be left to the local bishop to say how much or how little is possible in terms of cooperation with the Government. Bishop C: We do nothing with the Patriotic Association here, and we will have nothing to do with them here. I speak to my priests secretly. MM: How does the Government treat Patriotic bishops and actions of the Patriotic Church? Bishop C: For the Patriotic Church they communicate with the Government for big events, but for smaller events, they might not check with the Government. The Government cares little about the Patriotic bishops, because they are members of the Patriotic Church. They have much more freedom than us. But concerning larger events the Government will interfere with them too; for example, when they want to open a seminary or convent. The Government sends spies, Judas-type people, to both Patriotic and underground Churches, to get information, and then they will report to the Government. For example, during one of our liturgical ceremonies, one of the attending priests was a spy and reported it to the Government. MM: Is it hard for the spirit, the morale of the underground Church, when they hear that a Vatican-approved bishop is also inappropriately co-operating with the Government? Bishop C: It is like a shock, really hard! … The Patriotic Church sometimes attacks the underground Church because we will not join. Then the Government attacks our projects. 35

For example, one bishop built a house for orphans, and they did not tell them. The Government came and tore it down. MM: About how many underground Catholics are there in the country? Bishop C: This is hard to know for sure. We build an underground church and the Government comes and tears it down. So the people move to another place. So it is hard to know. It is different in different areas (1). MM: How many underground bishops are there? Bishop C: There are about 17 underground bishops. MM: In the letter of the Pope, he indicated that a Vatican-approved bishop could also receive the approval of the Government and still be in union with the Pope. Is that the practical reality here? Bishop C: Yes, this happens here. Two-thirds of Vatican-approved bishops are also Patriotic. MM: Are all Government-approved bishops forced to compromise with the Government? Bishop C: There are two types. One is the underground bishop who later got approved by the Government. The second type is the Patriotic bishop, who was first approved by the Government, and then they went to Rome to ask forgiveness and to get approval. At this point, the bishop must leave the interview to speak to an underground priest who is on the run. I then ask the religious sister who accompanied us here some questions about her bishop. Sister A: Bishop C is really devoted to Mary. He loves Mary and the Eucharist very much. Every Sunday there is a Eucharist procession inside the church. He prays six hours a day in front of the Eucharist. He starts Eucharistic Adoration at 3:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. He then listens to Vatican Radio. We know this from watching him everyday. He has a little sign for himself which says, "every day I have to pray at least six hours in adoration." At 9:00 a.m. he will usually pray an adoration hour. At noon, he prays another two hours. At night, the bishop will do Mass. At every Mass, he cries when he preaches, so much does he love our faith. Now the bishop returns and we continue the interview. MM: Tell me about your prison experiences.

36

Bishop C: In prison there is isolation, no body torture for older bishops. They use pressure to tell you about Communism, to teach you propaganda. As long as you say "I will be obedient to the Patriotic Association," that is the only thing they want you to say, and if you join the Patriotic Church they will give you a good position in the Government. You may not stay in the village but move to a big city, and they give you a car. The teachings they teach you is that the Church should be separate from Rome; we choose our own bishops, we ordain our own priests, without permission from Rome. There are some Patriotic bishops who said they were sorry to Rome and the Holy Father forgave them. So there are around 47 Rome-approved Patriotic bishops. MM: Regarding the one-child policy, do bishops and priests preach to the people that abortion is a serious sin and that the people cannot have an abortion? Bishop C: Yes, I do publicly, that abortion is wrong. Some tell the people secretly, or do this during Confession. MM: Of the 17 bishops that are underground, do they all get as much prison time as you have received? Bishop C: Almost all bishops are between 15 to 20 years in prison [he then gives details about his stay that are too specific and could jeopardize his anonymity >. MM: Did you experience physical torture? Bishop C: I did labor work, carrying stones, carrying carts that I had to push and pull. I ate food that only pigs and dogs ate. I did work like horses and cows work. We had to work even in hunger. You have to work! [He then described a terrible personal injury that he received while working in a labor camp >. MM: If a parent in this particular region has a second child, what is the penalty? Bishop C: If you have a birth permission certificate you can have [the child >; if not, you are fined 20,000 (approximately $2,600 dollars). MM: Did you think the Pope’s letter was clear concerning potential problems with a Catholic aligning himself with the Patriotic Church? Bishop C: He did a good job, it is strong enough, it is okay. He points out the mistakes they made. MM: Why does the Pope not accept the Chinese Bishops Conference? Bishop C: In this bishops conference there are no underground bishops, and some bishops are not approved by Rome. Rome would not allow them. 37

