Thursday, September 30, 2010

18th Century Jesuit Chinese Bishop Of Nanking

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Nanjing 1752, Bishop Gottfried Xavier von Laimbeckhoven was appointed bishop, although he had to escape to Macao for his Episcopal consecration three years later. But he continued his active missionary life, traveling all over his diocese. "I was their bishop," he noted, "but I could neither meet, nor lead my flock." His most painful cross was the duty imposed on him to promulgate the Pontifical Brief suppressing the Jesuit Order in 1773. It was to him like "condemning my own mother to death." From his Jesuit Superior in Beijing, he received this note dated May 25, 1775:
"For the last time, I can sign as a Jesuit. The bull of suppression is on its way, and will soon reach you. Yet it is already a tremendous blessing to have been a Jesuit one or two years!" 
All his life, Bishop Laimbeckhoven faithfully observed the Jesuit Rule, which was a source of profound joy and strength for him. The bishop of Macao questioned his faculties, and a Portuguese missionary refused to obey him. Rome considered him too old and sent a vicar to take his place, but the latter died on the way, creating a delicate juridical impasse. Exhausted, Bishop Laimbeckhoven retired to an obscure village, where an ex-Jesuit priest ministered the last sacraments to him.
Link (here) to the full article at Business World written by Fr. José S. Arcilla S.J. 
Link (here) to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Nanjing 

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