|THE PAST AND THE FUTURE: Bishop Jin Luxian and his chosen successor, Joseph Xing Wenzhi|
Interviews: "A Church for China"
Adam Minter discusses his article about Bishop Jin Luxian, the future of Catholicism in China, and life as a writer in Shanghai.
Flashbacks: "The Cross and the Star"
Articles from The Atlantic's archives illuminate the history of China's complex relationship with Christianity.
In a letter dated May 27, 2007, and released at the end of June, Pope Benedict called for reconciliation among China's divided Catholics.
Click here to read Pope Benedict's letter.
Click here to read the Vatican's explanatory note.
Click here to read an analysis of the letter by Jeroom Heyndrickx, a Belgian priest who has served as a Vatican emissary to the Chinese Church since the early 1980s.
On a June day in 1982, Father Aloysius Jin Luxian, a 66-year-old Jesuit just released from prison, walked into Shanghai’s St. Ignatius Cathedral for the first time in 27 years. In his youth, the building had been one of the great churches in East Asia, celebrated for its delicate Gothic arches and colorful stained glass. Now the color was gone, replaced by clear glass and harsh sunlight that bleached the cracked columns and tiled floor. The steeples, once among the tallest in Shanghai, were missing, as was the altar beneath which he’d been ordained, in 1945. Jin had spent nearly three decades under house arrest, in reeducation camps, and in prison, so he had few illusions about the Chinese Communist Party’s attitude toward religion. But the damage to the church was still hard to bear. St. Ignatius, he learned, had been converted to a grain warehouse during the Cultural Revolution, and the authorities had spent three days burning most of the diocese’s Catholic books in front of the church.