MM: Do you know cases of priests or bishops that have been tortured and/or killed? Bishop C: Yes, for example, Bishop Gao, died in Shangdong Province. There was concern about the manner of his death in prison. Another priest was hung from a metal hook under his collarbone area, and the priest died. There was a virgin from a small village, not a nun, that the Government asked to reject Catholicism, and she said no. They hung her upside down in prison for a long time. She did not die there, but after she came home from the prison she died. One priest came back from Brazil who had heart defects. The Government did not allow him to leave the hospital, but they did not treat him. He wanted to go to a Hong Kong hospital. Finally they gave him a shot that killed him. Another priest, they bound his legs and a donkey dragged him and his head was badly damaged. He almost died, but did not die. MM: Is there less physical torture for imprisoned bishops and clergy now than before? Bishop C: Now to elderly priests they won’t do physical punishment, but to the young priests they will bind their feet and hands together for a few hours, loosen them and then bind them again. This is happening now. Almost every underground bishop and the older bishops of the Open Church have had this kind of experience. MM: What could Western bishops do to help the Chinese Church? Bishop C: Pray! Pray! Financially they can offer some help, but most of all pray. Through the Cultural Revolution (1960s persecutions) many churches were destroyed and we need to rebuild them. MM: Cardinal Zen is fighting the Government in Hong Kong. Do you think he is helping the cause? Bishop C: He is supporting the underground Church. He is speaking truth. He has the courage to speak. He can speak loudly about how the Government destroys our underground Church. Our Church has been persecuted much by the Communist Party from its beginning. MM: It appears as though the Government is trying to put on a facade of being more open to religious freedom and human rights by trying to show the world a new democratic and open China.

38

Bishop C: The most cunning people are the Chinese. The Government says something very excellent, but what they do is very bad. The Government says, "we protect you from all dangers and give you peace," but actually what they do is confine me. I have no freedom. For one bishop, they confined him in some tourist place, saying "We give you this time to travel," but when he went to the bathroom or anywhere else, someone followed him. When they have dinner and lunch with me they are so generous and polite. This is also false. It is like a fox who goes to meet a chicken and says, "Happy New Year" and then eats him. Or like a cat that goes to a rat and says, "Happy New Year" and then eats him. After we complete a generous meal brought in by our hosts in their successful efforts to manifest Chinese hospitality during the second part of the interview (a meal which obviously exceeds the normal course of eating in this humble dwelling), the bishop informs me that he must leave. He has also met with an underground priest, which the sister mentions is very important for the underground Church in this region. After a life-changing interview with this extraordinary shepherd of souls, I ask for a final blessing. He blesses us, I kiss his hands, and he departs with the same peaceful countenance with which he entered the room some three hours ago. The same sub secreto procedure is followed upon my return to the train station—a car ride to a set point before transferring to a taxi upon arriving at the outer portion of the city. Except this time I am joined by a priest. During light conversation, in which I ask him some questions about his pastoral experiences, I find out that he has been on the run from the police for numerous years, that he normally does not come to the bishop except at designated times, but that he wanted to be present for our interview. He recalls some years ago that he was recognized by the police, who chased him down the street until he jumped over a wall into a backyard of a family of unbelievers. He hid in the family outhouse for eight hours. He said it was a miracle that the large wolf-like dog in the yard (which he described as "mad" and vicious) did not bark when he jumped the wall, nor did the duck next to him quack during his eight-hour stay in the family toilet. This priest was pursued by the police particularly because he had been rector in the underground seminary. Silent, humble heroes are everywhere in the underground Church. Bishop C is truly a living martyr. In spite of the horrific persecutions unleashed by the Communist Government, he prioritized the present exterior worldly pursuit of hedonism and happiness without God—in a life bereft of prayer and sacrifice, so prevalent today in the West—as the greatest danger, beyond what any government can enforce from "the outside."

