The Two Sides of China’s Party | Anthony E. Clark, Ph.D. | Catholic World Report
Remembering Fr. Charles McCarthy, SJ, an American Jesuit in Shanghai.
As the Party Congress continued, I thought it would be opportune to write a column on the other side of the Party, one that only fifty years ago imprisoned foreign priests, nuns, and Chinese Catholics, accusing them of being “spies,” “saboteurs’,” and “counterrevolutionaries.” One of the priests arrested in the 1950s was Father Charles McCarthy, a Jesuit from the California Province who lived and served in Shanghai until the Party arrested him and placed him in a small prison cell.
An American Jesuit in China: From California to Shanghai
The great German polymath, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, once wrote, “The moment one commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would come his way.” Some rare and adventurous missionaries in
China have left such extraordinary footprints in the Middle Kingdom so as to confirm Goethe’s assertion. Father Charles McCarthy, SJ, was such a man, whose uncommon mixture of intellect and piety fashioned one of China’s most tireless evangelists for the Gospel, and a gentle friend of the Chinese people. McCarthy’s life in China is hardly imaginable to most people; he was detained twice while in Asia, interned first by the Japanese from 1942-1945, and then later imprisoned by the Chinese from 1953-1957 during the radical Maoist era, and through all of his trials Fr. McCarthy remained an unwavering example of the Ignatian spirit, to, as Saint Ignatius of Loyola advised his successors, “give and not count the cost.”