China News Analysis

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Birmingham, Alan, 1911-1991, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/642
  • Person
  • 02 January 1911-03 October 1991

Born: 02 January 1911, Ballinrobe, County Mayo
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 13 May 1942, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 08 December 1976
Died: 03 October 1991, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

by 1937 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - Regency

Second World War Chaplain

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Alan Birmingham, S.J.
Former editor of “Sunday Examiner” dies in Hong Kong
R.I.P.

Father Alan Birmingham, a long-time editor of the “Sunday Examiner” died here after a brief illness on 3 October 1991.

Father Birmingham, a Jesuit, had lived in Hong Kong for almost 50 years, having first arrived here in November 1936.

Born in Co. Mayo, Ireland, in 1911, he joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1928 after secondary school and went on to take an honours degree in mathematics in the National University of Ireland.

After his arrival in Hong Kong in 1936 he studied Cantonese and then taught for a year in Wah Yan College, then in Robinson Road, before returning to Ireland a few months before the outbreak of the Second World War to complete his Jesuit training.

Ordained a priest in Dublin on 13 May 1942, he became a Catholic chaplain, with the rank of Captain, in the wartime British Army, thus delaying his return to Hong Kong.

Having served in England and Northern Ireland, he was assigned to land with the Allied forces sea and air assault on the north coast of France on “D-Day”, 6 June 1944.

He afterwards said that his main task on those fateful first days ashore was burying the dead on the beaches where they had landed.

He stayed with his soldiers in France, Belgium and finally Germany until mid-August 1945.

He was then re-assigned to India from where he was “demobbed” (returned to civilian life) in October 1946.

After returning to Hong Kong in February 1948, he was sent for some months to Canton (Guangzhou) where a Jesuit colleague, Father John Turner, was lecturing at Chung Shan University.

That summer he moved back to Hong Kong, becoming a professor of Dogmatic Theology and later of Sacred Scripture at the then Regional Seminary in Aberdeen where Chinese priests from many dioceses in South China received their professional training. He held these posts for nine years.

During those years he also lectured briefly on philosophy and English literature at the University of Hong Kong.

In 1957, he was appointed editor of the “Sunday Examiner.” He was by far the longest-serving editor of the paper, remaining in the position for 33 years until his 80th birthday on 2 January this year.

On the death of Father Fergus Cronin SJ, Father Alan took over as rector of the busy Catholic Centre Chapel.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 9 November 1990

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
Having graduated from UCD with an Honours degree in Mathematics he was sent to Hong Kong in 1936.
He studied Cantonese in Hong Kong and then did some years of teaching in Wah Yan Hong Kong.

After Ordination in 1942 he was appointed Catholic Chaplain with the rank of Captain in the wartime British Army. He was assigned to land with the Allied force on “D-Day”, June 6th 1944. He remained with his soldiers in France, Belgium and finally Germany until mid August 1945. He was then reassigned to India until October 1946, when he returned to civilian life.

He returned to Hong Kong in February 1948and took up a post as Professor of Dogmatic Theology, and later Scripture at the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen. He also lectured in Philosophy and English Literature at the University of Hong Kong.

He was the Editor of the “Sunday Examiner” for almost 33 years (1957-1991). For more than twenty years he edited the English writings of László Ladányi in the “China News Analysis”. He also celebrated Mass regularly at St Joseph’s Church on Garden Road for over thirty years.

Brady, Peter, 1926-2007, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/719
  • Person
  • 01 July 1926-22 October 2007

Born: 01 July 1926, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1944, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1958, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1962
Died: 22 October 2007, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Part of the Milltown Park, Dublin community at the time of death.

Transcribed HIB to HK : 01 January 1968; HK to CHN : 1992

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

by 1954 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Scholar and missionary to Hong Kong dies in homeland
Father Peter Brady
R.I.P.

Father Peter Brady of the Society of Jesus, died peacefully in Ireland on 23 October 2007 at the age of 81. A published writer and a teacher of ethics, he first set foot in Hong Kong in 1952, finally returning to Ireland in 2001.

