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Bishop burned alive by Japanese troops in 1937 may become patron saint of abuse victims

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A Dutch Catholic bishop burned alive in 1937 by Japanese troops for protecting Chinese girls from rape may become the patron saint of sex abuse victims worldwide.

Frans Wiertz, who is bishop of Roermond in the southeastern Netherlands, has sent a dossier to the Vatican requesting martyred bishop Frans Schraven be beatified, one step away from becoming a saint, the bishopric said on its website on Monday.

Bishop Wiertz "suggests that he be considered as the patron saint of victims of sexual abuse", it said.

Dutch-born Schraven was killed in October 1937 in Zhengding, 160 miles (260 kilometers) south of Beijing, for not handing over Chinese girls the invading Japanese army wanted to turn into sex slaves also known as "comfort women".

The 200 girls were among around 5,000 people who had sought refuge at Schraven's bishopric soon after the start of the the Sino-Japanese war.

According to witness accounts, when Japanese troops came to ask for the girls, Schraven said: "You can kill me if you want but you will never get what you ask for."

The soldiers returned hours later, handcuffed Schraven and eight other priests, doused them in petrol and burned them alive.

"Fortunately there are people in the Church who chose the right side, who condemned abuse and who sacrificed their lives when it was necessary," Wiertz wrote.

"There have in recent years been many reports about abuse within the Church. It's shameful to see that even the faithful can be guilty of such things," he said.

Tens of thousands of people were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the Roman Catholic church in the Netherlands between 1945 and 2000, with an independent commission identifying 800 alleged perpetrators.

Prolific sexual abuse by priests has shaken the Catholic church in recent years, including a string of pedophile scandals from Austria to the United States.

© (c) 2014 AFP

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A gruesome example of what the IJA did many millions of times, they were certainly one of the most gruesome, efficient killing machines in the history of mankind, lets hope they never return.

25 ( +31 / -5 )

Respect to the heroic priest. No doubt the J rightwingers will howl that " it never happened, its made up Chinese propaganda , sex slaves were voluntary workers and who knows what other BS. Japanese embassy in Netherlands will probably be lodging a protest right about now. Any comment messrs Ishihara, Hashimoto & Abe?

31 ( +37 / -5 )

Now there's a lovely little anecdote for Abe to include in his revisionary history textbooks meant to invoke patriotism in the youth.

19 ( +25 / -5 )

The Bishop died a hero.

24 ( +26 / -1 )

A monument of him should be placed at in Hiroshima Peace Park. It's always good to have some perspective when judging the actions of the past.

22 ( +28 / -6 )

A statue of this brave man should be placed at the shrine honering those that killed him and millions of others in such a barbaric way. Such a gesture would go a long way.

5 ( +12 / -6 )

but but but,,, Japan were liberators!

15 ( +21 / -6 )

A monument of him should be placed at in Hiroshima Peace Park.

@JeffLee

Terrific suggestion. That would certainly help eliminate criticism that Hiroshima Peace Park portrays Japan far more as a hapless victim of the war while playing down its role as aggressor.

And how about also placing one of these monuments at the Yasukuni Shrine war museum? That would certainly help show Japan's sincerity to peaceful relations in Asia.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

The soldiers returned hours later, handcuffed Schraven and eight other priests, doused them in petrol and burned them alive.

I expect that an announcement from a Japanese politician is forthcoming explaining that it was actually only two other priests.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

While I don't doubt that Schraven was a brave man with iron-clad principles, I really don't think the Catholics should insult the multitudes of people (=children) that it has abused both physically and mentally throughout its history with a patron saint of abuse victims. It's irony at its worst.

-10 ( +12 / -23 )

According to witness accounts, when Japanese troops came to ask for the girls, Schraven said: “You can kill me if you want but you will never get what you ask for.”

One must assume that the Japanese troops were not satisfied merely with burning the priests but did help themselves to "what they asked for," so his martyrdom was in vain.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Now we might hear that after much "research in Japan" that no document authorizing this action was found in the archives so it likely didn't happen & certainly wasn't the responsibility of the IJA if it did................

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I think it does us good to to remember the horror of when the dogs of war are let loose. No matter It's validity. Hiroshima is also another place to contemplate and to remember the horrors that should never be. And it goes without saying that physical mortal war should never be waged from anywhere. Let each country do its part, let us debate. But let's not be scornful. Peace on the seven seas.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A patron saint for abuse victims will give them courage to continue with their lives, shame the perpetrators and their defenders, and remind us all of the coverup of these heinous crimes that must never be repeated.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Baibaikin: I really don't think the Catholics should insult the multitudes of people (=children) that it has abused both physically and mentally throughout its history with a patron saint of abuse victims. It's irony at its worst.

That's a horrible way of looking at this. That they had problems in a similar way doesn't mean that they aren't allowed to work towards stopping it from happening again.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

The rape of children by those in holy orders is beyond disgraceful. The treatment of decent priests by the animals mentioned here was subhuman. I have no time for any religion but this man deserves respect. He could be a reminder to the sick predators in the Catholic Church that morally decent human beings should be protecting the vulnerable, not preying upon them.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

The 200 girls were among around 5,000 people who had sought refuge at Schraven's bishopric soon after the start of the the Sino-Japanese war.

So who were the other 4,800? guerrilla fighters? If they weren't girls they must have been men. It seems like there's more to this story than we're being told.

A monument of him should be placed at in Hiroshima Peace Park. It's always good to have some perspective when judging the actions of the past.

Sure. And anytime the Dutch are mentioned we should bring up the Amboyna massacre.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

@TheOriginalWing Sure, but creating a saint doesn't really consititute 'work towards stopping it from happening again' in my mind. What I would prefer to see is the Catholic church handing over paedophile priests to the authorities, rather than shuffling them from parish to parish or protecting them in other ways.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The Catholic Church have killed millions and millions of people often with torture and by brutal means. Even in recent history, during WWII, they ran concentration or extermination camps in Croatia to kill Jews, and even children.

