In a press release, the Foundation said that the Mass would be dedicated to religious freedom around the world, especially form the Church in China, as well as to the petition that “Cardinal Kung may be raised to the honour of Blessed.”
Anthony Lam Sui-ki, senior researcher at the Holy Spirit Study Centre of Hong Kong diocese, said that Cardinal Kung was always a good model of faith for Chinese Catholics. Everyone remembers him for that.
On the canonisation issue, Lam said that he hoped the Chinese government would take the matter easy and look from the Church point of view. “To canonize someone is to let others have a good model of faith,” he noted.
In 2000, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Chinese government launched a campaign of insults against the Vatican when the latter decided to canonise Chinese martyrs.
Ignatius Kung Pin-mei was born in Shanghai on 2 August 1900 into a Catholic family. Ordained a priest in 1930, he was appointed bishop of Shanghai in 1950.
On 8 September 1955, he was arrested along with more than 200 members of the clergy and the laity. He was sentenced to life in prison and spent almost 33 years behind bars for “counter-revolutionary activities” according to the charges of the Chinese government.
Following pressures from international VIPs, he was released in July 1985 and placed under house arrest until 1988, when he travelled to the United States for medical treatment.
In 1979, Pope John Paul II named the then-imprisoned bishop of Shanghai a cardinal in pectore (in the heart), revealing it publicly (and to him) only in 1991.
In March 1998, his passport was seized when he went to renew it at the Chinese consulate, so that he was now officially an exile.
He died on 12 March 2000 from stomach cancer.
Photo: Kung Foundation