From one cardinal to another, with love and respect

Posted by Bo Fan

The death of the much loved Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi last week prompted many people to reminisce about the great man’s life and work.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, who was a great friend of his, emailed us to recount one or two of his memories.

He tells us it was Cardinal Shan who “provoked” Pope John Paul II into overcoming diplomatic concerns and canonizing 120 Chinese martyrs in 2000.  The Beijing government had alleged that some of the martyrs were collaborators of Western imperialism in China.

“I use the word ‘provoke’ because Cardinal Shan dared to tell the Holy Father that our martyrs were suffering a second martyrdom in Rome,” remembers Cardinal Zen.

Perhaps more poignantly, he tells us that Cardinal Shan sacrificed an opportunity to make a home visit in 2011 – an opportunity he had been awaiting for more than 30 years – when mainland officials told him that a visit to Beijing should be included in his itinerary.

“He knew any visit to Beijing would certainly be manipulated for political purposes and refused to do it. So permission for what would have been his last visit to China, to see his family and friends was, refused,” says Zen.

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