Born on 1 July 1926, Father Brady joined the Jesuits in 1944, and earned a bachelors’ degree in philosophy at University College Dublin. He then came on mission to Hong Kong in 1952, where he spent two years studying Chinese and another year teaching at Wah Yan College, Wanchai.

Returning to Milltown Park, Ireland, he studied theology and was ordained on 31 July 1958. Two years later he arrived back in Hong Kong and took up the post of assistant to the editor of China News Analysis while continuing his Chinese studies. From 1961 to 1962 he lectured on the history of philosophy and sociology at the Holy Spirit Seminary College in Aberdeen before heading for Melbourne, Australia, for a year to work on his masters degree in modern philosophy.

Upon his return to Hong Kong, Father Brady taught philosophy at the seminary as well as ethics at Wah Yan College in Kowloon.

Ethics would become his life’s work and he taught the subject at Wah Yan, until 1973, then subsequently at the seminary from 1973 to 1996.

He wrote and published several books which were also translated into Chinese: Practical Ethics (1970), Love and Life (1979), Introduction to Natural Family Planning (1980), Medical Ethics (1983) and Ethics (2001), as well as textbooks on ethics for secondary schools.

In later years Father Brady worked on weekends at St. Joseph’s Church in Central, where he made many friends. He had a great sense of humour and was loved by everybody.

In 2001, poor health saw him returning to Ireland where he stayed at a nursing home for Jesuits. He enjoyed receiving visitors from Hong Kong and kept up-to-date on the territory through the weekly editions of the Sunday Examiner.

A memorial Mass was celebrated for him at Ricci Hall Chapel on 10 November 2007.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 11 November 2007

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He joined the Society of Jesus in 1944. After the usual Jesuit studies graduating BA at UCD and then studying Philosophy, he was then sent to Hong Kong in 1952.

1952-1955 he began studding Chinese for two years before spending a year teaching at Wah Yan College Hong Kong.
1955-1958 He was back in Ireland and Milltown Park, studying Theology and he was Ordained in 1958.
1960-1962 He returned to Hong Kong and took up a post as Assistant to the Editor of the China News Analysis, as well as continuing to study Chinese. He was then appointed to the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen as a Lecturer in the History of Philosophy and Sociology.
1962-1963 He went to Australia where he graduated MA in Modern Philosophy (at Campion College, Kew, Australia)
1963 Returning to Hong Kong, he lectured at the Seminary in Aberdeen, and at the same time he was teaching Ethics at Wah Yan Kowloon (1965-1973).

According to Freddie Deignan : “During that time Peadar wrote and published several books which were translated into Chinese : “Practical Ethics” (1970); textbooks on Ethics for Secondary Schools : “Love and Life (1979), “Natural Family Planning” (1980), “Medical Ethics” (1983), and “Ethics” (2001). He also wrote many articles on sexual ethics and natural family planning for CMAC. In his latter years he loved his weekend apostolae at St Joseph’s Church, where he made many friends. he had a great sense of humour and was loved by everybody.

Due to ill health he left Hong Kong and went to Ireland in 2001, where he lived at the Jesuit nursing him in Cherryfield Lodge.

Ladányi, László, 1914-1990, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1553
  • Person
  • 14 January 1914-23 September 1990

Born: 14 January 1914, Diósgyőr, Borsod, Miskolc, Hungary
Entered: 30 July 1936, Hungariae Province (HUN)
Ordained: 08 June 1946, Shanghai, China
Professed: 15 August 1952
Died: 23 September 1990, Canossa Hospital, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Part of the Ricci Hall, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed HUN to ExOr; Applied ExOR to HK 1950
by 1949 came to Ricci Hall, Hong Kong (HIB) working 1949-1967

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Veteran China Watcher
Father Laszlo Ladányi Dies

Father Laszlo Ladányi S.J., veteran China watcher died of lung cancer on 23 September 1990 at the Canossa Hospital, Hong Kong, aged 76 years.

