URGENT! Make a gift that will be doubled. We have $10,746 left to match by December 1st.
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

China: underground Church leader dead at 96

Catholic World News - March 17, 2014

Bishop Joseph Fan Zhongliang of Shanghai, a leader of China's "underground" Catholic Church, has died at the age of 96.

Bishop Fan, had served as president of the underground Church’s episcopal conference, died at home. He had been under house arrest for most of the past two decades.

Born in 1918 and baptized at age 14, Bishop Fan became a Jesuit in 1938 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1951. Four years later, the Communist regime sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

He was secretly ordained a bishop in 1985; 15 years later, Blessed John Paul II appointed him bishop of Shanghai. The government did not recognize his appointment.

Chinese government officials have allows only a private funeral service, taking place in a funeral parlor, for the deceased bishop. The government rejected a request from Catholics to hold the funeral in Shanghai's Catholic cathedral, where the funeral of Bishop Aloysius Jin was held last year. Bishop Jin had been recognized by the government as head of the Shanghai diocese, whereas Bishop Fan was never recognized by the Beijing regime.

Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, who was ordained in 2012 as an auxiliary for the Shanghai diocese, with the approval of both the Vatican and the government, is now under house arrest. Bishop Ma lost the government's approval when, at his ordination ceremony, he announced that he was leaving the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($65,724 to go):
$150,000.00 $84,276.12
44% 56%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: bruno - Mar. 17, 2014 7:29 PM ET USA

    Not armies nor foreign nations does the Chinese government fear, but poor frail old men speaking the truth. Bishop Z, pray for us!

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Art and theology, beauty and truth, work together in the New Evangelization 7 hours ago
Anatomy of Conversion 7 hours ago
Anatomy of Conversion 11 hours ago
It is a failure of mercy to deny sin November 20
Yesterday's news, tomorrow November 20

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days