39

Notes (1) Fides News Service from Rome estimates approximately 11 million underground Catholics and 4 million Patriotic Church members.

The Sixth Sorrow:

40

In light of the seemingly overwhelming obstacles to Church reconciliation and reunification, let alone the Goliath obstacle of the Communist government’s one-child policy among a myriad of other human rights violations, we could despair for the future of Chinese Catholicism. But there is hope, incarnate hope in the form of one David-like province of China. Today I travel by plane over majestic mountain ranges to arrive at what can be referred to as a true Catholic region of China—an area which, believe it or not, has not only to large degrees achieved reconciliation between the Patriotic Church and the underground Church, but has also in some miraculous fashion beaten the one-child policy in several of its villages, through a combination of courage, perseverance, and the blood of martyrs. Province D is already known for its general lack of cooperation with the Chinese Government. The remarkable experience of the unity of the underground and Patriotic churches into simply one "Catholic Church" is alive and well in a number of locations throughout the province. The blood of martyrs is the ultimate wellspring for vibrant faith, and the land of Province D is stained red with it. A former parish priest from one village spoke with great pride of the heroic defense of the people for their esteemed bishops and priests. During the Boxer Rebellion (18981901), great numbers of Catholics were put to death in this area. The people defended their clergy with extraordinary heroism, oftentimes at the price of their lives and the lives of their family members. I arrive at a holy place in this province, one which, for its own safety, cannot be described in all its extraordinary Catholic beauty and devotion. After praying at the several devotional locations, I met a young priest on pilgrimage from another part of the province, who informed me that he was about to offer Mass and that I was welcome to attend. After a Mass of noble and reverent simplicity offered by the priest, who had been ordained only three years previous, I asked him a few questions about the unusual Catholic vibrancy of this province. MM: Why is this province so exceptionally Catholic? Fr. P: [Fr. P throughout interview > Because there are so many Catholics here. There are about x. number of Catholics and over x. priests [extremely large numbers for any Chinese region >. The priests are united under the bishop, our hearts are united. In the case of the priests, our hearts are united. And with all the faithful, are hearts are united. He told me he had been educated in a seminary which is operated by the Patriotic Church. I asked him if he received any direct pressure to join the Patriotic Church there. Fr. P: When I was at the seminary I did not feel any pressure directly from the Government, but inside my heart I felt pressure from the Government, because the seminary is a Patriotic, Government-run seminary.

41

MM: How does your diocese resist the pressures of the government to compromise the Church’s teachings in regards to loyalty to Rome and respect for unborn human life? Fr. P: This diocese is just great, very strong. It is such a great diocese the Government can’t do anything. They put so much pressure in other places but they can’t here. MM: What about government enforcement of the one-child policy in your diocese? Fr. P: It doesn’t happen here the same way it happens in other places. The people are too united. They just refuse to follow the Population Police. Many families have many children. We help each other, and we stand together. The faith is so strong and without compromise. There are too many of us for them to control. We are united in heart with the bishop, clergy, and faithful, and the people make many sacrifices and pray very much. When the Population Police come to fine the people, the people fight back and say, "We don’t have the money, we cannot pay," and that’s it. There are too many of us united in faith under the Pope. Mary also protects us, and the blood of the martyrs. I left this village and drove a considerable distance to another location within the province. I spoke to a parish priest whose village was also striving in Catholic faith and life. The parish was filled with children, with many families having large numbers of children. The pastor also granted me an interview under the condition of his anonymity. MM: What is the relationship between the Patriotic Church and the underground Church here? Fr. Q: In this diocese, there is no underground Church and no aboveground Church. There is no separation, it is all one. MM: How did this happen here, especially in light of the division between the two that exists throughout the vast majority of the country? Fr. Q: At the time of Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, the government wanted to appear more open and make religion legal through an official Patriotic Church. But here there has never been any separation. When they were trying to force this Open Church situation here, all the people gathered together; they were reading the Bible together, and praying Rosary together, and it did not happen. The Patriotic Association is an attempted bridge between the Catholic people and the Government. The bridge is not created by the Catholics, but by the Government. The people that are leading in this bridge are people with the same mindset as the Government. The Patriotic Association is guided by the Government and listens to the Government. That is how you get a separation of the two. The Patriotic Association does exist here, but with 42