Laszlo Ladányi was born in Hungary in 1914. He later graduated from the University of Budapest and he also received training in the violin at the Music Academy in Budapest. He entered the Society of Jesus at the age of 22 and arrived in Beijing, China in 1939. He was later transferred to Shanghai where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1946. In mid 1949, Fr. Ladányi came to Hong Kong and was appointed chaplain to university students at the Ricci Hall.

In 1953 Fr. Ladányi founded the China News Analysis (CNA) in Hong Kong, a weekly and later a fortnightly newsletter. Ever since then, he worked as Editor to this publication for the following 30 years. The main purpose of the CNA is to keep missionary circles informed of Mainland China’s developments. The CNA is widely subscribed by those who are interested in the Mainland China affairs.

In 1982, the editorship of the China News Analysis was passed over to the present team of Jesuit priests, but Fr. Ladnay was still deeply engaged in his China studies up to the time he was admitted to Hospital last month.

The funeral took place at 10am on 26 September with a Mass of the Resurrection concelebrated by his Jesuit confreres and friends at St. Margaret’s Church, Happy Valley, Hong Kong. He was buried in the St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 5 October 1990

In Memory of Father Laszlo Ladany, S.J.
R.I.P.

On 23 September 1990, 9:35am, our beloved Father Ladányi left this world. My mother phoned me from Hong Kong, weeping, and informed me about his death. As soon as the news came, the Chinese Catholics in America passed the information round and all expressed their affection and remembrance of him, as well as their sorrow and prayer for him…

Father Ladányi was a Hungarian, ordained priest in China in 1946. When he was a missionary in China, he already had deep love for China. After mainland China was taken over by the Communists, he was expelled and sent to Hong Kong. He always wanted to be near China and so he stayed in Hong Kong and began his work there. Diligently, spending 40 years as one day, he studied the problem of China with total dedication. In this way, he worked silently for the Church in China to the end of his life.

He was an outstanding political observer. He had a unique understanding of the problem of China. No one could match him for penetrating understanding, foresight, the depth and width of his study in the problem of China. He was a gifted writer, scholar and commentator. He wrote many analyses about China and the present and past situation of the Church in China. His sources made his information very accurate, looking at the question from every angle and written with simple precision so that his Analysis became an essential source of information for others and had much authority. All the Embassies bought and used his China News Analysis for reference. Libraries throughout the world have his writings, which are of the greatest historical value.

But, we are not only commemorating his outstanding work or his life, but paying tribute to his heart which really understood, loved and sympathised with the Church in China - this heart was precious as gold and as bright and crystal-clear as water. This is what we most cherish today and find most worthy of remembrance. His clear and firm stand-point and views always harmonised with the spirit of the faithful Church in China. His sense of Justice, experience and solid knowledge of the facts, moved him to speak from a sense of Justice. He never left anything unsaid which he knew could be said and he always said everything without fear of human respect. He worked with dedication and spoke up for the faithful Church in China. His heart beat as one with the faithful Church in China. He was the intimate companion of the faithful Church in China, and the good understanding teacher and friend of the faithful Church in China.

In the 1950’s the Catholic Church in mainland China was severely crushed. Bishop Kung of Shanghai was arrested. Many priests and Catholics were imprisoned. Only a few Catholic had the chance to flee abroad. It was he, the good shepherd, who organised these exiled sheep, cared for them, gave them guidance in their spiritual life and helped them to keep their faith. When the Trappist Monastery in Yang Jai-ping was persecuted, some of the monks fled to Hong Kong. It was he, their spiritual brother, who consoled them and later helped them to build the monastery and restore their community life.

When my younger sister became very sick in Shanghai Prison, she was allowed to leave the prison for medical treatment and died a year later. It was father Ladányi who crossed to Kowloon during the night to console my sorrowful parents. It was he who always opened wide his arms to embrace with affection the suffering Chinese Catholics. In his simple office, he used to talk intimately with these exiled faithful so that they might enjoy the warmth of a family spirit.

