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Resistance is not futile
There are a couple of big stories that have long been told of the Catholic Church in China. One of them: By 1952, the Communist Party had crushed organized religious dissent and stood unopposed. Another: that Chinese Catholics "shed imperialism" and "joined together in forming a 'patriotic' church" no longer loyal to Rome. But research by historian Paul Mariani, S.J. tells another story. Church Militant: Bishop Kung and the Catholic Resistance in Communist Shanghai (Harvard University press, 2011) reveals how the Communists failed in repeated attempts to break the Church in China’s largest Catholic community in the 1950s—but ultimately they succeeded in dividing it.
Mariani, an assistant professor of history at Santa Clara, weaves a complex and heartbreaking tapestry with threads drawn from unpublished Jesuit archives, recently declassified “top-secret” Chinese Communist party dossiers in Shanghai, and interviews over the years and across continents. Central to the story is the first Chinese bishop of Shanghai, ignatius Kung pinmei—named to the post in 1950, shortly before party attitudes toward Catholics hardened and campaigns unfolded under a policy that at least paid lip service to the notion that “freedom of religion must be protected, but religious bodies must be cleansed of all imperialist influence.” That influence included not just foreign missionaries but allegiance to Rome.
Watch a video of Paul Mariani discussing Church Militant.
Throughout the country, most religious groups' resistance to party hegemony crumbled. But not in Shanghai. There, Catholic Youth, some Jesuits, and other members of the faith turned party tactics back upon their oppressors, forming cells of compartmentalized activity and knowledge. Secret prayer groups, an underground novitiate, and a secret women’s religious order were founded. Bishop Kung himself continued to ensure the Church’s survival through public steadfastness. But a damning confession by French Jesuit Fernand Lacretelle—extracted after his imprisonment and long interrogations—proved central to dividing the faithful as part of an anti-Church campaign in 1955. By 1960, Kung had been sentenced to prison and a puppet church was in place.
it’s the enormous epilogue to this tale—and the fact that the past Mariani so compellingly reconstructs as the prologue to a future of the Church still unknown—that make it so illuminating. Today in Shanghai, there are two bishops, a legacy of when the “patriotic” church was not reconciled with rome. But in recent years healing wounds seems to have been a priority.
As for Bishop Kung, he was only freed in 1985—six years after he was secretly made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II. He came to the United States in 1988 and died in 2000 at the age of 98. He is buried in the Mission Cemetery in Santa Clara. Steven Boyd Saum
Required reading—for bishops and tweeters
“While a great deal of controversy exists concerning the ordination and function of women and deacons in Christianity, there is little disagreement over their existence.” So begins Gary Macy’s exploration of the history of women deacons in Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future (Paulist Press, 2011). But, the past is not a closed book here.
Macy is the John S. Nobili Professor of Religious Studies and department chair. For Women Deacons, he teamed up with William T. Ditewig, an ordained deacon since 1990, and Phyllis Zagano, a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter. While the book examines some vexing questions for the Catholic Church, it is not, the authors underscore, a book about women priests.
What is it? For starters, it’s setting the historical record straight, documenting the unambiguous roots of women deacons in the first century. While women served as deacons in both the Eastern and Western churches, that changed in the West with the advent of the Purity Laws in the 12th century.
Ditewig tackles the present, asking, “Can and should women be ordained as deacons?” Zagano looks at the practical dimension (“What can an ordained woman do that an unordained woman cannot?”) and opposition to women serving as deacons. No matter where one comes down on the arguments about the role of women in the Church, this book should be, says Susan A. Ross of Loyola University Chicago, “required reading for all bishops and clergy.”
Macy also recently co-edited A Companion to the Eucharist in the Middle Ages (Brill, 2012), a scholarly compendium on “the rich multimedia event” that was the Eucharist in that time. Jon Teel ’12
At the 21st century end of the spectrum, Tweet If You ♥ Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation (Morehouse, 2011) is Elizabeth Drescher’s guide to the virtual (and vital) spiritual landscape where social media and the digital milieu profoundly shape the future of religion. “The revolution will not be televised,” notes one chapter—that’s old media; instead, this book of “paradox and possibility” advises that being a steward to belief may mean dismantling familiar structures. Drescher, who teaches in SCU’s pastoral ministries program, contributes an AfterWords in this issue of SCM. Steven Boyd Saum
Mathematical people, expeditions, and tapestries
Fascinating Mathematical People (Princeton University Press, 2011), co-edited by Gerald L. Alexanderson, assembles interviews and memoirs for a look at 16 intriguing members of the 20th-century mathematical community. Shared among them: an abiding sense of wonder about mathematics and its place in the world. Fern Hunt describes what it meant to be among the first African American women to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1978. The late Harold Bacon, who taught at Stanford for decades, recounts his trips to Altraz to teach a prisoner calculus. Thomas Banchoff, a specialist in differential geometry who first became fascinated with mathematics in the fourth dimension by reading reading a Captain Marvel comic, recounts his friendship with artist Salvador Dalí and their shared passion for art and math. Alexanderson, the Valeriote Professor of Science, has taught at SCU for more than 50 years and chaired the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science for 35 years. He is the former president of the Mathematical Association of America, as well as former editor of Mathematics Magazine.
