Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/91

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47
THE PROVINCE OF KWANGTUNG

first established themselves. Romanist writers claim that by the end of the thirteenth century they had two churches, 6000 Christians, and a Papal Legate at Peking. But the Mission to the Kwangtung province near the end of the sixteenth century was the real effective beginning of the Romish Missions in China. Its leaders made it their aim to reach Peking by way of Nanking, and so establish themselves in touch with the Chinese Court. In this aim they were successful to a remarkable degree. But the Jesuit orders were suppressed in 1773 by Papal Bull; and ten years later the Lazarists were put in their place, in possession of all their property in China. In 1848 the Pope entrusted the care of the two provinces of Kwangtung and Kwangsi to the "Missions Étrangères de Paris."

According to a recent authoritative Catholic work (Les Missions Catholiques Françaises au XIXe Siècle), the position of these Missions in Kwangtung in 1900 may be gathered from the following figures:—1 bishop; 55 missionaries; 11 Chinese priests and 201 catechists; 1002 stations and 303 churches and chapels; 38,552 "Catholics." Adult baptisms in 1899, 2627; infant baptisms of children of Christian parents, 887; infant baptisms of children of pagans, 12,124.

These figures, especially the last, give cause for many reflections, but space will not admit of their discussion here. It does not appear exactly what is meant by "Catholics," of whom 38,552 are reckoned, and there is no distinct statement as to the number of communicants, but 51,400 "communions" are reported, though nothing is said as to frequency of participation. How far these figures are trustworthy it is difficult to judge, as the only item one can check is so ludicrously incorrect as to suggest grave doubts as to the accuracy of all. The number of "heretics and schismatics" is said to be 3200! whereas the communicants alone in the Protestant churches of Kwangtung numbered 8180 in 1893, and 17,715 in 1901.

The history of Protestant Missions in the province