Beda Chang

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Beda Chang, S.J. (Simplified Chinese: 张伯达; Traditional Chinese: 張伯達) (c. 1905 – November 11, 1951) was a Chinese Roman Catholic Jesuit priest and martyr. He was tortured to death during a wave of persecution by the communist government. Born as Chang Cheng-Min (or Tsan Cheng-Min, varying sources), Father Beda Chang was a priest and the dean of faculty of arts at Shanghai's Aurora University.[1]

Arrest and execution[edit]

Because he refused to renounce his faith and to cooperate with the government in their persecution of the Church, Fr. Chang was arrested, imprisoned, tortured and then died.[1][2] Rev. William Aedan McGrath, in the cell opposite Chang, reported that he saw the priest languishing and vomiting in the cell for two months before he died.[3] Chinese Roman Catholics reacted with mass protests and turned out in great numbers for Father Chang's requiem Mass.[1]

Aftermath and veneration as martyr[edit]

After Father Chang's death, the communist government issued a statement denouncing the prayers and Masses for Chang as a “new type of bacteria warfare by the imperialists – a counterrevolutionary mental bacteria.”[4]

After the burial the faithful began to visit Fr. Chang’s grave, the police guarded the grave to prevent veneration, but reports of miracles accomplished through the intercession of Fr. Chang began to be reported.[2] The Chinese authorities later admonished Shanghai's Roman Catholic Bishop Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei (himself later imprisoned for 30 years).[2] Fr. Chang’s body was returned to the Church on November 12, 1951 and Shanghai's Catholics began to venerate him as a martyr.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Liu, William T. and Beatrice Leung, The Chinese Catholic Church in Conflict: 1949-2001, p. 68, Universal Publishers 2004
  2. ^ a b c Excerpt from a 1952 speech by Archbishop Fulton Sheen at University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy
  3. ^ Moreau, Theresa Marie Warrior Priest: Father McGrath and the Battle for the Soul of China
  4. ^ Weir, Charlene The Wisdom of the Popes, p. 219, Macmillan (1957)

Further reading[edit]

  • Father Beda Chang: Witness for Unity, Catholic Truth Society, Hong Kong 1953