Expeditions in Mathematics (Mathematical Association of America, 2011), also co-edited by Alexanderson, collects talks from the Bay Area Mathematical Adventures (BAMA) program. Topics range from the medieval ranking of angels—and how that related to the location of the planets—to the latest techniques in cryptography.
A Mathematical Tapestry: Demonstrating the Beautiful Unity of Mathematics (Cambridge University Press, 2010), co-written by SCU Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Jean Pedersen, reveals the interconnectedness of mathematics’ various branches, using geometry to make connections between number theory, polyhedral geometry, combinatorial geometry, and group theory. Holly Hanbury-Brown ’12
Dreaming Buffalo Bill
Massacre of the Dreamers (Editorial Polibea, 2011), the first collection of poetry by Juan Velasco, follows the inward journeys of two children, Esperanza and Custodio, who escape from an abusive past by venturing into the land of the imagination. An associate professor of English and modern languages, Velasco populates his narrative verse with mythologized figures from the frontier—Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull. During the course of poems that are by turns frightening, tragic, and heartbreaking, the wildly imaginative children discover that their heroes (and the landscape) are not what they imagined. While dreams turn to nightmares, there is a kind of catharsis that comes with the sad close of the journey.
A writer who navigates two continents and languages (he holds doctorates from both the University of Madrid and UCLA), Velasco is the author of two novels in Spanish, Las Fronteras Moviles and Enamorado—the latter a staple in Spain’s high school curriculum, used to teach both philosophy and religion. Dreamers itself is a bilingual journey; the English translation of La Masacre de los Soñadores is courtesy of Brendan Riley ’88, who studied English at SCU. Jon Teel ’12
International obligations and idea rights
Co-edited by Professor of Law David L. Sloss, International Law in the U.S. Supreme Court: Continuity and Change (Cambridge University Press, 2011) examines cases in which international law has played a role for the nation’s highest court, from the Civil War to the war on terror. Sloss brings to the project a decade of experience in federal government, where he helped draft and negotiate several major international treaties related to arms control while working in the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He has published numerous articles on U.S. foreign affairs law and the judicial enforcement of treaties in U.S. courts, and he specializes in international law and human rights, capital punishment, nuclear proliferation, and constitutional law. HHB
Professor Emeritus of Law Howard C. Anawalt helps Santa Clara Law’s revered intellectual property program. In Idea Rights: A Guide to Intellectual Property (Carolina Academic Press, 2011), he distills the stuff of IP into concise, readable portions. There are sections on patents, copyrights, trade secrets, policy—and, of course, piracy. Steven Boyd Saum
Also note …
Professor of Psychology and Liberal Studies Tim Urdan co-edited the third edition of the triple-tomed APA Educational Psychology Handbook (2011), which covers theory, research, and practice in the field.
Recently arrived in our in-box is Restorative Justice for Domestic Violence Victims: An Integrated Approach to Their Hunger for Healing (Lexington, 2010), by Professor of Sociology Marilyn Fernandez, which presents a rich and detailed set of interviews and survey data to make a strong case for introducing restorative justice principles into the services available for victims of domestic violence.
High-spirited and hushed moments from Feb. 24: a day to talk about business, ethics, compassion.
Poet and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia argues that Catholic writers must renovate and reoccupy their own tradition.
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Marilynne Robinson speaks about grace, discernment, and being a modern believer.
Hossam Baghat, one of Egypt’s leading human rights activists, was awarded the 2014 Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize for his work defending human rights.
Scoring 40 points in one game. And besting Steve Nash’s freshman year.
A lab on a chip helps provide the answer—which is a matter of life and death when the question is whether drinking water contains arsenic.