The way the Catholic Church decides who is a saint is very open to question.

While the death of this bishop and the other people was brutal it was one of many hundreds of thousands committed by the Japanese Imperial Army.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I am Japanese.

I hope sincerly people here just automatically believe what this article says, and make a pause, and search over internet.

Please! Please! follow this link.

http://cooljapan1.blogspot.jp/2013/04/catholic-newspaper-to-forge-slaughter.html

Bishop was killed by Chinese bandits.

Nevertheless, http://www.cathoshin.com/2013/04/11/schrave/ It says Bishop was killed by Imperial Japanese Army.

Why do they forge? Why do they make up story? Why can't people jump into conclusion? WHy can't peope say "not sure " until they gather the facts?

-17 ( +12 / -29 )

Who really killed Frans Schraven? Curiouser and curiouser. It turns out all we had to do was go through the Catholic Church's own newspaper, the Catholic Herald, to find the answer.

A BISHOP MURDERED BY CHINESE BANDITS

Eight missionary workers in the Far East, including a bishop, Mgr. Francis Hubert Schraven, are now officially reported as having been murdered. These victims were kidnapped last month by Chinese bandits at Chengting. Note of their murder has now been conveyed to their families.

Mgr. Schraven, and two others of the murdered band, were Dutchmen. and there were two Frenchmen. also among the victims.

The murdered bishop was a Lazarist. He was raised to the episcopate in 1920, as titular Bishop of Amyclae, and was consecrated in the cathedral at Chengtingfu in the following year.

http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/26th-november-1937/15/a-bishop-murdered-by-chinese-bandits

5 ( +11 / -6 )

@Baibaikin I'm not sure I see the connection. Of course, the pedophilia problems within the Catholic Church were/are horrendous and in need of even further solving and fixing and preventing and remorse. But how is that connected to this story? The molestation scandal within the Catholic Church were committed by a collection of awful people - the religion itself doesn't approve of or promote it. In fact, the religion itself is quite against it - hence this creation of a symbol against it (sainthood, or whatever you call the beginning steps they take towards it). You're right that having a saint devoted to these purposes isn't a concrete action towards fixing the problem (either in-house or worldwide), but in my understanding, it's more of an inspirational symbol of hope and comfort for those who are affected by it. And I think that's a good thing to have.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Didn't take long for some apologists to come along and start claiming Japan did no wrong and the article is a lie, etc. Needless to say it won't make any history textbooks. It's sad the man died trying to protect these girls from being raped by Imperial Japanese troops, but his actions were heroic.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

War is terrible and terrible things happen, none of us should want it ever.

Japan was no doubt responsible for many terrible things and certainly they haven't done a very good job, at least publicly, distancing themselves from that period of history, I would say Germany certainly seems to have done a better job in that regard.

This all being said, I hope for a time when this isn't front page news all the time.. the "outrage" at every action on all sides is transparently political for the most part, we can't change what has happened, only try to stop these kinds of things happening again.

(so please Japanese citizens.. think when you are voting..)

We have the odd noisy moronic nationalist in almost all countries, thankfully they are mostly grumpy old bitter men who will be gone soon enough.

We are at a time in history where countries do not and can not operate in complete isolation so I wish every one would say their bits and get on with it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

hachikou when other countries complain about revisionist history, it's because of web sites like that. Burning people alive, bayoneting others, mass rape, competitions as to who can decapatate the most. If Japan was truly sorry there would be no debate...but no, the population are taught that it was the victim. I'm afraid to tell you burning priests alive was common practice, the soilers were so brutalised it was normal. Even Japanese nationals sold to the army for sex is denied, denial of so many offences is more offensive .

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

I'm no expert on the matter, but with the two mentions to an archived article in the Catholic Herald, I looked that publication up.

House Atreides: It turns out all we had to do was go through the Catholic Church's own newspaper, the Catholic Herald, to find the answer.

Sorry House, but it turns out that that's not quite right. From what I can see, the Catholic Herald is a privately run British publication. I don't see any connection to it being an "official" publication of the Catholic Church. Does that disprove or discredit any of its information? No, not necessarily.

hachikou: WHy can't peope say "not sure " until they gather the facts?

What makes you think that this newspaper's information is more factual than other newspapers' information?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

War is a terrible thing, that is why we don't like to have them. Show me one army that has ever marched for a cause and committed no atrocities and I'll show you an army of saints. Let's quit bickering about things that were terrible in the past and stop the terrible things that are in the present. If you are not Catholic, this in no way will have an effect in your world. Bandits or soldiers makes no difference at this point. The man gave his life for a cause. If the Catholic church wants to celebrate his selfless act, they should do so without pointing fingers. If he died protecting people from violence, I'm sure it didn't matter to him if they were ladies, children, bandits soldiers or xhores. He would have done the same thing. Let's not let the media hatemongers take way from his sacrifice.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

What makes you think that this newspaper's information is more factual than other newspapers' information?

Well there's also this dispatch from the New York Times.

PRELATE SLAIN IN CHINA; The Hague Confirms Murder of Bishop Schraven by Bandits

Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES. November 23, 1937,

The authorities here have received confirmation that Bishop Franciscus Schraven, Apostolic Vicar of Chengting, China, has been murdered by bandits. Nothing previously had been heard about his fate since he was reported kidnapped with a group of missionaries on Oct. 9, the day after the Japanese capture of Chengting.

http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30D10FB3B59177A93C1AB178AD95F438385F9

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Baibaikin: I really don't think the Catholics should insult the multitudes of people (=children) that it has abused both physically and mentally throughout its history with a patron saint of abuse victims. It's irony at its worst.

