Henri Pinault

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Henri-Marie-Ernest-Désiré Pinault
Henri Pinault 1945 passport photo.jpg
Photo of Henri Pinault from his 1945 passport. At this time he was approximately forty-one years old
Province Sichuan
Diocese Roman Catholic Diocese of Chengdu
Installed July 14, 1949
Term ended 1983
Predecessor Jacques-Victor-Marius Rouchouse
Successor None
Consecration September 21, 1949
Personal details
Birth name Henri Pinault
Born September 7, 1904
Tinténiac, Trévérien, Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany, France
Died February 24, 1987
Évran, Côtes-d'Armor, Brittany, France
Buried Évran, Côtes-d'Armor, Brittany, France
Nationality French
Denomination Roman Catholicism
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Henri-Marie-Ernest-Désiré Pinault (September 7, 1904 – February 24, 1987) was the Roman Catholic bishop of Chengdu from 1949 until 1983, four years before his death.

Early life[edit]

Pinault was born in 1904 into a family of farmers in Tinténiac deanery in Trévérien commune, Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in northwestern France.[1] In 1905 the Pinault family settled on a farm in Évran commune in the Côtes du Nord department of Brittany.[1] Pinault had his primary school studies in Évran and his secondary schooling at the Cordeliers in Dinan.[1] The Pinaults were devout Roman Catholics and Henri had an uncle who was a priest in the diocese of St. Brieuc and a cousin who was a priest in the diocese of Rennes.[1] In 1922 Pinault was ordained as a priest and on June 29, 1929 he received his ordination as a Priest of La Société des Missions Etrangères.[1]

Years in China[edit]

On September 15, 1929 Father Pinault embarked on his mission to Chengdu, China.[1] When he first arrived in China the country was in turmoil. After spending several months in Chengdu, he was sent to Bazhou to undergo language training. Father Pinault took the Chinese name Pengdaochuan. (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Péngdàochuán; Wade–Giles: P'eng-Tao-Ch'uan)[2] The city was captured on February 23, 1933 by forces of the Communist Party of China and clergymen and Christians were forced to flee.[1] Father Pinault found refuge with Benedict monks in Chongqing.[1] In 1934 Father Pinault was appointed Supérieur du Probatorium at Hebachang, where he organized a hospice in 1942.[1] In 1945 Father Pinault departed from Hebachang and replaced the deceased pastor at Tsong-Kin-Tcheou.[1]

Cover of Henri Pinault's 1945 French passport issued in China

On July 14, 1949, Pinalut was appointed to replace the late Jacques-Victor-Marius Rouchouse as Bishop of Chengdu, the highest post in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chengdu in the Ecclesiastical province of Chongqing; Bishop Pinault received his episcopal ordination on September 21, 1949.[3] Only two months later, on December 28, 1949, the city of Chengdu was captured by communist forces. In order to protect his fellow clergy members, Bishop Pinault took personal responsibility for the ownership of all church property.[1] This act placed him at risk as Communist Party administrators placed heavy taxes on religious properties and imprisoned clergy members. Officials ruled that Bishop Pinault was unable to pay his “debts” and threw him in prison in early 1952, where he underwent repeated interrogations. Finally, Bishop Pinault was expelled from China, leaving Chengdu on March 29, 1952 and arriving in Hong Kong on April 14.[1] Bishop Pinault arrived in Marseilles on June 30 and shortly after visited his mother in Évran.[1] After his departure from China, Pinault retained the title of Bishop of Chengdu, which he would hold until 1983.[3]

Later life and death[edit]

Shortly after his arrival in France, Bishop Pinault accepted an assignment as a military chaplain in the French Air Force in North Africa.[1] On December 29, 1953 Bishop Pinault returned to France and spent time at Voreppe before relocating to Paris, where he works with la Mission bretonne and the ministère épiscopal de Confirmations et d'Ordinations.[1] Bishop Pinault took part in the Second Vatican Council in Rome from 1962-1965.[1] On his return from Rome, Bishop Pinault retired to Évran, where he lived with his mother, who died in 1975, and served neighboring parishes.[1] In June 1980, Bishop Pinault celebrated Eucharist in Lisieux with Pope John Paul II during the Pope’s pilgrimage. In 1983, Pinault retired from his position as Bishop of Chengdu and became Bishop Emeritus of Chengdu;[3] the position of Bishop of Chengdu was left vacant.[4] In December 1986 Bishop Pinault was hospitalized at Rennes with arteritis and underwent several surgeries. Bishop Pinault returned home to Évran on February 23, but at 6:00 p.m. on February 24, 1987 he died. He is buried next to his mother in a small cemetery in Évran.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "PINAULT". Société des Missions Etrangères de Paris. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Henri Pinault's 1945 French Passport Issued in China". Internet Archive. 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Bishop Henri-Marie-Ernest-Désiré Pinault, M.E.P.". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved May 28, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Diocese of Chengtu (Chengdu)". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved May 28, 2009.