May 7, 1989 |
For three decades, Ignatius Kung had no name. To the outside world, he was a famous prisoner of conscience. But inside his Shanghai isolation cell, the guards and interrogators addressed him only by his prison number--at first 1423, and later, in another jail, 28234. Kung now recites those digits as if they were etched on his brain. In 1955, when Kung was the Roman Catholic bishop of Shanghai, authorities imprisoned him on grounds that he was part of a "counterrevolutionary clique" conspiring against China by continuing to maintain allegiance to the Vatican.
July 5, 1985 |
Ignatius Kung, 85, the Vatican-appointed Roman Catholic bishop of Shanghai, has been released after serving 30 years in prison. Kung (whose Chinese name is Gong Pinmei) was arrested in 1955 and sentenced in 1960 to life in prison for high treason, for refusing to abandon his loyalty to the Vatican and refusing to support a separate, state-controlled "patriotic" Catholic Church. The authorities announced that he was granted parole Wednesday after he "admitted his crime and showed repentance."
January 20, 1998 |
The last time Pope John Paul II secretly named someone to the College of Cardinals was in 1979, when he chose Chinese Bishop Ignatius Kung, imprisoned by the Chinese authorities for more than 30 years because he refused to break ties with Rome. When the appointment was finally revealed 12 years later--after former Shanghai Bishop Kung was safely in the United States--the enraged Chinese reacted by arresting Kung's successor as Shanghai bishop, Fan Zhongliang.
April 7, 2005 |
Pope John Paul II will take a secret to the grave when he is buried Friday: the identity of the last cardinal he named. The mystery stems from the rare papal practice of naming cardinals in pectore, or in his heart. Popes have usually done this to honor a prelate's service in a country where the Roman Catholic Church is persecuted without further straining the Holy See's relations with that nation or exposing the prelate to harassment.
October 17, 1985 |
On July 3, in a move that was widely interpreted as a gesture of good will toward the Roman Catholic Church, Chinese authorities announced the release of the Vatican-appointed bishop of Shanghai from the prison where he had been locked up since 1955. More than three months later, the prelate, Ignatius Kung, 84, has become a mystery figure in China. Officials of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Assn.