I recently came across the following photos of something I had only read about before: China’s ‘Underground’ Catholic Church. Since the State is hostile to Roman Catholicism, China’s Roman Catholics must receive the sacraments and attend Mass in hiding. The photos are captivating. The photos come from photographer Lu-Nan who risked his life by shooting a photo documentary on the Underground Church.
Let the following photos remind you of how good we have it…and what we are allowing slip from our grasp in many Western countries.
Persecution against Christians in China is now at a new high. This month news hit that Chinese authorities arrested a Vatican-appointed bishop, and this week the Chinese government issued new regulations aimed “to suppress all unofficial religious activities via dispersing Christian house churches, silencing Tibetan and Xinjiang separatists and undermining the Vatican’s influence on Chinese Catholics.” Read more from ChinaAid.
There is, of course, a history of tension between the Vatican and the Chinese government, between the underground Catholic Church in China and the state-approved “Catholic Patriotic” churches. Yet, the atheistic Communist country continues to explode with enormous numbers of practicing Catholics.
Despite the intense crackdown by the totalitarian goverment, Christianity is growing tremendously. It is estimated that there are 12 million Catholics in China, and soon there will be more practicing Christians in China than there are in the United States. It is predicted that Christianity is growing so rapidly in the country that China is on course to become the ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years.
Here are some photos:
“A Father gives a ceremony to the ill, who are bedridden.”
Seeing the photo circulating of Cardinal Sarah, a man of burgeoning worldwide interest, praying the Rosary before the Ordinary Public Consistory for the recent creation of five Cardinals seems to have gone viral. Why? Perhaps because so many bishops today are seen as having lost interior devotion. Luckily not all are like this.
When I saw this photo of Robert Cardinal Sarah circulate on social media, I thought of St. Louis de Montfort’s devotional book The Secret of Mary which, I believe, echos St. Benedict:
When you follow Mary, you will not go astray; when you pray to her, you will not despair; when you think of her, you will not err; when she sustains you, you will not fall; when she protects you, you will not fear; when she leads you, you will not become tired; when she favors you, you will arrive safely.
Cardinal Sarah (and other holy cardinals) has a long journey ahead. We don’t know what the future brings but may he always go into this world of spiritual battle–now engulfing Rome–protected and strengthened by Our Lady.
Cardinal Sarah is a man known for his calmness, thoughtfulness, and his silence, yet he is wielding a most powerful weapon in his hands…a weapon most of his adversaries are likely ignoring as it gathers dust on a shelf. ☩
Archbishop Jerome Listecki was at St. Stanislaus parish to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form. This is a big deal because it seems like many bishops tend to avoid the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) if it’s something they either are not familiar with or, like in the case of Archbishop Cupich in Chicago, openly disdain.
To my knowledge, the Archbishop is not trained in the Extraordinary Form and I have not heard of him being part of other TLMs. The archbishop could have easily avoided presiding at this 10am High Mass for one of the many other Masses in the diocese that day but he didn’t. St. Stanislaus is the only place in Milwaukee that offers the TLM so it was quite the statement that he was there. It’s refreshing to see a bishop that is embracing this ‘renaissance’ of Catholicism. The archbishop should be applauded for presiding at this Confirmation and being part of this Mass. Hopefully he will continue to draw attention to St. Stanislaus and other parishes that embrace a traditional liturgy by providing the simple witness of being there.
First is a brief video during the Salve Regina. Note: if you are viewing in email, video will not display unless you view post on the site.
**Click “HD” in bottom right of player for a good quality image**
There was a comment from a man who attended this Confirmation Mass and was struck by the beauty and reverence of the Extraordinary Form. It goes to show that people are moved by the beauty of a properly God-oriented Mass rather than an all-too-typical, going-through-the-motions, person-oriented, watered down Mass found in too many parishes today.
St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia offered Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the first time in presumably decades after young seminarians started requesting it from the current rector. Apparently they will now hold a Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) at least once a week. It’s really interesting to watch the interest in the TLM spreading worldwide.
The following photos are from the seminary’s Flickr page and occurred on the Feast of St. Martin of Tours.