When I arrived Hong Kong in 1979, I carried within myself all the wounds as well as a loving memory of the faithful Church in China. He said to me; “Write it down! Write it down as soon as possible!” I said reluctantly, “I have been imprisoned for so long, I don’t know how to write freely. Also, I have no experience in writing.” He said very earnestly: “Write! When you begin to write, as you go along, you will discover how to write!” So with his encouragement, I finished writing the book entitled “Catholic Children in the Labour Camp” within half a year.

I visited him in his office a number of times, listening to all he had to say. He spoke Mandarin perfectly, sometimes mixed with a few sentences of Cantonese. There was no difference of nationality between us. Sometimes when I saw him two hands trembling because of his sickness, I wanted to give him a helping hand but he always made every effort to arrange everything himself. Sometimes when I saw his desk was in disorder and wanted to put in order for him, he would said, “Not necessary. I am accustomed to it.” Yes, even if your desk was disordered, this would not affect your clear mind and thinking, nor your keen eye-sight. His tall, thin frame conveyed an impression of profound wisdom. His ageing face expressed the warm affection of his heart. It would not be easy to find another good missionary like him, an understanding priest!

Good-bye, Father Ladányi! Best wishes for your journey. The memory of you will never fade from our hearts. But now, your long journey, this important long journey, has made us in this world, think so much of you and your life.

You are another Father Lebbe, the glory of missionaries. May you still continue from Heaven, to protect the Church in China. Bless our faithful brothers and sisters who are still suffering now, who are crushed to the ground and are not understood! Bless those who are exiled in other countries, waiting for the mercy of God to re-establish the Church in China.
By Ho Hoi-ling from America
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 9 November 1990

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was a scholar who published many articles and books which include :
“The Catholic Church in China” (Freedom Press, New York 1987); “The Communist Part of China and Marxism : A Self-Portrait” (Hoover Institute Press, Stanford, 1988); “Law and Legality in China : The Testament of a China-Watcher” (Hurst, London, 1992).

His books are scholarly and influential to the study of modern and contemporary China.

Note from Alan Birmingham Entry
He was the Editor of the “Sunday Examiner” for almost 33 years (1957-1991). For more than twenty years he edited the English writings of László Ladányi in the “China News Analysis”

McCarthy, Jeremias, 1894-1968, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/728
  • Person
  • 30 April 1894-27 July 1968

Born: 30 April 1894, Stourport, Worcestershire, England
Entered: 07 September 1910, Roehampton, London - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1930
Died: 27 July 1968, St Joseph’s, Robinson Road, Hong Kong - Angliae Province (ANG)

by 1926 came to Milltown (HIB) studying
by 1940 came to Hong Kong (HIB) working 1940-1967

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father McCARTHY Jeremias
R.I.P.

At noon every Saturday for the past eleven years the Editor of this paper lifted the phone and spoke for a few minutes to a voice coming from a flat in Robinson Road. On the following Monday morning with unfailing regularity a typewritten page was delivered to the Sunday Examiner office; the weekly editorial had arrived.

To the deep regret of the staff of the Sunday Examiner and of its readers this time-honoured procedure will never be repeated: for Father Jeremiah McCarthy, S.J. our editorial writer died at 2:45pm last Saturday afternoon at the age of seventy-four.

Father McCarthy was a man of many talents; a distinguished theologian, he began his missionary work in Hong Kong twenty-nine years ago as Professor of Dogmatic Theology in the Regional Seminary for South China at Aberdeen; he held a Master’s Degree in Chemistry form Oxford University and as a war-time refugee in Macao he turned his knowledge to good use by devising substitute fuels to keep the local power supply in operation.

When the war was over Father McCarthy returned to his post at the Seminary and began his connection with the Agricultural and Fisheries Department with whom he developed a method of drying and preserving fish and experimented in the increased use of natural and artificial fertilisers.

After some years in Cheung Chau Island as Superior of the Jesuit Language School he returned to Hong Kong, joined the staff of the China News Analysis and began the long association with the editorial page of this paper which despite declining health continued up to the week of his death.

