In his book The Souls of China, Ian Johnson writes about a type of religious persecution that was inflicted on some groups in China during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76):

Across the country, Buddhist, Daoist, and Catholic clergy who had taken vows of chastity were forced to marry. (page 26)

Sadly, Johnson doesn't provide any additional information about this, and a quick Google search didn't give me any clues either. This situation raises a number of related questions.

  • First of all, do we know approximately how many cases of this type of persecution were inflicted on Catholics?
  • Second, how did the government put the "marriage" into effect? Who officiated, and was it done in a church?
  • Third, did the government actually attempt to enforce this "marriage"? Did it require that the "married" people live together? Did it somehow ensure that vows of chastity were broken?
  • Fourth, would such involuntary "marriages," even if they were performed in accordance with government laws, considered invalid by the Church? I assume so!

Put simply, to what extent (both quantitatively and qualitatively) did the Chinese government force Catholic clergy to "marry" during the Cultural Revolution?

  • 1
    A cardinal in an Eastern European country actually ordained married priests in order to put out a red herring during the height of the communist persecutions. After the persecutions were over Rome gave these priests three solution: Serve the Church in the Roman Rite as deacons or remain a priest in a Eastern Rite of their choice or leave the active ministry all together. – Ken Graham Aug 15 '18 at 13:08

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