Page 1, 23rd March 1979

23rd March 1979
Page 1
Page 1, 23rd March 1979 — Jesuits to return to China

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Locations: Shanghai, rome


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Jesuits to return to China

China has invited a Jesuit— operated French medicalteaching school to resume its pre1949 activities in Shanghai, and the Society of Jesus is willing to co-operate with the Chinese in whatev,er way they can. This was revealed in rome this week by Father-General Pedro Arrupe, Basque Superior of the ORder. "The Jesuits", said the FatherGeneral, "would be happy to return to China and serve China as they did over the past 400 years,as he recalled the mission of St Francis Xavier, who had been a close companion of the sixteenth century founder of the society St Ignatius of Loyola, and who had preached Christianity in the far east.

Fr Arrupe stated that the French "Aurora" Jesuits had been asked to resume their activities and that the Chinese Government had also asked for Jesuit professors in all fields of activity.

"In 1949 there were 10 Jesuit missions in the People's Republic of China with about 1,000 merntiers. Jesuits were operating parishes, high schools and two of the three Catholic universities of China — Aurora in Shanghai and the Hautes Etudes in Tien Hsin.

"After that year many Jesuits were imprisoned and all foreign Jesuits were later expelled. Some 12 I Chinese-born Jesuits remained. All had been jailed but all had now been freed but had not been allowed to resume their priestly offices."

The Father-General added that only 15 of them were known to be alive and revealed that he had recently heard that the apostolic administrator of Canton, Jesuit Bishop Dominic Tang. had died a short while ago. "The only Catholic church open for Sunday worship in China today," he said, "is the South Church in Peking which is used by diplomats, but there are no Jesuits there.

"The Chinese approach to the Aurora School is a glimmer of hope that we may return to help the Chinese," said the General, as he reviewed the situation of the Society.

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