Thomas Tien Ken-hsin
Archbishop of Beijing
|Term ended||July 24, 1967|
|Predecessor||Paul Léon Cornelius Montaigne|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Via|
|Ordination||June 9, 1918|
|Consecration||October 29, 1939|
|Created cardinal||February 18, 1946|
by Pope Pius XII
|Born||October 24, 1890|
Chantsui, Yanggu, Shandong Province, Qing China
|Died||July 24, 1967 76) (aged|
|Buried||Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Taipei|
|Parents||Kilian Tien Ken-sin|
|Coat of arms|
Thomas Tien Ken-sin
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Thomas Tien Ken-sin, SVD (Chinese :田耕莘; pinyin :Tián Gēngxīn; October 24, 1890 – July 24, 1967) was a Chinese Cardinal of the Catholic Church and chair of Fu Jen Catholic University. He served as Archbishop of Peking from 1946 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1946 by Pope Pius XII.
For centuries, access to the people of China was difficult for the Catholic Church, because as a Church she did not recognize local Confucian customs of honouring deceased family members. To the Chinese, this was an ancient ritual; to the Holy See, it was a religious exercise which conflicted with Catholic dogma. As a result of this and its foreign origin, the Church encountered much resistance in China. Within month of his election, Pope Pius XII issued a dramatic change in policies. On December 8, 1939, the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of Faith issued at his request a new instruction by which Chinese customs were considered not superstitious, but an honourable way of showing esteem for one's relatives and therefore permitted by Catholic Christians.Within a short interval, in 1943, the Government of the Republic of China established diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The Papal decree changed the ecclesiastical situation in China in an almost revolutionary way. As the Church began to flourish, Pius elevated China's status within the Church, established a local ecclesiastical hierarchy, and received the Archbishop of Peking, Thomas Tien Ken-sin SVD, into the College of Cardinals.
After the Second World War, an estimated four million Chinese professed the Catholic faith. By 1948, the Catholic Church operated some 254 orphanages and 196 hospitals with 81,628 beds, carrying out a great deal of pastoral work throughout China.While Catholics represented less than one percent of the population, they had increased dramatically. In 1949, there were in mainland China:
The establishment of Mao Zedong's communist regime in 1949 put these early advances on hold and led to the persecution of thousands of clergy and faithful in China. The losses in the following years were considerable. Some of the Catholic hierarchy, including the archbishops of Nanking and Peking, left the mainland and eventually made their way to Taiwan. In 1951, the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Riberi, was expelled, as were many foreign missionaries, who were accused of acting as agents of imperialist forces. Hundreds more Catholic clergy experienced increased supervision, frequent arrests and torture, and Catholic laypeople were under tremendous pressure to renounce their faith. The Holy See reacted with several encyclicals and apostolic letters, Cupimus Imprimis , Ad Apostolorum principis , and Ad Sinarum gentem (1954).
In 1957, a schismatic Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which does not recognize papal authority, was formed by the Chinese Communist Party. Bishops and priests who refused to join the Patriotic Association were imprisoned, forced to engage in degrading and exhaustive manual labor, and many were martyred in captivity.
Thomas Tien Ken-sin was born in Chantsui, Yanggu, (Shantung province) to Kilian Tien Ken-sin and his wife Maria Yang. Baptized in 1901, he studied at the seminary in Yenchowfu before being ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Augustin Henninghaus on June 9, 1918. Tien then did pastoral work in the Yangku Mission until 1939. He entered the Society of the Divine Word on March 8, 1929, in the Netherlands, taking his first vows on February 2, 1931, and his final ones on March 7, 1935. He was raised to Apostolic Prefect of Yangku on February 2, 1934.
On July 11, 1939, Tien was appointed Apostolic Vicar of Yangku and Titular Bishop of Ruspae. He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 29 from Pope Pius XII himself, with Archbishops Celso Constantini and Henri Streicher, MAfr, serving as co-consecrators. Tien was later made Apostolic Vicar of Qingdao on November 10, 1942.
He was elevated to Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria in Via by Pope Pius XII in the consistory of February 18, 1946. Tien, the first cardinal from China, was then named, on April 11 of that same year, the first Archbishop of Beijing in post-Yuan Dynasty China.In 1951 he was exiled from China by the Communist regime, and spent this time in Illinois in the United States, to where he came that year for treatment of a heart ailment. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 1958 papal conclave which selected Pope John XXIII, and was Apostolic Administrator of Taipei from December 16, 1959 to 1966. From 1962 to 1965, he attended the Second Vatican Council, and voted in the 1963 papal conclave, which selected Pope Paul VI.
Tien died in Taipei on July 24, 1967, at age 76. He is buried in the metropolitan cathedral of that same city.
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|Catholic Church titles|
| Vicar Apostolic of Qingdao|
|Elevated to diocese|
|New diocese||Bishop of Qingdao||Succeeded by|
Paul Léon Cornelius Montaigne
| Archbishop of Beijing |
Joseph Li Shan
(recognized by the Holy See)
Joseph Kuo Joshih
| Apostolic Administrator of Taipei |
Stanislaus Lo Kuang
Patrick Joseph Hayes
| Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Via |
Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi
Joseph Louis Aldée Desmarais
|— TITULAR —|
Bishop of Ruspae
J. Carroll McCormick