X
UCA News

Long-imprisoned underground bishop dies

ucanews.com reporter, Fuzhou

ucanews.com reporter, Fuzhou

Updated: August 30, 2010 10:50 AM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
The body of Bishop John Yang Shudao of Fuzhou at St. Teresa’s Church
The body of Bishop John Yang Shudao of Fuzhou at St. Teresa’s Church
Share this article :

Retired Bishop John Yang Shudao of Fuzhou who spent at least 30 years in prison life because of his faith has died at the age of 91. The late bishop who headed the underground Catholic community in Fuzhou suffered a stroke and became unconscious several days before his death on Aug. 28. He died at St. Teresa’s Church in his hometown in Liangjiang county shortly after being discharged from hospital. His funeral, to be presided by underground Bishop Peter Lin Jiashan, is scheduled for Sept. 1 at the same church which has a capacity of 3,000. Bishop Lin was a former coadjutor bishop of Fuzhou diocese but now apostolic  prefect of Jianou, according to a Church source close to the Holy See. Several Church sources told ucanews.com that many government officers came to the church on hearing of the bishop’s death. “They are concerned about security issues and have restricted the number of people paying tribute,” one said. Fuzhou diocese currently has about 250,000 Catholics, with 81 “underground” and 27 “open” priests. The government recognizes the “open” Catholic community but not the ”underground” one. Father Joseph Li Ronghua, coordinator of the open community, told ucanews.com that he heard of Bishop Yang’s death but has received no further information from the underground side. He and many of the ”open” priests had never met the bishop, he said. Bishop Yang told ucanews.com in 2004 that reconciliation with the open Church would mean “a betrayal of faith.” In addition to the spilt between the open and underground communities since 1980s, the ”underground” Catholics have in the past decade themselves split into two factions, one led by Bishops Yang and Lin and another led by Father Lin Yuntuan. Currently, “underground” Bishop Vincent Huang Shoucheng of neighboring Mindong diocese is the administrator of Fuzhou diocese, according to a Church source close to the Holy See. Church sources are concerned about the diocese’s future. They agreed the funeral is a testing case for reconciliation. "If factions cooperate for the funeral, there can be room for communications. Otherwise, reconciliation will be distant," a source said. Bishop Yang was born on April 16, 1919 and was ordained a priest in 1947. The then Father Yang was arrested with other priests and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1955 for refusing to denounce the Pope and to join the government-sanctioned independent church. Bishop Yang was released in 1981 after 26 years in prison. He was clandestinely ordained a bishop in 1987. He was rearrested in 1988 and jailed for another three years. Since then, he has been arrested several times and was under surveillance. Related reports ‘Open’ Church Bishop Dies Without Fulfilling Reconciliation Wish Division In Church Pains Both ‘Open’ And ‘Underground’ Communities Underground Church In Fujian Province Suffers Another Blow CH10997.1617

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia