Page 1, 31st December 1954

31st December 1954
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Page 1, 31st December 1954 — YOU MUST BEAR PERSECUTION
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YOU MUST BEAR PERSECUTION

Submission to the Holy See is 'absolutely necessary' NEW ENCYCLICAL ON `AUTONOMIES'

THE Holy Father has issued an Encyclical Letter calling upon the Hierachy and the faithful of China to suffer the penalties of persecution in resisting the Communist Government's efforts to establish a "national church" separated from the Holy See.

The Encyclical is dated October 7 but was issued only last week. The Holy Father says that the Apostolic Letter he addressed to the Chinese people about three years ago did not reach them.

His Holiness warns both Hier archy and laity against the "national church" of the "three autonomies" — church government, finance and preaching.

The conditions of the Church in China in recent years have by no means improved, says the Holy Father. Moreover, the accusations and calumnies against the Holy See and those who remain faithful to it have increased. The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Riberi, has been expelled, and the attacks to deceive the less learned have been intensified.

His Holiness praises the fortitude of Chinese Catholics, but continues:

Tricked, misled

"Since, however, we must deal with the eternal salvation of each, we cannot conceal the sadness and the distress of our spirit on learning that although the overwhelming majority of you Catholics remain steadfast in the Faith, there have not been lacking among you those who, either tricked in their good faith or because of fear, or misled by new and false doctrines, have given their support to dangerous 'movements' sponsored by the enemies of all religion, especially of that divinely revealed by Jesus Christ."

As in olden times, the persecutors of the Christians falsely accuse them of not loving their country and not being good citizens.

But "we wish again to proclaim a fact that cannot he denied by anyone guided by right reason—that the Chinese Catholics are second to none in the ardent love and true fidelity to their most noble country."

Furthermore, the Chinese Catholics are to be praised because "you give respectful submission to your public authorities in the sphere of their competence and, loving your country, you are prepared to fulfil all sour duties as citizens.

Their own Bishops

"What, however, is of great consolation is to know that you have openly professed that in no way is it lawful for you to refrain from the fulfilment of the precepts of the Catholic religion and that in no way can you deny your Creator and Redeemer, for Whose love many of you have faced torments and prison.

"As we have already written in the previous Letter, this Apostolic See. especially during recent times and with the very greatest solicitude, has taken care of the right education and formation of the greatest possible number of priests and Bishops of your noble nation.

"Thus our immediate predecessor, Pius XI, consecrated personally in the majestic Basilica of St. Peter the first six Bishops chosen from your people, and we ourselves, having greatly at heart the progressive establishment and continued daily growth of our Church, most willingly established the sacred Hierarchy in China and for the first time in history we conferred the dignity of the Roman Purple on one of your citizens. [Cardinal Tien.]

Loyal to Holy See

"We also desire that the day may come as soon as possible when you will have Bishops and priests all of your nation and in sufficient numbers to govern the Catholic Church in your immense country, and then there will no longer he any need for the assistance of foreign missionaries in the sphere of yobs apostolate."

Nevertheless, truth and conscience. says the Holy Father, require it to be said that the missionaries arc not inspired by earthly motives and desire and seek nothing but the illumination of the Chinese people with the light of the Gospel. their formation in Christian conduct, their assistance with Divine charity.

Secondly. even when China no longer needs missionaries, "the Catholic Church in your country—as in all others—cannot be ruled with, as they say, 'the autonomy of government.'

"Indeed, even then, as you well know, it will he absolutely necessary that your Christian community, if it wishes to be part of the Society divinely founded by our Redeemer. shall be completely subject to the Sovereign Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ upon earth, and closely united with him in whatever concerns religious faith and morals.

Will of Christ "ft is well to note that with these words the whole life and work of the Church is embraced. and thus, also. its constitution, government and discipline.

"All these things depend most certainly on the will of Jesus Christ. Founder of the Church. . . .

"By the same Divine will the people and the civil authority must Continued on page 6

FAITHFUL MUST BEAR PERSECUTION

The Pope's call to Chinese

Continued from page I not invade the sphere of rights and of the constitution of the ecclesiastical Hierarchy."

Dealing with "economic autonomy," the Holy Father points out that, "as you well know," the offerings collected from various nations to help the Church in China have their origin in Christian charity and have no "political or profane ends."

Next His Holiness deals with "autonomy of preaching," and says:

"1 here are some among you who would wish that your Church be completely independent, not, as we have said, only in government and in the economic sphere, hut they presume to make the same claim of 'autonomy' for the teaching of Christian doctrine and in sacred preaching.

