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CHINA - 中国

Pope Pius XII wrote his apostolic letter, Cupimus Imprimis, in 1952 on the Catholic Church in China and then in 1958 his encyclical, Ad Apostolorum Principis, on Communism and the Church in China. In the Jubilee year 2000, Pope St John Paul II canonised the martyrs in China Augustine Zhao Rong and his 119 companions, on 1st October (China's national holiday & the feast of St Therese of the Child Jesus). Pope Benedict XVI wrote a Letter to the Catholics of China in 2007.

Here below are responses to Totus2us podcasts given by Chinese people
- many thanks to you all    ♥

To download the free mp3 audio recordings individually, right / double click on the light blue play buttons - 要单独下载免费的mp3音频录音,请双击蓝色播放按钮

St Therese of the Child Jesus      

Ella, from Hong Kong: "My favourite saint is Saint Therese of Child Jesus. She's actually the most popular saint after Mary and Joseph in China. Wherever you go to the church in China you will find St Therese's statue there, you cannot believe - she is everywhere! I only discovered I was born on her feast day (because I didn't have a devotion to saints previously) and I was born on 1st October and October 1st is also the national day of China so the whole country is in celebration of this national day, so St Therese is linked to China in a special way."


"Mary has always served as a role model to be a woman for me but I only realised how moving the way she loved when I started to pray to her more often. I have always been hearing that Mary is very close to Jesus and we all know that. But what I didn't really know was how the way she loves Jesus can be imitated by us. When we realise how humane and tenderly she loves Jesus and she loves us, then we would realise that we are all called to do the same."

Magdalene gives her 些關於瑪麗 in English & Mandarin.


"Now when I think about my mum, my grandmum and all the women in my life, I think of some aspects and I can see the image of Mary in their lives and how they effect my life and they teach me to be a good woman, a wonderful woman. Mary is a model for me and shows me how to be a good Catholic woman."

Mandy gives her 些關於瑪麗 in English & Chinese.


"I started to know our Virgin Mary through my grandma .. My grandma always prayed the rosary every day, she was very practicing. I didn't know what the rosary was about but she always told me that if I prayed to the Virgin Mary, she would help me, she would bless me. My grandma passed away two years ago and I started to try to push myself to get into the rosary, to know more about this, because my grandma was such a grateful person, practicing her faith with Our Lady, Mary. So I would like to say that I want to be a person who is loved and I would like to stay with Our Lady, so that is why I want to know more about the rosary."

Sisi gives her 些關於瑪麗 in English & Mandarin.

Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan

by Pope Francis (on 22 May 2013)

“Our Lady of Sheshan, support the commitment of all those in China who among their daily labours continue to believe, to hope and to love, so that they may never be afraid to talk to the world about Jesus and about the world to Jesus”.

Mary, faithful Virgin, sustain Chinese Catholics, make their challenging tasks ever more precious in the eyes of the Lord, and give growth to the affection and participation of the Church which is in China on the journey of the universal Church."

by Papa Benedict XVI

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title Help of Christians,
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.
When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.
From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.
Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

If you'd like to give Our Lady a bunch of flowers by saying your something about Mary,
(or give your response to 1 of the other Totus2us podcasts)  
please, pretty please, do get in touch with the Totus2us team

- as well as hopefully bringing you joy,
you'd be really helping Totus2us   ♥

Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt.
Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria. - St Louis de Montfort

St John Paul II took his motto Totus Tuus from this quote.

"I am totally yours and all that I have is yours.
I accept you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart.”

Explanatory Note about Pope Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, 27 May 2007
- also in Chinese (China), Chinese (Taiwan), French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

By his “Letter to Bishops, Priests, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China”, which bears the date of Pentecost Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI wishes to express his love for and his closeness to the Catholics who live in China. He does so, obviously, as Successor of Peter and Universal Pastor of the Church.

From the text two basic thoughts are clear: on the one hand, the Pope’s deep affection for the entire Catholic community in China and, on the other, his passionate fidelity to the great values of the Catholic tradition in the ecclesiological field; hence, a passion for charity and a passion for the truth. The Pope recalls the great ecclesiological principles of the Second Vatican Council and the Catholic tradition, but at the same time takes into consideration particular aspects of the life of the Church in China, setting them in an ample theological perspective.

A. The Church in China in the last fifty years

The Catholic community in China has lived the past fifty years in an intense way, undertaking a difficult and painful journey, which not only has deeply marked it but has also caused it to take on particular characteristics which continue to mark it today.

The Catholic community suffered an initial persecution in the 1950s, which witnessed the expulsion of foreign Bishops and missionaries, the imprisonment of almost all Chinese clerics and the leaders of the various lay movements, the closing of churches and the isolation of the faithful. Then, at the end of the 1950s, various state bodies were established, such as the Office for Religious Affairs and the Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics, with the aim of directing and “controlling” all religious activity. In 1958 the first two episcopal ordinations without papal mandate took place, initiating a long series of actions which deeply damaged ecclesial communion.

