Roman Catholic Archbishop Ignatius P'i Shu-shih of Mukden (Shenyan and Fengtien in Manchuria died May 16 at Mukden, according to Catholic sources. He was 81.
The prelate was consecrated archbishop of Mukden on Oct. 11. 1949, just before the break between the Vatican and the Chinese government of the late Mao Tse-tung.
The communists launched a ruthless persecution of the church at that time. Among its results were the expulsion of more than 5,000 missionaries; the arrest, imprisonment and harassment of native clergy and religious, and the forced closing of 3,932 schools, 226 hospitals, 781 dispensaries, 254 orphanages, 29 printing presses and 55 periodicals.
At the time of the Communist take over in 1949, there were more than 3 million Chinese Catholics and about 3,000 Chinese priests.
In 1951, Catholic sources reported that Archbishop P'i was arrested as an alleged "counter-revolutionary" in what was said to be a continuing crackdown on native clergy accused of loyalty to an "imperialistic" church.
In July 1957 the government formally established a Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics, which was forced to break with Rome to avoid being charged with subservience to a foreign power.
One year later Archbishop P'i was reported to have presided at a National Assembly of Patriotic Catholics, which renounced all "political and economic ties" with the Vatican.
In that same year Peking set up the nucleus of what it intended to be the hierarchly of a schismatic Chinese Catholic Church by "electing" 26 bishops and having them consecrated by Archbishop P'i without the approval of the Vatican.
Catholic sources claimed at the time that the Mukden archbishop had been brainwashed into compliance with the Peking authoritie's church policy.
Since 1962, when he was reported to have presided on the Second National Assembly of Patriotic Catholics, nothing had been heard of Archbishop P'i.
Then last February, at a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Peking, the archbishop was reported as one of 16 "representatives of religious circles" on the official list of participants. These included Christian, Buddhist and Mus the approval of the Vatican.
Archbishop P'i was born in Chaling, in the Mukden area in, 1897 and ordained to the priesthood in 1928.