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

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.