Unchanging faith

"We do not deny that the manner of preaching and teaching must be different according to places and must therefore conform as far as possible with the particular nature and character of the Chinese people as well also as with its ancient traditional customs . . .

"What, however, is absurd even to imagine is by what right can men, of their own choice, interpret differently the Gospel of Christ according to the different nations.

"On the Bishops, who are the successors of the Apostles, and upon priests, who, in accordance with their proper office, are the co-operators of the Bishops, has been conferred the task of announcing and teaching that Gospel which was first announced and taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and which this Apostolic See and all the Bishops in communion with it have preserved and handed down pure and inviolate throughout the centuries.

"The sacred pastors arc not the inventors and composers of this Gospel but merely the authorised guardians and preachers divinely established. . . .

Christ's command

"We arc not masters of a doctrine that flows from a human mind, but in accordance with the duty of our conscience, we must accept and follow that which Our Lord Himself taught and which He, with solemn command, has ordered to be taught by the Apostles and their successors.

"Thus whoever is a Bishop or priest of the true Church of Christ must meditate time and time again upon what St. Paul said of his preaching of the Gospel: 'For I give you to understand, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man, for neither did I receive it of man nor did I learn it: hut by the revelation of Jesus Christ' "Furthermore, since we are certain that this doctrine—the integrity ol which, with the help of the Holy Ghost, we must defend—has been divinely revealed, we repeat these words of the Apostles of the Gentiles : 'But though we or an angel from Heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.'

"You can thus, brethren and dear children, easily see that a man cannot presume to be held and honoured with the name of Catholic if he professes or teaches differently from what we have here briefly expounded, as do those who have supported those dangerous principles that inspire the movement of the 'three autonomies' or other principles of the same kind.

For all nations

"The sponsors of such movements, with the greatest cunning, seek to deceive the simple or the fearful or to mislead them from the right path. TO this end they falsely assert that the only true patriots are those who support the church of their design—that is to say, that which has the 'three autonomies.'

"In reality they are seeking to constitute eventually among you a 'national' church which could not be Catholic because it would be the denial of that universality or catholicity by which the Society founded by Christ is above all nations and embraces them all.

"We are pleased here to repeat the words we wrote on this same subject in the already quoted Letter : 'The Catholic Church does not call to herself one sole people nor one sole nation, but loves the peoples of whatever race with that supernatural love of Christ that must unite all one to the other as brothers.'

The choice

"Thus no one can say that the Church is in the service of any particular power. and in the same way it cannot he demanded of her that, having destroyed the unity with which her Founder has wished to endow her, she shall constitute particular churches in each nation and these become separated from the Apostolic See, where Peter, Vicar of Jesus Christ, continues to live in his successors until the end of time.

"If any Christian community were to do such a thing, it would wither as a branch cut off from the .vine; our could it hear salutary fruits.

"We earnestly exhort. 'in the bowels of Christ,' those faithful of whom we have complained to return '0 the path of repentance and salvation.

"Let them remember that if when necessary one must render to Ceesar the things that are Cmsar's, there is ill the more reason to render to God :he things that are God's.

"When men order things in contrast with the Divine will, it is neces eiry to put into practice the rule of it. Peter the Apostle : 'We ought to obey God rather than men.' "Let them remember, too, that it is impossible to serve two masters if these order things in contrast with each other. and also it is impossible to please Christ and men alternately.

"If at times it happens that a man who wishes to remain faithful to the Divine Redeemer until death must suffer serious harm and loss, he must accept this with a calm and strong spirit.

"We wish, however, to congratulate again those who, under great difficulties, have distinguished themselves in their loyalty to God and the Catholic Church and thus have been deemed 'worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.'

"With paternal spirit we encourage them to continue strong and intrepid along the path they have begun, keeping ever before their minds the words of Christ: 'Fear not them that kill the body and arc not able to kill the soul, but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in . . The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore. . . . Everyone therefore that shall confess Me before men I will also confess him before My Father Who is in Heaven; but he that shall deny Mc before men I will also deny him before My Father Who is in Heaven.'

'Great reward'

"Most certainly. Venerable Brethren and most dear children, the struggle placed upon you by the Divine law is not light. Our Lord Jesus Christ, however, has called blessed those who suffer persecution for justice' sake and has commanded them to rejoice and exult because their reward in Heaven is great."




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