Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Underground Bishop Lorenz Zhang Wenchang is Dead -- 24 Years in Concentration Camp

Bishop Lorenz Zhang Wencheng
(Hong Kong) At the age of  92 Msgr Lorenz Zhang Wencheng has died.  The Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Kunming had passed twenty four years of his life in Communist concentration camps.  The Bishop died on the 5th of February.  His burial is planned for the 12 of February.

Bishop Zhang, who died in his home village of Shilin, was the Apostolic Administrator of three church districts south of Yunnan: Kunming, Dali and Zhaotong.

In 2006 the Communist regime has been on a collision course with the Vatican and recently on its own and without the approval of the Pope its own Bishop loyal to the regime in Kunming.  The unjustly consecrated Ma Yinglin drew an excommunication upon himself immediately.  Subsequently the Communist Party in china has promoted him to become the President of the Council for China's Bishops.  The Council, not being recognized by Rome, is true to the regime in opposition to the Bishops Conference which is loyal to Rome.

Despite the support from the regime for the loyal Patriotic Union, Ma Yinglin is avoided by the Catholic Faithful.  Where ever he goes out in public, Catholics leave and refuse to receive the Sacraments from him.

Bishop Zhang belongs to the underground Church.  Till his life's end he lived under strict police surveillance.  His life was that "typical" of the Martyrs to Communism.  Born in 1920 in a Catholic family, he went to Catholic schools. In 1946 he was ordained a priest by Bishop Alexandre Derouineau.  Msgr Derouineau was expelled by the Communist takeover of China in 1952.

Msgr Zhang served next at the Cathedral Church in his home Diocese.  In 1953 he had to give up his pastoral activity during the Maoist persecutions and became a rabbit and chicken farmer.  in the underground he continued to work as a priest and cared for hidden Christians.

In 1958 Msgr Zhang was imprisoned during the Communist campaign, "Agains the Reaction" and condemned to 20 years of imprisonment.  Under the cynical motto "Reeducation Through Work", the priest passed his period of forced labor in a concentration camp till 1982.  Till 1987 he was recognized as a pries t by the state and worked openly as a clergyman again.

The Church of Yunnan numbers around  60.000 Catholics.  The majority belong to ethnic minorities.  Since the expulsion of Bishop Derouineau in 1952, the See has been officially vacant.  The government has prevented since then the appointment of Bishops by Rome.  Instead, the Communist regime installed its own loyal Bishops in 1962, without the agreement or recognition by the Pope.  Msgr Kong Lingzhong usurped the Bishop's See till his death in 1992.  Since 2006 Ma Yinglin  has unjustly occupied the Bishop's See.  The Holy See has since named underground Bishops for the vacant Diocese, which are occupied by a standing persecution.

Link to Katolisches...

Text: Asianews/Giuseppe Nardi
Bild: Asianews

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