Wednesday, May 01, 2013

China’s most famous—and most powerful—Catholic bishop has died

Aloyisius Jin Luxian
China’s most famous—and most powerful—Catholic bishop has died. After a prolonged decease Msgr. Aloyisius Jin Luxian, official bishop of Shanghai died on 27 April 2013. Jin Luxian lived through China’s most dramatic changes and growing pains as it transitioned from empire to the largest and most paradoxical Communist country in the history of our world.  

Bishop Jin was born June 20, 1916 in Shanghai into a family that had been Catholic for generations.  He soon became an orphan (loosing his mother at 10 and his father at 14) and attended Catholic schools, first with the nuns and then the Jesuits. At age 22, in 1938, he entered the Society of Jesus

Having earned his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Jin was labeled a “dangerous counter-revolutionary” in alliance with an “imperialist power,” the Vatican. Jin Luxian’s life provides historians extraordinary access to some of the world’s most exceptional moments of transformation, and if you ask China’s Catholics who has been the most influential figure in their Church’s remarkable survival and seemingly-impossible growth through their country’s painful birth as a Communist superpower, they will, to the person, reply, “Bishop Jin.”
Bishop Jin Luxian administers Communion to Mother Teresa, 1993
Many Catholics wondered; how did Bishop Jin manage to build a Catholic empire in Shanghai under the watchful eye of a Communist government that had vowed to “help religion along the natural path of withering away”? His answer was simple: “I am both a serpent and a dove. The government thinks I’m too close to the Vatican, and the Vatican thinks I’m too close to the government. I’m a slippery fish squashed between government control and Vatican demands.” 
Funeral Mass at the Cathedral Church in Shanghai 
For better or worse, Bishop Jin Luxian’s priority was the survival of Catholicism in China, and he maintained connections with an enormous array of personalities. He kept a wide range of company;

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