Among Roman Catholic university rectors gathered at an international conference in Rio de Janeiro last week, the most impressive figure was a towering (6 ft. 3 in.), hard-muscled Chinese59-year-old Roman Catholic Archbishop Paul Yu-pin of Nanking. Equally impressive was the report he gave of his church's growth in Formosa: during the past ten years, the island's Catholic population has grown from 5,000 to more than 200,000; its priesthood from 40 to 500.
Most of the new Catholics are refugees from Chinese Communists on the main land, but many have joined the church since fleeing from the Reds. The old ways are gone, and they want something to cling to, says the archbishop. "For more and more of them that something is Catholicism. Almost all the professors, tradesmen, generals and politicians on Formosa have accepted Christ."
The archbishop had another piece of news for the conference. Next month he will travel to Formosa on assignment from Pope John XXIIIto re-establish in Taipei, and then to administer, the Catholic University of Fu-jen, formerly located in Peking. It will be the first time in more than ten years that the archbishop has been able to live under the Chinese flag.
Orphaned at the age of seven, he "accepted Christ" after his contact with the priests of a Catholic mission in a small rice-growing district near Lansi, where he lived with his grandfather. At 18, he decided to become a priest, graduated from the Jesuits' Aurora University in Shanghai, went on to study in Rome and returned to China in 1933. Three years later, he was named Bishop of Nanking. But he never got much chance to work at it. First the Japanese overran Nanking in 1937 and put a $100,000 price on his head. His long exile in the U.S. ended after World War II. He returned to China, was made an archbishop in 1946. Three years later, the Communists overran his diocese and he had to flee again. In exile in the U.S., the bishop spent his energies helping Chinese in the New World and raising funds for the refugees on Formosa.
With a contribution of $100,000 from the Pope, and the promise of $900,000 from Boston's Cardinal Richard Gushing, Archbishop Yu-pin hopes to make Formosa's University of Fu-jen one of the Far East's best schools. It will be as inter national as the church itself: Spanish Dominicans will teach medicine and nursing; French Lazarists will run the law school; Austrian Benedictines will teach agriculture; Chinese priests will teach literature; and U.S. members of the Congregation of the Divine Word will teach science and languages. The first few hundred students are expected in 1961, and the archbishop hopes to have 12,000 by 1965.