Or alternatively you could look at it as the catholic church facing up to their own past and creating a special patron saint of victims of sexual abuse as a very significant gesture (in catholic circles) towards acknowledging and making amends for the havoc they themselves have wreaked in the past.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The original story was that it was Chinese bandits but later it was confirmed by Japanese Authirities that it was indeed the Japanese army. http://archive.thetablet.co.uk/article/2nd-april-1938/12/china

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Build a small shrine to him complete with a statue to pray to on the grounds of Yasukuni, and when I see Abe bow his head and pray at that shrine I might begin to believe him when he says he is there praying for peace.

BTW, some regulars are suspiciously absent from this thread.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The original story was that it was Chinese bandits but later it was confirmed by Japanese Authirities that it was indeed the Japanese army. http://archive.thetablet.co.uk/article/2nd-april-1938/12/china

Having read both conflicting reports, I'm not convinced either way.

There is agreement that the abduction occured on Oct 9, 1937.

As posted above, UK's "Catholic Herald" reported on Nov 26, 1937 that he was murdered by Chinese bandits.

http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/26th-november-1937/15/a-bishop-murdered-by-chinese-bandits

A Catholic newspaper, "The Observer" reported in March 1938 that the Japanese embassy made a statement saying the accusation that Japanese army murdered Bishop Schraven is false. It makes mention of a much earlier report in the "Chicago Daily News" that he was abducted by Japanese troops. This initial report seems unavailable.

http://obs.stparchive.com/Archive/OBS/OBS03241938p01.php

Despite the conflicting evidence regarding who the perpetrators were, that the Bishop provided shelter to these girls from threat of being enlisted as sex slaves doesn't seem to be challenged.

I wonders what the motivation was if indeed the Bishop was killed by Chinese bandits though.. in contrast to the Japanese army with a clear motive.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Excellent investigation guys, especially you Mr Mcgraw. Time for your rebuttal Hachikou

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I wonders what the motivation was if indeed the Bishop was killed by Chinese bandits though.. in contrast to the Japanese army with a clear motive.

Evidently the communists would kidnap missionaries for ransom.

The body of Fr. Gratian Leonardelli, the twenty-five-year-old Franciscan missionary kidnapped and killed by Communist brigands last July, has been recovered by his fellow missionaries and brought back to Kichow. Father Leonardelli was raised 40 the priesthood, at Trent, in June, 1936, and sailed for China in October. He was taken prisoner at Tang-fong, a port on the Blue River, when Reds invaded that district last July.

The Reds then sent a note to the Catholic mission, demanding a ransom; they asked for 500 army uniforms, 1,000 pairs of puttees, watches, fountain pens, and a supply of medicine. Later they asked for 80,000 dollars, enclosing with their demand a letter of Fr. Leonardelli, undated, in which he mentioned that his Chinese servant had been stoned to death by the Communists after an unsuccessful break for liberty. Regarding the Reds' demand, he told his confreres to do as they liked, adding: "But I am certain that one of these days they will make me a present of a bullet in the head."

http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/26th-november-1937/15/kidnapped-killed-the-martyr-of-mo-si-ho

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I've no doubt that Japanese soldiers did it. They had a reputation of brutality in which they were in the habit of burning their conquered people alive. One of the infamous incident that happened in Korea involving Japanese soldiers burning people alive happened when hundreds of Korean villagers who were burned alive after they were shoved into a locked building then set alight. The Japanese were angry because they wanted to take revenge after a massive unarmed peaceful protests all across Korea involving 2 million Koreans who were on the streets to protesting for the end of Japanese rule. Several thousands got mowed down by Japanese rifles and tens of thousands more arrested then tortured to death, in which the protests lasted for two months. If you read the work of a Canadian Christian missionary in Korea who saw what was going on, the Japanese masters had a bad habit of lying about the atrocities they committed (the same habit of lying and dismissing what happened, which is still alive and well in Japan today).

http://books.google.ca/books?id=ROMXm882kz0C&pg=PA193&lpg=PA193&dq=march+1919+movement+japanese+atrocity&source=bl&ots=lhUZWonAq3&sig=h0WiaUvuySDLnOFGRLUcFBjOU6k&hl=en&sa=X&ei=R3rLUqqIFIy2rgGf-IGIAw&ved=0CEMQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=march%201919%20movement%20japanese%20atrocity&f=false

-8 ( +11 / -18 )

I wonders what the motivation was if indeed the Bishop was killed by Chinese bandits though.. in contrast to the Japanese army with a clear motive.

Evidently the communists would kidnap missionaries for ransom.

Thanks for the link.

None of the archived reports seem to indicate a demand for ransom was made for the Bishop. However, the following lines from the "The Tablet" lends a little more weight to the theory that the Japanese troops were involved.

"The Japanese authorities made an exhaustive inquiry, and have come to the conclusion that the missionaries were killed by Japanese soldiers of the regular army."

"On November 12th the incinerated remains of the victims were discovered at the place where the Japanese were wont to cremate their dead, and on the 17th the Japanese Commander Yokohama arrived at Chengtinfu and immediately opened an inquiry, which established the fact that Japanese regulars were responsible for the murder."

It is difficult to substantiate either report, and the first reports of any incidents (even in this day day and age) are often unreliable. The much more detailed report in "The Tablet" is dated April 1938 and in my mind is more reliable, in my mind.

