Bannan Visitors

The Bannan Visitors program was a program designed to invite individuals to SCU to engage in issues or activities that support the Jesuit and Catholic character. While the program is no longer active, past visitors provided a rich array of resources to the University.

The Underground Church

Catholic Resistance in Communist Shanghai

by Paul Mariani, S.J. |

Paul Mariani, S.J., Assistant Professor in the History Department at Santa Clara and author of Church Militant: Bishop Kung and Catholic Resistance in Communist Shanghai (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011) shared his recent research on the Roman Catholic Church resistance in Communist China.

By 1952 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had suppressed all organized resistance to its regime and stood unopposed, or so it has been believed. Internal party documents—declassified just long enough for Paul Mariani, S.J. to send copies out of China—disclose that one group deemed an enemy of the state held out after the others had fallen. A party report from Shanghai marked “top-secret” reveals a determined, often courageous resistance by the local Catholic Church. Drawing on centuries of experience in struggling with the Chinese authorities, the Church was proving a stubborn match for the party.

Professor Mariani, S.J. shared the story of how Bishop (later Cardinal) Ignatius Kung Pinmei, the Jesuits, and the Catholic Youth resisted the Chinese Communist Party's punishing assault on the Shanghai Catholic community and refused to renounce the pope and the Church in Rome. Acting clandestinely, mirroring tactics used by the previously underground Chinese Communist Party, Shanghai’s Catholics persevered until 1955, when the party arrested Kung and 1,200 other leading Catholics. The imprisoned believers were later shocked to learn that the betrayal had come from within their own ranks. Though the CCP could not eradicate the Catholic Church in China, it succeeded in dividing it. Mariani’s secret history traces the origins of a deep split in the Chinese Catholic community, where relations between the “Patriotic” and underground churches remain strained even today.

"A gripping narrative of how militant Catholics in Shanghai in the 1950s tried to resist the Communist Party and how the Party crushed them. The book contains interesting material, based on internal party documents, on the tactics used by the Communists to organize multifaceted campaigns against the church, to infiltrate Catholic organizations, and to divide Catholics from one another. Mariani also examines the effects of this legacy of persecution on the Catholic community in Shanghai today." --Richard Madsen, University of California, San Diego

comments powered by Disqus
This text will be replaced

Connecting to Podcast

(Only some Articles have Podcast)

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Find and select iTunesU
  3. Find and select "Colleges and Universities"
  4. Select "Santa Clara University
  5. Select Ignatian center from What's New or Top collections