Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ignatius Cardinal Kung, Priest Hero

The persecuted and imprisoned priests in China deserve our prayers always, but especially during this Year for Priests. Those of us who enjoy religious freedom in our nations might find it easy to take that freedom for granted. We might not give it much thought that elsewhere in the world Catholics and their priests are suffering severely in order to remain faithful to the Catholic Church in union with the Holy Father. We might ask ourselves--would we be as faithful under similar circumstances; would we be willing to be imprisoned or die for our faith; would we deny Jesus if we were threatened?

On September 8, 1955, Bishop Ignatius Kung (pictured above) was arrested by the Chinese government. A few months later he was taken to a public stadium and ordered to make a public confession of his "crimes" before the assembled crowd. He was dressed in a criminal tunic with his hands tied behind his back. When his atheist communist captors demanded a confession, Bishop Kung responded, " Long live Christ the King! Long live the Pope!"

In 1960, before Bishop Kung was sentenced to life in prison, he was given another chance to be unfaithful to Jesus and His Church. His reply was, "I am a Roman Catholic Bishop. If I denounce the Holy Father, not only would I not be a Bishop, I would not even be a Catholic. You can cut off my head, but you can never take away my faith." Despite suffering 30 years of inhumane treatment in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, Bishop Kung's faith was strengthened by his life of prayer and abandonment to the Divine Will of God.






"O Lord, comfort China and those persecuted for Christ in that great country. Grant them joy in their communion with the Universal Church. Bless them so that the seed they plant during their years of sufferings, patience and love will be richly harvested." (1991 Consistory) Grant mercy, O Lord to those brothers and sisters who chose to be separated from you; may they return to one fold and One Shepherd.

~ By Ignatius Cardinal Kung, Bishop of Shanghai, July 1991 ~


Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests. Amen.

1 comment:

Esther said...

Such a holy priest!