But given the conflicting reports, there will always be disagreement on how the Bishop met his demise.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@NathalieB This may be significant in Catholic circles as you point out, but for non-Catholics and victims of sexual abuse that has effectively been sanctioned by the church, it's as empty a gesture as, say, prayer, in that nothing changes. By itself the proposed sainthood may be intended as a celebration of a heroic action in the past, but in the big scheme of things the church has clearly demonstrated that it isn't willing to protect its flock from sexual predators.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japanese were infamous at that time for burning Christian churches down, with the congregations inside them. This charge of burning the priest matches the behaviour of Japanese troops. The excuses for this were always they were plotting against the Japanese state. Not surprised at all.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

To add to the debate we are talking about Imperial Japan, who has a pretty dark history of persecution against Christians, (which was in fact one of their major reasons for starting their 200 year self imposed isolation) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs_of_Japan

"Fortunately there are people in the Church who chose the right side, who condemned abuse and who sacrificed their lives when it was necessary," Wiertz wrote. "There have in recent years been many reports about abuse within the Church. It's shameful to see that even the faithful can be guilty of such things, "he said.

I think he would hope that his martyr would inspire people to do the right thing and stand up for what is right, that we focus on his action as a human, not on who did it against him but ask if we would have the courage to do the same.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Baibaikin Way to go with generalising the Catholic group.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The Catholic Church have a long and dark history when it comes to murder, and torture which number in the millions including in recent history. It has been an abuser for centuries and in more recent history a sexual abuser of small children. The method of how the church decides who is a saint is very questionable and if selected a saint is only for Catholic followers not all the people who suffer abuse?

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Dennis711: "If he died protecting people from violence, I'm sure it didn't matter to him if they were ladies, children, bandits soldiers or xhores. He would have done the same thing. Let's not let the media hatemongers take way from his sacrifice."

Tell that to Abe and other revisionists, currently working on resurrecting Japan's army. I'm quite sure he'd be more than happy to say it never happened and stomp on this man's sacrifice.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Truly a brave man. His actions and principles are to be admired

1 ( +6 / -5 )

How about if Shinzo Abe goes to the grave of Frans Schraven to pay his respects?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

It is difficult to substantiate either report, and the first reports of any incidents (even in this day day and age) are often unreliable. The much more detailed report in "The Tablet" is dated April 1938 and in my mind is more reliable, in my mind.

The article from The Tablet states that the mission was raided by non Japanese soldiers of the IJA.

On October 7th and 8th, the mission buildings of Chengtinfu had been bombarded and raided by Manchu or Korean soldiers of the Japanese army.

If the report is true, maybe the non Japanese nature of the soldiers caused confusion as to who they were. I also find it odd that nothing was done to the Chinese in the Church according to The Tablet.

The Chinese missionaries present were not touched and could only watch the scene in terror.

This would certainly fit with a kidnapping for ransom as Westerners would be more valuable than Chinese. Since the Chinese missionaries survived, I'm going to assume that the initial reports of Chinese bandits came from the Chinese missionaries.

The Tablet article continues:

On November 12th the incinerated remains of the victims were discovered at the place where the Japanese were wont to cremate their dead, and on the 17th the Japanese Commander Yokohama arrived at Chengtinfu and immediately opened an inquiry, which established the fact that Japanese regulars were responsible for the murder.

According to The Tablet, it was determined by the 17th of November that Japanese forces were responsible. Japanese even attend the Requiem Mass.

A solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated at the cathedral on November 22nd, which was attended by the Japanese Commander, the Japanese authorities, Pastor Spica, Rector of the Swedish Mission, and the Superior of the Buddhist pagoda.

Yet the Catholic Herald article from the 26th of November continues to maintain that Chinese bandits were responsible:

Eight missionary workers in the Far East, including a bishop, Mgr. Francis Hubert Schraven, are now officially reported as having been murdered. These victims were kidnapped last month by Chinese bandits at Chengting. Note of their murder has now been conveyed to their families.

Something seems amiss.

And then we have the March 24, 1938 article from the Observer where Japan denies that Japanese forces were responsible before April 2, 1938 article by The Tablet is even published.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

I'm probably mistaken, but something seems wrong with this story. According to Wertz's story: "On 9 October 1937 the Japanese conquered the city of Zhengding where Bishop Schraven was responsible for the protection of some 4,000 refugees, mostly women and children. As the soldiers plundered the city, they killed and raped at will. At length, the Japanese authorities demanded that Bishop Schraven hand over some women to fill the soldiers’ need for “comfort”, in other words, to serve as sex slaves. The bishop refused." As the soldiers were plundering, killing and raping "at will", why would they suddenly bother to stop and ask permission?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

"why would they suddenly bother to stop and ask permission?"

Because the Japanese wanted the group of girls who had sought sanctuary at the church, who were apart from the women elsewhere in the city who were being raped. Since they were girls, they were probably valuable as sex slaves to be deployed at the various Japanese government brothels.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

If this is true then it's right up there with the American atrocity in My Lai. Very few, if any, can claim the high moral ground when talking about war.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Zootmoney - tension was already high between Japan and some western countries and most officers had orders to try to avoid incidents with western people. Obviously these orders was only as good as the respect of the officers.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Zootmoney,

Why say "According to Wertz's story"

"As the soldiers plundered the city, they killed and raped at will. At length, the Japanese authorities demanded that Bishop Schraven hand over some women to fill the soldiers’ need for “comfort”, in other words, to serve as sex slaves. The bishop refused."

When Googling these sentences shows they only occur in one person's blog?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Didn't the Bishop's Chinese girls get raped anyway?

The 200 girls were among around 5,000 people who had sought refuge at Schraven's bishopric soon after the start of the the Sino-Japanese war.

So who were the other 4,800? guerrilla fighters? If they weren't girls they must have been men. It seems like there's more to this story than we're being told.

The 200 were just the ones the Japanese wanted. They didn't want just anybody.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As the soldiers were plundering, killing and raping "at will", why would they suddenly bother to stop and ask permission?

