EXILED CARDINAL SPEAKS
Anti-Church measures in China
Exclusive to the CATHOLIC HERALD
From our Special Correspondent,
CARDINAL TIEN, the exiled Arch bishop of Peking, who will visit Britain next week-end, confirmed to me sorrowfully this week that the Chinese Communists had confiscated his cathedral in Peking. Though he had no direct news from the Chinese mainland, the Cardinal said, he had certain information to this effect.
At the same time, he added, the Chinese Reds had allowed only three Catholic churches in Peking to remain open. These were used to show foreign visitors that the regime permitted Catholics "freedom of worship".
I put several questions to Cardinal Tien on behalf of the CATHOLIC HERALD in advance of his visit to Britain which will begin in Liverpool on March 23-26, followed by visits to Droitwich, London, Glasgow and Carfin.
The 72-year-old Cardinal, a member of the Society of the Divine Word, speaks little English and my questions were answered through his secretary. He is staying for some days here at Steyl which is the mother house of the Society in Holland.
Cardinal Tien, the first Chinese to be created a Cardinal, denied recent claims that large numbers of Catholics on the mainland of China had gone over to the socalled "patriotic Catholic Church" which denies allegiance to Rome. He declared: "The general reports I get from the mainland are that the Catholic people there are still faithful to their religion."
I asked him if he was planning for the day when the "Bamboo Curtain" lifted and Catholic missionaries could again be admitted to the mainland. He said that missionaries from different religious orders were being trained to begin this work when the opportunity came.
When I asked him some general questions about the state of the Church in Formosa, Cardinal Tien said that it was generally very good in comparison with formerly as was recognised by all classes of people.
"There has been a great growth in the Catholic Church on the island," he said. "In the past decade the number of Catholics has risen from 10,000 to 200,000.
"The Church plays a definite part in the social life of the people by putting stress on education," he said. "This means that she is developing schools on all levels to meet the great desire of the Chinese people for education."
Catholic schooling particularly, he added, was preferred by all classes of people, even nonCatholics, because of its stress on moral values. This was especially true for parents who had learnt that the modern trend among youth would corrupt their children.
Catholic schools in Formosa Continued on page 10.