In the decade 1966-1976, the Cultural Revolution, which took place throughout the country, violently affected the Catholic community, striking even those Bishops, priests and lay faithful who had shown themselves more amenable to the new orientations imposed by government authorities.

In the 1980s, with the gestures of openness promoted by Deng Xiaoping, there began a period of religious tolerance with some possibility of movement and dialogue, which led to the reopening of churches, seminaries and religious houses, and to a certain revival of community life. The information coming from communities of the Catholic Church in China confirmed that the blood of the martyrs had once again been the seed of new Christians: the faith had remained alive in the communities; the majority of Catholics had given fervent witness of fidelity to Christ and the Church; families had become the key to the transmission of the faith to their members. The new climate, however, provoked different reactions within the Catholic community.

In this regard, the Pope notes that some Pastors, “not wishing to be subjected to undue control exercised over the life of the Church, and eager to maintain total fidelity to the Successor of Peter and to Catholic doctrine, have felt themselves constrained to opt for clandestine consecration” to ensure a pastoral service to their own communities (No. 8). In fact, as the Holy Father makes clear, “the clandestine condition is not a normal feature of the Church’s life, and history shows that Pastors and faithful have recourse to it only amid suffering, in the desire to maintain the integrity of their faith and to resist interference from State agencies in matters pertaining intimately to the Church’s life” (ibid.).

Others, who were especially concerned with the good of the faithful and with an eye to the future “have consented to receive episcopal ordination without the pontifical mandate, but have subsequently asked to be received into communion with the Successor of Peter and with their other brothers in the episcopate” (ibid.). The Pope, in consideration of the complexity of the situation and being deeply desirous of promoting the re-establishment of full communion, granted many of them “full and legitimate exercise of episcopal jurisdiction”.

Attentively analyzing the situation of the Church in China, Benedict XVI is aware of the fact that the community is suffering internally from a situation of conflict in which both faithful and Pastors are involved. He emphasizes, however, that this painful situation was not brought about by different doctrinal positions but is the result of the “the significant part played by entities that have been imposed as the principal determinants of the life of the Catholic community” (No. 7). These are entities, whose declared purposes – in particular, the aim of implementing the principles of independence, self-government and self-management of the Church – are not reconcilable with Catholic doctrine. This interference has given rise to seriously troubling situations. What is more, Bishops and priests have been subjected to considerable surveillance and coercion in the exercise of their pastoral office.

In the 1990s, from many quarters and with increasing frequency, Bishops and priests turned to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Secretariat of State in order to obtain from the Holy See precise instructions as to how they should conduct themselves with regard to some problems of ecclesial life in China. Many asked what attitude should be adopted towards the government and towards state agencies in charge of Church life. Other queries concerned strictly sacramental problems, such as the possibility of concelebrating with Bishops who had been ordained without papal mandate or of receiving the sacraments from priests ordained by these Bishops. Finally, the legitimizing of numerous Bishops who had been illicitly consecrated confused some sectors of the Catholic community.

In addition, the law on registering places of worship and the state requirement of a certificate of membership in the Patriotic Association gave rise to fresh tensions and further questions.

During these years, Pope John Paul II on several occasions addressed messages and appeals to the Church in China, calling all Catholics to unity and reconciliation. The interventions of the Holy Father were well received, creating a desire for unity, but sadly the tensions with the authorities and within the Catholic community did not diminish.

For its part, the Holy See has provided directives regarding the various problems, but the passage of time and the rise of new situations of increasing complexity required a reconsideration of the overall question in order to provide the clearest answer possible to the queries and to issue sure guidance for pastoral activity in years to come.

B. The history of the Papal Letter

The various problems which seem to have most seriously affected the life of the Church in China in recent years were amply and carefully analyzed by a special select Commission made up of some experts on China and members of the Roman Curia who follow the situation of that community. When Pope Benedict XVI decided to call a meeting from 19-20 January 2007 durring which various ecclesiastics, including some from China, took part, the aforementioned Commission worked to produce a document aimed at ensuring broad discussion on the various points, gathering practical recommendations made by the participants and proposing some possible theological and pastoral guidelines for the Catholic community in China. His Holiness, who graciously took part in the final session of the meeting, decided, among other things, to address a Letter to the Bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful.

C. Content of the Letter

“Without claiming to deal with every detail of the complex matters well known to you”, writes Benedict XVI to the Catholics of China, “I wish through this letter to offer some guidelines concerning the life of the Church and the task of evangelization in China, in order to help you discover what the Lord and Master Jesus Christ wants from you” (No. 2). The Pope reiterates some fundamental principles of Catholic ecclesiology in order to clarify the more important problems, aware that the light shed by these principles will provide assistance in dealing with the various questions and the more concrete aspects of the life of the Catholic community.