very few members. They call the bishop and say this or that, and if they tell the bishop to do something that is okay he will do it. If it is not okay, something not according to the faith, then he will not do it. MM: But why is it different here? In most other provinces, if the bishop doesn’t do what the government says, they take him away. Fr. Q: This is a very special situation. China just has a lot of different situations. Because here there are so many Catholics in the area and so many priests, we just stand together and the Government lets us go our way. So the local Government has never had any problem with us praying for the Pope in the Mass, or the Rosary, or any other time. The Government has never demanded that we join the Patriotic Association. The Catholics are not giving the Government any trouble, so since the people don’t give the Government any trouble, the Government does not give them any trouble. The Church is also doing works of mercy, they are doing things for the people, so the Government lets them do the work. MM: Again, there are other places where the Church is helping people through works of mercy, but the Government continues to persecute the local Church. Why the greater freedom of the Church here? Fr. Q: If you want to be Catholic, you have to have a straight line to the Pope and if the Government does not demand that we do anything different than that, that is just the way it is. If there is a division in that straight line from Pope to Catholic then you are no longer Catholic, so you have to have that straight line! From the beginning of the local Patriotic Association, a small group organized by the Government, they followed the good ideas and vision of the bishop. They cannot control, because everything here is done according to the Church. Our Church has always been free, not like in other places. No, here from the very beginning, all the time the Church is open, it is connected with the Government, but with no suppression and no compromise. A final commentary on the extraordinary situation of the Church that exists in parts of Province D, as well as in isolated parts of other provinces, comes from a religious sister who originally migrated from Mongolia to this province. Her comments comprise a succinct summary of why the Church local in these select regions has beaten the local government: We are united. Our people fight back and refuse the one-child policy. We tell them we have no money, and we do not pay the fines. We stand together, as many Catholics, with the Holy Father and for life. We fight with our faith, with sacrifice, and with the Rosary. The people pray the Rosary in groups, united with our priests and bishops. Families have larger families because the clergy and the 43

people stand united, and we are too united, there are too many of us, for them to enforce their policy. The formula for Catholic success, though admitting of a variance in concretely applying them according to local circumstance, appears consistent: 1. An uncompromised loyalty to the Holy Father; 2. Unity of heart among bishop, priests, and laity in living orthodox faith and pro-life practice to sacrificial and heroic degrees; 3. Tapping the supernatural aids of devotion to Our Lady and the intercession and witness of the martyrs. With these ingredients, there is truly hope for the Chinese Church.

The Seventh Sorrow: The Western Response to China’s Plight

44

Upon my return, an extended family member asked me, "So how was your trip to China?" I responded, "Intense." She then asked, "Will you give me some details?" I began to describe to her the First Sorrow, with Yi Wei, and informed her of the common practice of a woman going to the hospital nine months pregnant, ready to deliver, only to have her abdomen injected with a lethal poison that killed the baby. My family member immediately responded, "That must be propaganda." I was aghast as she continued, "Human rights activists and the U.N. would never allow such a gross violation of human rights." My heart felt pierced as I came into direct contact with one of the reasons why the gross violations of the Chinese people and of the Chinese Church continues. Much of the West has rationalized this away as simply "propaganda," and in this way have allowed what are truly gross violations of human rights to continue. Later that day the family member came to me and said, "I owe you an apology. I wasn’t ready for that. I was looking forward to hearing about something like an excursion to the Forbidden City. I just wasn’t ready to hear that things like that are still going on. I’m sorry." In truth, things like this will continue to go on unless our consciences convince us to do something about it. And that is the Seventh Sorrow of China, the response, or lack thereof, from the West. While babies die and new martyrs are made, we grant them Most Favored Nation trade status. We fill our closets and cupboards with clothes and dishes made by the hands of women forced to abort their children, and we send corporate executives to investigate new business opportunities in cities where bishops are beaten and imprisoned. When South Africa denied its black citizens their dignity and their rights, the U.S. cut off the flow of American cash into that country. There was no investment. There was no Most Favored Nation trading status. There was no trade period. And when Castro’s Communist regime took over Cuba, we opened our doors wide to Cuban refugees, banned Cuban sugar and cigars, and denied our Southern neighbor every advantage on the international scene. But today, while China commits offenses just as, if not more, egregious than South Africa, Cuba, or any one of the dozens of nations who have suffered economically for violating the dignity of their citizens, we do nothing. We used to put our money where our conscience was. That no longer seems to be the case. The Western response to Beijing is now guided almost entirely by economic considerations, with barely a hat tip to moral or ethical concerns. What has changed in the past 25 years? What kind of people

