에큐메니칼

중국의 카톨릭대주교, 교황에게 끝까지 충성 서약

작성자
기사연
작성일
2000-03-21 00:19
조회
696
China's Cardinal Ignatius Kung: loyal to the Pope until the very
end
ENI-00-0099

By Cheryl Heckler-Feltz
New York, 20 March (ENI)--On 8 September 1955 the international
news agencies reported from Shanghai the overnight arrest by
Communist officials of the city's Catholic bishop, Ignatius Kung
Pin-mei and of 200 Catholic priests.

Several months later Bishop Kung was hauled before a crowd in a
dog-racing stadium in Shanghai to confess his crimes and denounce
the Pope. Standing with his hands tied behind his back, he
shocked the security police by proclaiming into the microphone:
"Long live Christ the King. Long live the Pope."

Many in the crowd echoed the chant, and Bishop Kung was abruptly
dragged away by police and not seen in public until four years
later, when he was put on trial as an enemy of the Communist
government and sentenced to life imprisonment.

This story, told by Kung's nephew, Joseph Kung, who looked after
the Roman Catholic Cardinal in his final years, reveals one
defining moment in a long life marked by dedication to human
rights, loyalty to the Pope and open defiance of Communist rule
in China.

Cardinal Kung died in the early hours of 12 March in Stamford,
in the US state of Connecticut where he had lived with his nephew
since 1988. At the age of 98 years, Ignatius Kung was the
Catholic Church's oldest cardinal.

Kung spent 30 years in prison for defying the Communist
government's attempt to control Roman Catholics through a
state-run church. Throughout that period and until his death, he
retained the titles of bishop of Shanghai, and apostolic
administrator of Suzhou which the Vatican had conferred on him in
1949, only six days after the Communists came to power.

Joseph Kung told ENI his uncle's greatest gift to the world was
a simple message: "Trust God and practice religion according to
your conscience.

"That's why he is a symbol for the Catholics of China - both the
official [the state-sponsored Chinese Catholic Patriotic
Association] and unofficial [underground Catholic Church, which
is loyal to the Vatican] churches there. This is true regardless
of the fact that the Chinese government still considers him a
criminal there. Why were they so afraid of a 98-year-old
cardinal?"

During the cardinal's final years many seminarians and young
priests travelled to Stamford to seek his advice, Joseph Kung
told ENI. "He always told them: 'Do God's will, and do it
well'."

Joseph Kung added that he had received phone calls of
condolences from around the world acknowledging the inspiration
his uncle gave to the cause of religious freedom and human rights
world-wide.

Though his uncle spent much of his 30 years in prison in
isolation and privation, Kung said, "he died literally in the
arms of his loved ones in his own home."

Ignatius Kung was ordained a priest 70 years ago on 28 May 1930,
and consecrated a bishop on 7 October 1949. He was the first
native Chinese Bishop of Shanghai, and he served in that role in
the early years of Communist rule.

While Chinese officials tried to get him to serve in the
Catholic Patriotic Association, Kung denounced the order and
became a symbol of hope for a struggling Roman Catholic community
in his country.

In defiance of the Patriotic Association, Kung personally
supervised the Legion of Mary, a religious organisation of the
laity which strengthened the underground Roman Catholic Church.

"He was a man who inspired millions of his countrymen to follow
his example of fidelity to the Roman Catholic faith and who
preserved the Roman Catholic Church in a communist country for
the past 50 years," said Joseph Kung. "He was a man who became a
symbol for world leaders in all countries in their fight for
religious freedom. No account of religious persecutions or of any
human rights violations in China is complete without a few words
about His Eminence Cardinal Kung."

For 30 years, Kung's family - along with Amnesty International,
the Red Cross and the United States Government - lobbied Beijing
for his release. Kung was released from prison in 1985 and
sentenced to another 10 years of house arrest in China.

But in 1988 his nephew went to China and obtained permission to
escort him to the US to receive treatment for stomach cancer.

According to a statement released by the Vatican following his
death, Cardinal Kung said after obtaining his freedom: "During my
years in prison I prayed and I acted as the bishop of this city,
sharing my people's sufferings. With God, time is never wasted."

Pope John Paul II secretly named him as cardinal in 1979 - when
Kung was still in prison. But the formal ceremony installing him
as cardinal had to wait until 28 June 1991 when Pope John Paul
officially made Kung a cardinal, at the age of 89.

In March 1998, the cardinal tried to renew his Chinese passport,
but the Chinese consulate in New York confiscated it, making him
a permanent exile. According to the Tablet, a leading Catholic
weekly magazine in London, Shanghai's Catholics were deeply upset
to lose their pastor in this way "and the situation in Shanghai
remains difficult to this day".

Soon after he was told of the cardinal's death, Pope John Paul
II released a statement saying: "I join all of you in giving
thanks to almighty God for the late cardinal's priestly and
episcopal ministry in the Diocese of Shanghai, his heroic
fidelity to Christ amid persecution and imprisonment and his
outstanding witness of communion with the universal Church and
the Successor of Peter. I pray that, having shared so deeply in
Christ's sufferings, he may now receive the unfading crown of
glory which the Chief Shepherd reserves for those who have
followed him faithfully to the end."

Joseph Kung is director of the Cardinal Kung Foundation which
was founded on the basis of Ignatius Kung's witness to the
Gospel.