While expressing great joy for the fidelity demonstrated by the faithful in China over the past fifty years, Benedict XVI reaffirms the inestimable value of their sufferings and of the persecution endured for the Gospel, and he directs to all an earnest appeal for unity and reconciliation. Since he is aware of the fact that full reconciliation “cannot be accomplished overnight”, he recalls that this path “of reconciliation is supported by the example and the prayer of so many ‘witnesses of faith’ who have suffered and have forgiven, offering their lives for the future of the Catholic Church in China” (No. 6).

In this context, the words of Jesus, “Duc in altum” (Lk 5:4), continue to ring true. This is an expression which invites “us to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence”. In China, as indeed in the rest of the world, “the Church is called to be a witness of Christ, to look forward with hope, and – in proclaiming the Gospel – to measure up to the new challenges that the Chinese people must face” (No. 3). “In your country too” the Pope states, “the proclamation of Christ crucified and risen will be possible to the extent that, with fidelity to the Gospel, in communion with the Successor of the Apostle Peter and with the universal Church, you are able to put into practice the signs of love and unity” (ibid.).

In dealing with some of the more urgent problems which emerge from the queries which have reached the Holy See from Bishops and priests, Benedict XVI offers guidance regarding the recognition of ecclesiastics of the clandestine community by the government authorities (cf. No. 7) and he gives much prominence to the subject of the Chinese Episcopate (cf. No. 8), with particular reference to matters surrounding the appointment of Bishops (cf. No. 9). Of special significance are the pastoral directives which the Holy Father gives to the community, which emphasize in the first place the figure and mission of the Bishop in the diocesan community: “nothing without the Bishop”. In addition, he provides guidance for Eucharistic concelebration and he encourages the creation of diocesan bodies laid down by canonical norms. He does not fail to give directions for the training of priests and family life.

As for the relationship of the Catholic community to the State, Benedict XVI in a serene and respectful way recalls Catholic doctrine, formulated anew by the Second Vatican Council. He then expresses the sincere hope that the dialogue between the Holy See and the Chinese government will make progress so as to be able to reach agreement on the appointment of Bishops, obtain the full exercise of the faith by Catholics as a result of respect for genuine religious freedom and arrive at the normalization of relations between the Holy See and the Beijing Government.

Finally, the Pope revokes all the earlier and more recent faculties and directives of a pastoral nature which had been granted by the Holy See to the Church in China. The changed circumstances of the overall situation of the Church in China and the greater possibilities of communication now enable Catholics to follow the general canonical norms and, where necessary, to have recourse to the Apostolic See. In any event, the doctrinal principles which inspired the above-mentioned faculties and directives now find fresh application in the directives contained in the present Letter (cf. No. 18).

D. Tone and outlook of the Letter

With spiritual concern and using an eminently pastoral language, Benedict XVI addresses the entire Church in China. His intention is not to create situations of harsh confrontation with particular persons or groups: even though he expresses judgments on certain critical situations, he does so with great understanding for the contingent aspects and the persons involved, while upholding the theological principles with great clarity. The Pope wishes to invite the Church to a deeper fidelity to Jesus Christ and he reminds all Chinese Catholics of their mission to be evangelizers in the present specific context of their country. The Holy Father views with respect and deep sympathy the ancient and recent history of the great Chinese people and once again declares himself ready to engage in dialogue with the Chinese authorities in the awareness that normalization of the life of the Church in China presupposes frank, open and constructive dialogue with these authorities. Furthermore, Benedict XVI, like his Predecessor John Paul II before him, is firmly convinced that this normalization will make an incomparable contribution to peace in the world, thus adding an irreplaceable piece to the great mosaic of peaceful coexistence among peoples.

Declaration on Pope Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics
- also in Chinese (China), Chinese (Taiwan) & Italian

By means of his Letter, which is made public today, Pope Benedict XVI wishes to express his love for the Catholic community in China and his closeness to it.

From the text of the Papal document two basic attitudes are clear: on the one hand, deep spiritual affection for all Catholics in China and cordial esteem for the Chinese people, and, on the other, an earnest appeal to the perennial principles of the Catholic tradition and the Second Vatican Council in the ecclesiological sphere. It is, therefore, a pressing invitation to charity, unity and truth.

The Letter is directed to the Church in China and deals with eminently religious questions, responding to precise queries which have been addressed for some time to the Holy See by Chinese Bishops and priests. It is not, therefore, a political document, nor, much less, an indictment of the government authorities, although it does not ignore the well-known difficulties which the Church in China must daily tackle.

