The Chinese Jesuit Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi has died after a beautiful witness to life in the face of death, battling cancer for six years. Gerard O’Connell writes in Vatican Insider:
On hearing of his death, Chinese Catholics worldwide prayed for him at masses in Taiwan, across mainland China, as well as in Hong [Kong], Macau and many other places, while Taiwan’s President Ma Ying Jiu and other civil and religious leaders payed high tribute to this greatly revered holy man.
“Like Blessed John Paul II he was an example of how to live and how to prepare to meet the Lord”, a religious sister who had worked closely with him told me. She recalled how when people asked him if he was afraid to die, he always responded: “No! Dying is falling into the loving arms of God.”
He had battled against lung cancer since 2006. When in the spring of this year he was informed that the cancer had spread to his brain, he moved from Kaohsiung to Taipei for further treatment, including cyber-knife surgery. It was the final stage in his long “farewell to life”, a journey conducted with deep faith and trust in God that has made him famous and greatly revered throughout Taiwan, mainland China and the Chinese speaking world.
He considered the cancer a “blessing” that had opened many doors and enabled him to explain the Catholic faith to non-Christians in Taiwan, where 97% of the population is non-Christian. “Many people are surprised that I am not afraid of death, and facing death I am still so calm. So they want to listen to me”, he told me.
Cardinal Shan understood that the primary mode of evangelization is a life well lived, in courage and peace, in faith that the passing of life is but a passing into the hands of a loving God. Recquiescat in pace.