45

have we become? And what suffering in China could be ended if we valued the lives of all those lost little ones, poisoned in their mothers’ wombs, more than cheap goods and wide profit margins? So much more could be said about the horrific way in which the government treats its people, but this is not a political essay. It is an account of a noble race, imprinted with a transcendent dignity, who deserve precisely the same dignity, respect, and rights that we ourselves demand and exercise daily. That’s why, in telling that story, in hearing that story, we can’t ignore our own role in their suffering. We can’t ignore that the soulless pursuit of pleasure and wealth that suffocates the faith in China is, in part, a Western import. We also can’t ignore that their government aborts, abuses, and murders its people, while we do nothing. And we can’t ignore that we have let money, not morals, guide our relations with the Chinese government. As a people, we have to hold our government to a higher standard. We have to protest the policies now determining our relations with China and call for a return to the nobler policies of yesterday. And as individuals, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We need to not ignore or dismiss the plight of Chinese Catholics, but rather pray for them, sacrifice for them. Through little acts of penance and love, Christians in the West need to do what we can to atone for the callous indifference to China’s sufferings shown by so many others in the West, including governments. That indifference has added even more sorrow to a country already bearing an unimaginable weight of pain. In whatever ways we can, we must look to lighten their load. Certainly not all of the West is indifferent to the contemporary woes of China. Little remnants of prayer and action issue from occidental sources. The Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a small contemplative Order outside Steubenville, Ohio, spend seven hours a day in Eucharistic Adoration. From their beautiful wooden chapel, they spiritually transport to the other side of the world through their daily prayers and sacrifices for "the conversion of China through the intercession of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, that Communism may fall throughout the world." In a manner similar to St. Therese of Lisieux, whom the Church named the co-patroness of the Church’s missionary activity (though she never passed beyond the walls of her cloister), these priests, nuns, brothers and laity have made their own consecration of China to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary for the Christian re-evangelization of China and for its eventual peace and freedom. The Cardinal Kung Foundation continues to be a courageous media mouthpiece and moral conscience to the world press for the underground Church and for the rights of the Chinese people. In ways antithetical to many mainstream news sources, who prefer to avoid publicizing the present ubiquitous human and religious rights violations by the Government, the Cardinal Kung Foundation faithfully releases dispatch after dispatch which document the ongoing and increasing religious persecution that Chinese Catholics and other Christians face right now from the Government. But each of us, in our own way, must join in a global prayer leading to a global action that the killings and the persecutions which threaten the honorable Chinese people come to an end. 46

*** The day after I returned from my brief stay in China, I found out that the Chinese government shut down all Web sites in China that carried Pope Benedict’s letter. Those who suggest that all we need for solving the problem with the Chinese government is a new trusting openness in dialogue and engagement must examine facts like these and the others contained in this book. Little, if anything, in terms of respect for the transcendent dignity of every human person and its authentic implementation in forms of religious and personal freedoms, has changed in what remains Communist China. I believe the underground bishop summed it up best when he said that victory in China will only come through the powerful intercession of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in her spiritual battle against the Red Dragon, which is taking placing in China in its most climactic dimension. He also warned us, in his fire-tried wisdom, that the greatest danger China, and by extension the entire world, faces today, even beyond a Communist assault from the outside, is the spiritual assault of secularism, hedonism, and egoism on the inside. Pray for China. Help China. Suffer with China. When you do so, you join with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, whose hearts are mystically pierced anew by the untold suffering their Chinese children encounter day after day. The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary—prophesied in the July 13, 1917, Fatima apparition message—will take place in China. Help it to happen sooner through your own prayers for China, your own sacrifices for China, your own love for China.

47