Indeed. And why were the Chinese missionaries spared if the soldiers were killing "at will?" And why would the Japanese attend the Requiem Mass for the Western missionaries that were killed? And why does the Catholic Herald maintain that Chinese bandits killed the bishop and the other Western missionaries on the 26th of November, even after it was disclosed, according to The Tablet, that Manchu or Korean soldiers from the IJA supposedly killed them? Why does the Hague, according to the New York Times dispatch of November 23, 1937, confirm that the murder of Bishop Schraven was by "bandits?"

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@japanesereds

May Lai was beyond horrific, but the Nanjing Massacre was by far the worst of them all - both in scale and barbarity. The IJA were performing abortions on pregnant women just to enslave them. Words cannot even begin to describe the atrocity.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Who says the soldiers plundered the city, killed and raped at will?

One person's blog.

About as reliable as 1930s newspaper reports thousands of miles from China.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Any chance of this making the news in Japan outside of these websites?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As usual, the revisionists did not waste time insinuating that the Imperial army would be innocent, but the question of whether the bishop was killed by Japanese soldiers had been studied for many years and had apparently been settled.

Hermans, who has conducted two investigations in China, presented his findings at a Beijing symposium three years ago.

Chinese official archives have very little information on Bishop Schraven, since a lot of historical materials disappeared in China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Fortunately, “many documents about the massacre could be found in European archives, such as the French and Dutch foreign ministries,” he said.

Then, according to Hermans, a crucially important letter was found in the Vatican’s secret archives last year. A Japanese colonel wrote to the papal representative in Beijing at that time: “They died as martyrs for their missionary ideal.”

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Even the Japanese military who killed them, admitted their guilt, yet people insist on revisionism.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Since the Chinese missionaries survived, I'm going to assume that the initial reports of Chinese bandits came from the Chinese missionaries.

According that sentence, Chinese Christian missionaries were murderers and rapists unlike J imperial soldiers who were pure and clean as Snow White in back in 1937.

In my humble logic, Chinese bandits interest is money. Japanese imperial soldiers interest is pleasure with girls. There were 200 girls who had sought refuge at Schraven bishopric. Getting money, Bandits had to kidnap Bishop for getting their ransom money.

Representing Bishop ashes will not get any meaningful return for Chinese bandits effort. Imagine someone asked the ransom money, the hostage needed to be alive and well. Who will pay the ransom for ashes of hostage?

Another thing is Bandit were poorer than Imperial Army which had many supply of petrol an cars. More likely Bandits used donkeys for coming to Church. If they could afford to buy petrol back then, they were rich bandits.

In my conclusion, Illustration of Bishop was burned alive by Chinese bandits is very weak. It is lacking the motive of murder. Most of Chinese bandits were not dare to punished by Japanese soldiers. Unlike Japanese army, their gang should be not more than a dozen people. Unlike Japanese army, they treasured the petrol as Gold.

The Sainthood for Schraven has been long overdue. He was a martyr like Son of God and his sacrifice should be honored and appreciated.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Then, according to Hermans, a crucially important letter was found in the Vatican's secret archives last year. A Japanese colonel wrote to the papal representative in Beijing at that time: "They died as martyrs for their missionary ideal."

There's no name given for the Japanese colonel and no copy of the letter. Was it written in Chinese, Japanese, English or some other language? Who was in charge of raiding the mission building? The Tablet states:

On October 7th and 8th, the mission buildings of Chengtinfu had been bombarded and raided by Manchu or Korean soldiers of the Japanese army.

Was the letter written by a Manchu or Korean in the IJA? And how is the sentence, "They died as martyrs for their missionary ideal" an admission of guilt? It doesn't state who killed them.

Fortunately, "many documents about the massacre could be found in European archives, such as the French and Dutch foreign ministries," he said.

If that's the case, why did the Hague, according to the New York Times dispatch of November 23, 1937, confirm that the murder of Bishop Schraven was by "bandits?" Too many questions and not enough answers.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Bishop Frans Schraven is a hero. I hope that he is beatified.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Indeed, he was a very brave man

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

After reading many posts here , I am still not sure "who did it" ? During the Vietnam war ,the VC did so many horrible crimes but always promptly put all the blames on the South VN army or the Americans. But one thing certain is that Bishop Schraven and 8 other priest were truly "good shepherd " and not hireling, according to my understanding of John 10: 11,12.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

chucky: "Even the Japanese military who killed them, admitted their guilt, yet people insist on revisionism."

Absolutely dumbfounding, isn't it? But people like Abe call these men seeking retribution "old people with hazy memories" while he who was never there (while his relatives were committing war crimes) knows better. You have a woman raped who seeks acknowledgement, you have a man who did such things seeking forgiveness, and you have a Japanese politician seeking to bury it all under the guise of 'seeking peace'.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

In my humble logic, Chinese bandits interest is money.

That didn't stop them from killing Fr. Gratian Leonardelli.

The body of Fr. Gratian Leonardelli, the twenty-five-year-old Franciscan missionary kidnapped and killed by Communist brigands last July, has been recovered by his fellow missionaries and brought back to Kichow.

http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/26th-november-1937/15/kidnapped-killed-the-martyr-of-mo-si-ho

Also we have a report from 1929 where Chinese bandits took away the Western missionary but left behind his Chinese servants.

MISSIONARY MURDERED by Chinese Brigands.

Dr. J. J. Kitchen, home director for Australia of the China Inland Mission, has received a radiogram from China announcing the murder of Mr. Douglas F. Pike of the Mission.

