Today in Catholic History – The Arrest of Bishop Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei

On 8 September 1955, more than 200 Chinese Catholics including the Bishop of Shanghai Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei were arrested for their refusal to accept the “Three Autonomies” movement to separate the Catholic Church of China from the Holy See and Bishop Kung’s steadfast defense of the Catholic faith. Despite government opposition, Bishop Kung organized the establishment of the Legion of Mary and declared 1952 to be a Marian Year in Shanghai. Indeed, it was for participation in the Legion of Mary that most of the Chinese Catholics were arrested.

After his arrest, the Chinese authorities will try to get Bishop Kung to publicly confess his “crimes” at a stadium in Shanghai, instead the Bishop will shout out “Long live Christ the King! Long live the Pope!”. He will be sentenced to life imprisonment. Pope John Paul II would make him a cardinal in pectore in 1979 but Cardinal Kung would not learn this until 1988 after he had been released by the Chinese government. Cardinal Kung died on 12 March 2000 in Stamford, Connecticut.

An account of one priest who was arrested along with Cardinal Kung

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