The Holy Father recalls the

"original plan" which Christ had for his Church and which he entrusted to the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops. In this light, he takes into consideration various problems of the Church in China which emerged during the past fifty years. From this "plan" he also draws inspiration and formulates guidelines to tackle and resolve, in a spirit of communion and truth, the said problems.

In the Letter, Benedict XVI declares himself fully available and open to a serene and constructive dialogue with the civic authorities in order to find a solution to the various problems concerning the Catholic community, and to reach the desired normalization of relations between the Holy See and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, in the certainty that Catholics, by freely professing their faith and by giving generous witness of life, contribute also, as good citizens, to the good of the Chinese people.

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Pope John Paul II's Message from the Philippines to Catholics in China
during his apostolic journey to the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia & Sri Lanka
Manila, Thursday 12 January 1995 - in English & Italian

"From Manila, where I have come for the celebration of the Tenth World Youth Day, I wish to send a special and affectionate greeting to all Chinese Catholics who make present and visible on Chinese soil the Church of Christ, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, a community of faith, hope and charity.

Dear brothers and sisters of the Church in China, I am well aware of the difficulties amid which you are called to bear witness to your faith in Christ. The Second Vatican Council speaks of the whole Church in a way that is very applicable to your experience: "Like a pilgrim in a foreign land, the Church presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God, proclaiming the Cross and Death of the Lord until he comes (cf. 1 Cor. 11:26). By the power of the Risen Lord she is given strength to overcome patiently and lovingly the afflictions and hardships which assail her from within and without, and to show forth in the world the mystery of the Lord in a faithful though shadowed way, until at the last it will be revealed in total splendour" (Lumen Gentium, 8).

To you, dear Catholics of China, Divine Providence has entrusted the task of living the faith in the midst of a people of ancient cultural traditions. You are called to be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world", "that all may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Mt. 5:16). Keep your gaze fixed then on "Christ, the light of the nations". Do not be afraid: he has overcome the world (cf. Jn. 16:33), he is with you always (cf. Mt. 28:20).

Your witness will be all the more eloquent if it is expressed in words and deeds of love. Jesus said so: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn. 13:35). Love among yourselves, first of all, but love also for all your Chinese brothers and sisters: a love which consists of understanding, respect, forbearance, forgiveness and reconciliation within the Christian community; a love which involves service, self–sacrifice, fidelity, hard work, honesty and justice in society as a whole.

Genuine love however cannot be separated from truth. Saint Paul reminds the Ephesians to: "live by the truth and in love" (Eph. 4:15). Dear brothers and sisters, the profound unity which marks every Catholic community throughout the world must be based on the truth which shines forth in the Gospel and on the charity which is born of the heart of Christ. This must also be the case with you! Every day I pray for you, asking the Lord to help you remain united as living members of the one Mystical Body of Christ.

Unity is not the result of human policies or hidden and mysterious intentions. Instead, unity springs from conversion of the heart, and from sincere acceptance of the unchanging principles laid down by Christ for his Church. Particularly important among these principles is the effective communion of all the parts of the Church with her visible foundation: Peter, the Rock. Consequently, a Catholic who wishes to remain such and to be recognized as such, cannot reject the principle of communion with the Successor of Peter.

How many testimonies of faith, how many messages of fidelity I have received from communities throughout China! Bishops, priests, Religious and lay people have wished to reaffirm their unshakable and full communion with Peter and the rest of the Church. As Pastor of the Universal Church, my heart greatly rejoices at this. I earnestly invite you all to seek paths to communion and reconciliation, paths which draw their light and inspiration from the Truth himself: Jesus Christ.

I entrust all of you to the maternal protection of Mary, Queen of China.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen."

Saint Francis Xavier, Jesuit missionary, in his Letter of 22 October 1552:

There are numerous decrees forbidding entrance to China... But, aside from the dangers of prison and maltreatment, there are even greater ones that people here do not suspect... In the first place, loss of hope and trust in God, when it is for love of him and for his service that we are about to make his Law known and Jesus Christ, his Son, our Redeemer and our Lord, as he well knows. Since, in his blessed mercy, he has communicated these desires to us, to fail now in trust in his mercy and power before the perils we may run for his service is a far greater peril than all the harm God's enemies might cause us. If it matters to his greater service, God will keep us from all the perils of this life... Hence we have for our guard the Lord's word: “Whoever loves his life in this world will lose it and whoever loses it for God's sake will find it” (cf. Jn 12,25). And this like it: “Anyone who sets their hand to the plough and looks back is not worthy of the Kingdom of God.”

As for us, bearing in mind these dangers of soul, which are so much greater than those of the body, we are all the more sure and certain of confronting bodily dangers... Therefore, however it may be, we are determined to go to China.