Mr. Pike was taken captive by brigands in the province of Kweichow on September 14, and nothing had since been heard of him. He had been escorting two younger missionaries to the Mission in the south of the province, and while returning, was hailed by a number of men who signalled their approach by a volley of bullets. Mr. Pike got off his horse. The robbers stripped him of most of his clothing and led him away. His Chinese servants, who desired to follow him, were turned back, and not permitted to do so.

There were many instances of Chinese bandits killing Christian missionaries during the 1920's and 30's.

In my conclusion, Illustration of Bishop was burned alive by Chinese bandits is very weak.

There are no accounts of anyone having seen them being burned alive. Bishop Schraven and the other missionaries were taken away at night and not seen again until their bodies were discovered one month later. There are no autopsy reports with respect to any of the bodies. For all we know they could have been shot and their bodies set on fire afterwards.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

It would seem very clear to me that things are not very clear here.

And yet we have a whole bunch of people spouting off.

It's the Internet. Not to be taken very seriously.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It would seem very clear to me that things are not very clear here.

If the Chinese missionaries that were with Bishop Schraven had seen Japanese soldiers take Schraven away, why would there even be any mention of Chinese bandits at all? After all, the Chinese missionaries were the only witnesses to the kidnapping.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

HERE WE go!!! Religion and Politics mixed with sex!!!

First of all read what the witness accounts were!!! this is what "Schraven the Saint to be asked for"

According to witness accounts, when Japanese troops came to ask for the girls, Schraven said: “You can kill me if you want but you will never get what you ask for.”

Therefore Schraven asked to be killed, he had a choice! He asked for death, it is what it is!!! In no way am I agreeing with what the J-troops did, but he had a choice! He choice is "FATE" FOR FAITH and again I am ONLY GOING BY WHAT I AM READING FROM the quote according to WITNESSES ACCOUNTS".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

House Atreides: "There were many instances of Chinese bandits killing Christian missionaries during the 1920's and 30's."

And there were many, many more instances of Japanese Imperial Troops kidnapping, raping, and torturing women, as well as vivisection while the 'patient' was still alive, experimentation, use of chemical weapons, etc. The difference is, YOU choose to deflect by pointing out instances in which the nations brutalized had a few 'bandits' that did wrong, instead of seeing the forest for the trees. Do you honestly believe Japan did no wrong?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

According to The Tablet, it was determined by the 17th of November that Japanese forces were responsible

That's weird considering that the Japanese government weren't even sure of who the responsible parties were up until late November.

十一月末日迄ノ所何等情報ナキ趣ナリ http://yokohama-yamate.jp/ksy/mofa1937p.329-330.html

On Feb of 1938, the French Church Bulletin indicated the following. (Please note that there was a joint correspondence between French and Japan in regards to the incident)

http://yokohama-yamate.jp/ksy/GallicaBibliothequeNumerique-EglisedeRouenetduHavre1938.02.26(A37,N9).pdf

"Au moment où le calme et la confiance renaissent, une bande de soldats armés, menaçants, irréguliers coréens ou mand- chous sans doute, surgit tout à coup et emmène, dans la nuit, mains liées, yeux bandés, Monseigneur Schraven.."

Band of armed Korean or Manchu irregular soldiers.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

I think Smith has a point. Media in those days suffered from the same problems as todays media, namely how to get credible information about something. If there were no eyewitness and no Japanese troops from that time stepped forward and claimed the responsibility it is still more likely that it was Japanese troops who killed them, simply because that happens a lot in most battle tired armies. Former Yuguslavia showed similar atrocities only about 20-25 years ago. Thus it will never be a fact but it could be what we hold as the best knowledge until it is challenged and replaced by better information and analysis. Potential facts that somehow gets elevated to untouchability will always be bad for everyone.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I tried searching on today's "Osservatore Romano" , but found nothing. I couldn't find the original news either..maybe it was published in the Netherlands?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

nigelboy: "Band of armed Korean or Manchu irregular soldiers."

Yeah, because both you and the reporters were there at the time, as well as all the other atrocities the IJT committed and have been confessed to by people that were there and did it. That's why Japan will be told continually by Asian nations and even Germany and the US that they need to be sincere in atoning for their atrocities, and until then remain a detriment to peace in the region.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Yeah, because both you and the reporters were there at the time, as well as all the other atrocities the IJT committed and have been confessed to by people that were there and did it. That's why Japan will be told continually by Asian nations and even Germany and the US that they need to be sincere in atoning for their atrocities, and until then remain a detriment to peace in the region.

Smith. We're talking about this particular incident. Basically, your assumption is that since IJA have committed crimes in other areas, we must conclude that they are responsible for this incident as well despite the primary reporting (at that time) indicate otherwise.

House Atredeis took the time to research on the subject to get a full grasp and yet people like you are quick to dismiss them simply because it would be just easier to blame the IJA. Why not? It fits the narrative of "IJA was bad" so why dispute them.

-4 ( +8 / -11 )

nigelboy: "Smith. We're talking about this particular incident. Basically, your assumption is that since IJA have committed crimes in other areas, we must conclude that they are responsible for this incident as well despite the primary reporting (at that time) indicate otherwise"

The primary reporting... from what, 1938 or something? It is astounding that you will call that proof of fact when insist that things like Nanjing be forgotten because it was 'so long ago'.

"House Atredeis took the time to research on the subject to get a full grasp..."

Ummm, no, he looked at a few blogspot posts. Buddy, you need to admit Japan did some bad things. The sooner you do, the sooner your soul can be soothed. The more you deny, the more you are damned. Not saying you did it, not at all, obviously you were never there and cannot possibly deny the people who were there and whom accounted for what happened as you claim to do, just saying you might want to heed your own 'admit it and move on' advice.

