Looking for Good Catholic Bishops? Try a Chinese Prison

By Jason Scott Jones Published on October 26, 2022

If you follow the mainstream media, the picture you’ll likely have of U.S. bishops is a bleak one. You’ll read how Cardinal Donald Wuerl covered up for a sadistic child pornographer. And how ex-Cardinal Ted McCarrick molested a boy for years, while picking most current U.S. bishops.

You’ll learn how Cardinal Blaise Cupich shrugged that Planned Parenthood selling baby parts was no worse than Republicans limiting Medicaid. Or how Bishop John Stowe damned Nick Sandmann for “racism” based on a biased media clip, then refused to apologize.

You’ll read the grim story of how the bishops confronted Donald Trump about the abortion ties of the COVID vaccine, then when Biden entered the White House forced the same vaccine into seminarians’ arms and church employees’. Not a pretty picture.

And this Vatican, under Pope Francis, has done nothing to discipline the wrongdoers. In fact, it rewards them.

The Church’s Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact with China

But there are other bishops in the world, heroic witnesses for Christ being persecuted by the totalitarian Chinese government. They are languishing in prison, undergoing torture, refusing to sell out their faithful or the Lord.

And the same Vatican does nothing to help them. In fact, it sides with their captors. John Zmirak reported here years ago that the Vatican’s deal with the Chinese Communist party wasn’t even a surrender, but an alliance — comparable to the equally grotesque Hitler/Stalin pact of 1939. As part of that deal, Stalin threw true-believing Communists in fascist countries to the wolves — exactly as Pope Francis has abandoned faithful Christians in China.

Instead of denouncing China for imprisoning Christians and stealing organs from the live bodies of Uyghur Muslims, the Vatican keeps flattering the Beijing regime. It even sent the pope’s right-hand man, Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, to praise the CCP at a conference of its criminal organ thieves.

There are currently eight Catholic bishops imprisoned by the Communists in China. You won’t hear about them on the news, but at the Vulnerable People Project we are committed to telling their stories. We want to build public pressure demanding that these good men be released. Let introduce you to the eight Bishops so you can pray for them by name. The following list was compiled by Nina Shea for National Review.

Cardinal Joseph Zen

Cardinal Zen is “the most senior Chinese hierarch ever arrested by the CCP. (Cardinal Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei of Shanghai was not made a cardinal until 1979, after his 1955 arrest, political show trial, and two decades of imprisonment, which continued until 1988.) On May 11, Cardinal Zen was arrested by security police on accusations of “conspiracy to collude with foreign forces,” under Hong Kong’s sweeping national-security law. While that investigation continues, he faces trial on charges that, as a trustee, he and five others failed to register a now-defunct aid fund for pro-democracy protestors.”

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Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin

Bishop Xijin was “demoted by the Vatican to auxiliary bishop in 2018, to make way for a bishop whose excommunication was lifted as an agreement precondition. In January 2020, as Covid spread, Chinese authorities evicted Bishop Guo from his home, forcing the then-61-year-old prelate to sleep on his church’s doorstep. After international pressure, he was allowed access to his apartment, only to find that its heat, water, and electricity were shut off. Thwarted in his episcopal ministry, he resigned and returned to his family’s village.”

Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo, of Zhengding

Bishop Zhiguo “was sequestered for indoctrination on August 10, 2020, and subsequently disappeared. He defied recent regime directives to ban children from church and for 30 years had run an orphanage for disabled children. He had spent decades in prison and under house arrest with tight surveillance. Internet reports that he has died have not been confirmed.”

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin

“[T]he 59-year-old bishop of Yongjia (Wenzhou) diocese, Zhejiang province … has been detained in secret locations six times since 2016, including between October 25 and an unknown date in November 2021. He reportedly was detained again on April 7, 2022, and forced onto a flight to an unknown destination.”

Bishop Melchior Shi Hongzhen

“[T]he 93-year-old bishop of Tianjin, [he] is under house arrest and has been for several years. In September 2022, a Vatican delegation that arrived in Tianjin to negotiate the agreement was able to give him a pectoral cross from the pope.”

Bishop Augustine Cui Tai

Bishop Cui Tai “disappeared following an arrest on June 19, 2020, after being freed from detention that January. The 72-year-old bishop had spent most of the last 15 years under house arrest or in secret detention without due process.”

Bishop James Su Zhimin

Bishop Zhimin “is among today’s longest serving political prisoners. While leading a religious procession in 1996, Bishop Su was taken into police custody and imprisoned without trial in 1997. Nothing has been learned about him since. On November 15, 2003, he was spotted under guard in a Baoding hospital by relatives. His nephew Su Tianyou stated that Guo Wei, a China religious-affairs official involved in negotiations with the Vatican, said to wait for an improvement in China–Vatican relations for Bishop Su’s release. Despite the 2018 agreement, though, no release of and no information about the 90-year-old bishop has come. Under Mao, Bishop Su had been imprisoned for 26 years and severely tortured.”

Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu

Bishop Weizhu “was arrested in May 2021 while convalescing from cancer surgery and detained without due process in a black jail. His arrest, along with that of ten priests and a number of seminarians, occurred during a raid by over 100 public-security officers on a former factory where the bishop ran a seminary for fellow conscientious objectors. While the others were released, the 63-year-old bishop remains detained in a secret location. He has been previously arrested and jailed.”

I hope you will join me in praying for these men, suffering for Christ. Please add your name to our petition to free these bishops, calling on the U.S. Government and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to use their positions of influence to do what the Vatican won’t: publicly demand that the CCP release these innocent shepherds.


Jason Jones is a senior contributor to The Stream. He is a film producer, author, activist and human rights worker.

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