This is yet another example of the past in which Imperial Japan raped and murdered and burned people, but I think what's sadder is that it's another example in which people in the present deny it happened. Way to go, nigelboy.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

The primary reporting... from what, 1938 or something? It is astounding that you will call that proof of fact when insist that things like Nanjing be forgotten because it was 'so long ago'.

Never stated so. In fact, I've used the 1937-38 source primarily to conclude my position on Nanking instead of some memories or unverfiable testimonies XXX years after the fact. You must confuse me with another poster.

Ummm, no, he looked at a few blogspot posts. Buddy, you need to admit Japan did some bad things. The sooner you do, the sooner your soul can be soothed. The more you deny, the more you are damned. Not saying you did it, not at all, obviously you were never there and cannot possibly deny the people who were there and whom accounted for what happened as you claim to do, just saying you might want to heed your own 'admit it and move on' advice.

Chanet, Aube, nor Van Leeuw were never witnesses. Joseph Chow Chih-yi was but in his testimony, he stated "Band of armed Korean or Manchu irregular soldiers" on November 15th as linked earlier. Somehow, it's changed to "Japanese soldiers".

This is yet another example of the past in which Imperial Japan raped and murdered and burned people, but I think what's sadder is that it's another example in which people in the present deny it happened. Way to go, nigelboy.

And you are more than happy to accept the "revised" version XX years after the incident. So who is the "revisionist"?

-5 ( +8 / -12 )

As a foreigner, I will always love Japan, what happened in past should not affect the future of Japan, only thing I see is that Church is one of most famous child molesters ,and lots of pedophiles are hiding behind their church cloaks , and now they want to wash their reputation with " saint of all abuse victims ", how sarcastic .

-6 ( +5 / -10 )

And there were many, many more instances of Japanese Imperial Troops kidnapping, raping, and torturing women, as well as vivisection while the 'patient' was still alive, experimentation, use of chemical weapons, etc.

So how many other cases do we have where the perpetrators are initially described as Chinese bandits only to find out later that the IJA did it? How many instances do we have where the Japanese attend Requiem Mass for those they've just killed? The problem here is Bishop Schraven and the Western missionaries were the only ones taken away. The Chinese missionaries were untouched. That sounds more like the modus operandi ascribed to Chinese bandits.

smithinjapan: Ummm, no, he looked at a few blogspot posts.

That's a flat out lie but not surprising. I went through the articles from The Tablet, The Catholic Herald, The Observer and The New York Times. None of them could be considered blogspot posts. I've even included the links to the articles. smithinjapan just recycles the same old same old.

Yeah, because both you and the reporters were there at the time, as well as all the other atrocities the IJT committed and have been confessed to by people that were there and did it.

Sure. And if the facts were reversed and the initial reports stated that the Japanese army had taken away Schraven, instead of Chinese bandits, there's no doubt you would be in full support of the reporters. So where did the reporters get the idea that Chinese bandits carted off Schraven and the others? Did they just make it up? Or might they have asked the only witnesses to the kidnapping, namely the Chinese missionaries, who told them that Chinese bandits took away Schraven and the other men.

What we do know is that Bishop Schraven was kidnapped on or about the night of October 9 and the bodies of the missionaries were not found until November 12. Schraven and the others were missing for more than a month. As to the perpetrators, we have reports of Chinese bandits, Manchu and Korean regulars in the IJA and Manchu and Korean irregulars/possibly bandits. There are a ton of questions and not enough answers.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The listed URL's were very interesting, thank you MC HA NB. The odd thing was a lack a mention of the refugees except by the Japanese Catholic Church mag [http://www.cathoshin.com/2013/04/11/schrave/]

Looking for a source for the story I could find this "anonymous" publication online: http://www.mgrschraven.nl/PDF/The%20drama%20of%20Zhending.pdf

The first half is mostly a simple recounting of events which are otherwise verifiable:

On the 15th of November, Msgr. De Vienne, with the Japanese priest Taguchi and the Japanese Staff Major Yokoyama and a photographer, went to Zhending. Based on facts, Yokoyama was convinced that the Japanese army was involved in this case. On request of the commander Yokoyama, a solemn memorial service was held in the cathedral on the 22nd of November at 10 o’clock in the morning.

. The Japanese army would rise a monument, dedicated to the memory of the victims of 9 October 1937, with the text: “Animas suas posuerunt pro avibus suis”. ( They gave their life for their sheep.)

Then the second half begins like this:

Many years, one was not sure about the motive for the murder. After all, the leading actors in this drama were all murdered and unable to tell about it. The last years, many puzzle pieces felt together and the motive became clear. The following was found:

And then begins the story described in the above article. The author directly quotes some priests and diplomats, but there are no references. Perhaps the Swedish and Dutch embassies and religious groups will eventually provide the documents which the anonymous author was able to reference. Judging from the English it would seem that the anonymous author is Chinese, and judging from the content, that he or she is Christian.

Regardless of the accuracy of the story behind the beatification, it would seem certain to improve relations between the Catholic Church and the Chinese Communist Party. Up to 1.3 billion souls could become eligible for salvation.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Bad reporting at its finest I see... oh well, I'm gonna move along then.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Catholic Church isn't much these days, weakened by scandal and eroded by liberal influence. Refreshing to see an example of a priest who wasn't afraid to see his duty to the end. Should be an example to everyone.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

No doubt Schraven was courageous and a hero.

As usual, the spin continues saying (it was not me) or (not so many victims, we couldn't be that inhuman). .

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Here is the URL of the page prepared by the Msgr. Schraven Foundation in the Netherlands: http://www.mgrschraven.nl/gezellengb.html Here is the source document referenced from that page covering the Zhending incident including the murder of the nine priests: [1] http://www.mgrschraven.nl/PDF/The%20drama%20of%20Zhending.pdf

This document [1] fits the churches needs for a document about belief, although it is not really suitable as a legal document. But that's OK because the business of the church is belief, not law. Father Masakatsu Fukamizu, 74, from Tokyo archdiocese, went to the Msgr. Schraven Foundation in the Netherlands in October 2013 representing his archdiocese, along with Chinese Archbishop Savio Hon, to commemorate the events described in [1]. http://www.ucanews.com/news/remembering-ni...-in-china/62106

It is a beautiful thing to see Father Masakatsu Fukamizu go to this event. As a man of the church he need not be concerned with the exact events, only about belief, and about feelings. And then he can heal the wounds as a Samurai of Peace with a sword of love. If only everybody was like him we could finally achieve World Peace, today.

Now for a change of tempo read this article in this Hing Kong Catholic online newspaper: http://sundayex.catholic.org.hk/node/1264

UCA News reported on March 28 that although there was an angry reaction to the canonisation of the Chinese Martyrs back in 2000, as they had mostly been murdered during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and were seen as having supported foreign imperialism, because Bishop Schraven and his Companions were murdered by the Japanese, it is not expected to ruffle any Beijing feathers.

The Hong Kong-based news agency quoted Father Joseph Cheng, from Zhengding, as saying, 'Their killing had nothing to do with the Chinese people.' He added that that their beatification may also be good ammunition for Beijing to use against the Japanese in the current relationship freeze over disputed territories.

"Ammunition"... really Father Cheng, how could you? "Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war ....".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

15 Good Bad banz10JAN. 07, 2014 - 09:04AM JST but but but,,, Japan were liberators!>

To be fair, I've heard plenty of Chinese roll out that line in relation to the People's Liberation Army and Tibet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese are barbarians ! Inhuman !

-11 ( +0 / -10 )

Corrected for you?

Japanese WERE barbarians.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Several years back, I watched an NHK documentary that interviewed some old soldiers from the war era. Some of the soldiers told how they 'refused' to 'obey orders' and use a comfort woman, when they saw them tied down, and a long line of soldiers standing outside the hut she was forced to be in. They were punished by being given various duties such as toilet duty, demoted or other punishment. But regardless, they still felt they were right to disobey such disgusting orders. Some of those same soldiers still shed tears for those women.

Today, Japan is a very different nation and mindset, and to call them "barbarians" now, is just ignorance.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well, Chinese backed propaganda I suppose.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

hkitagawa: "Well, Chinese backed propaganda I suppose."

It always is when you cannot accept the facts, isn't it? And your comment isn't Japanese propaganda?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The more J apologists and revisionists deny about the J imperial army atrocities, the more Japan will be demanded by offended Asians for facing the truth. A nation can not be honest about the past will get the embarrassment at the present and there will be no hope for better future.

Japan has not the healed the old wound of unpleasant past. The reason is white washing, denying and manipulating history with nationalistic agenda.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Bishop Wiertz “suggests that he be considered as the patron saint of victims of sexual abuse”?

Either the "church" has an odd sense of humor or the Bishop hasn't been reading the papers since 2002 when the story of an organized and shielded pedophile ring of priests was released.

It seems mock piety to now suggest a saint of victims of sexual abuse while the church has yet to answer and reveal the depth and breath of its own long list of victims of sexual abuse.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan has not the healed the old wound of unpleasant past. The reason is white washing, denying and manipulating history with nationalistic agenda.

This is basically China and SK's position.

However Japan supporters here will say Japan's list of past apologies means China and SK both need to shut up.

As long as the likes of Abe, Ishihara, Hashimoto, and Tamogami continue to downplay or outright deny past history, they will never be embraced by the rest of Asia the way Germany is embraced by the rest of Europe.

What is mind-boggling is that Japan has NOTHING to lose by admitting ALL atrocities of the distant past. Why they can't bring themselves to do this is beyond me. National pride maybe..

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

After reading the comments and the different news reports from the time, it seems not at all 100% clear the Japanese Army did this. (Am I missing something?).

As we all know, it would not be a great surprise if the Japanese would have done this, but I'd like to know the facts. Also, this took place in North China, not Nanjing, where the IJA had much stricter rules, and (although this might surprise some people) actually did enforce and convict Japanese soldiers if they killed or raped Chinese women.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Ishiwara "I'd like to know the facts"

One account from eyewitness John Rabe was a German businessman who had resided in China since 1908. He represented the China branch of the Siemens Company and lived in Nanking at the time of the Japanese invasion.

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/nanking.htm

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here why they need to make him now the saint , its because of the huge number of pedophiles are in the Catholic church , check how UN is questioning Vatican of hiding mass reports of child abuse by the Christian priest , bishops and others from church , hundreds of kids were exploited by them http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/world/europe/un-sex-abuse-panel-questions-vatican-officials.html?_r=0 , so much for Christian moral .

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

A BISHOP MURDERED BY CHINESE BANDITS

Eight missionary workers in the Far East, including a bishop, Mgr. Francis Hubert Schraven, are now officially reported as having been murdered. These victims were kidnapped last month by Chinese bandits at Chengting. Note of their murder has now been conveyed to their families. Mgr. Schraven, and two others of the murdered band, were Dutchmen. and there were two Frenchmen. also among the victims. The murdered bishop was a Lazarist. He was raised to the episcopate in 1920, as titular Bishop of Amyclae, and was consecrated in the cathedral at Chengtingfu in the following year. <http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/26th-november-1937/15/a-bishop-murdered-by-chinese-bandits>

Who is spreading a propaganda?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think there could be many wartime cases in which Japan has been falsely charged because of CCP and S.Korea's postwar anti-Japanese propaganda, like this case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can not find any commander named YOKOHAMA in Japanese imperial army of that period. The newspaper of 2 April 1938 need to be checked at least.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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