Father McCarthy wrote over five hundred editorials for this paper; and as we look through the files at the variety of subjects covered we can only marvel at the range of intelligent interest of which this one man’s mind was capable. Moral, liturgical, social, political, international and local problems were subjected in turn to his keen analysis and the conclusions recorded in the elegant, economical prose of which he was a master. Freshness of approach, clarity of though and expression, and a deeply-felt sympathy for the poor, the suffering and the oppressed - these are the marks of the writer, as well as of the man and the priest, whose comments on the passing scene stamped this page with a character of its own.

The staff of the Sunday Examiner, and of the Kung Kao Po where Father McCarthy’s editorials appeared in translation, has lost a most valued and faithful collaborator and friend.

May God reward his earthly labours with the blessing of eternal refreshment, light and peace.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 2 August 1968

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He arrived in Hong Kong from the English Province in 1939 and went to teach Dogmatiuc Theology at the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen.

During WWII, as a refugee in Macau, his Masters Degree i Chemistry enabled him to devise substitute fuels to maintain the local power and water supplies going.
After the War he returned to Aberdeen and began an association with the Agriculture and Fisheries Department, developing methods of drying and preserving fish.
Later he joined “China News Analysis”, enhancing its reputation. During these years he alo wrote weekly editorials for the “Sunday Examiner”, over 500 of them, on a wide range of topics. His comments on local affairs especially were often quoted at length in the Hong Kong daily press.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947
Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

◆ Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

Fr. Jeremiah McCarthy of the Hong Kong Mission writes from the U.S.A, where he is examining possibilities of setting up an Institute of Industrial Chemistry in Hong Kong :
New York, 23rd September :
“I have spent some time at Buffalo and Boston and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Professors there were most kind, and I learnt a good deal. I expect to be here for a month or six weeks, visiting factories and Colleges in New York. I met Fr. Ingram at Boston. He was doing some work at Harvard. I have heard from several sources that he had a great reputation at Johns Hopkins. I went yesterday to the Reception for Mr. Costello at Fordham and the conferring of an Honorary Degree. Cardinal Spellman was there. In his speech Mr. Costello avoided politics, except to say that the Government would stop emigration altogether, save that they would still send priests and nuns wherever they might be required. Most of the speech was taken up with a very graceful tribute to the Society and its work. He referred to the debt of Ireland to the Society in times of persecution, and again in modern times, and hoped to see an extension of our work in schools and Colleges in Ireland. The address was broadcast”.

Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949
Fr. Jeremiah McCarthy arrived at Cobh from New York on 7th December and is spending some time in the Province, before resuming in England, his study of technological institutes, prior to his return to Hong Kong.

Irish Province News 43rd Year No 4 1968
Obituary :
Fr Jeremias McCarthy SJ (1893-1968)
Fr. Jeremias McCarthy, a member of the English Province who to the joy and lasting advantage of all Jesuits working in Hong Kong was ascribed to the Irish Province in 1939 for work in Hong Kong, died in Hong Kong on 27th July, aged 74.
He was born on 3rd April 1893 at Stourford, Worcestershire, where his father, a civil servant, was then stationed. Some of his early years were spent in Co. Cork, Ireland, but he returned to England and was educated at St. Francis Xavier College, Liverpool. He entered the English Province noviciate in 1910. (Two of sisters later became Columban Sisters.) After philosophy in Stonyhurst, he taught for four fondly remembered years in Beaumont. He also spent three years at Oxford, taking an M.A. degree in Chemistry and thus equipping himself for unforeseeable work, valuable but bizarre. After two years of theology in St. Bueno's, he transferred to Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained on 31st July 1926. After his tertianship he taught in various schools in the English Province for eleven years and was solemnly professed in 1930. In 1939 he applied to the General for work in a mission country and Fr. Ledochowski ascribed him to the still small Hong Kong mission in April of that year. He was warmly welcomed in Hong Kong, where several of the little band of Jesuits had known him in his scholasticate days. His unmistakable intellectual distinction and originality made him a very valuable addition to the mission; but he looked so frail that many must have wondered how long he could stand up to the strain imposed by the Hong Kong summers. He was thin, looked older than his years and was bent forward by a spinal affliction. Time was to show that this apparent physical frailty was largely an illusion. He may have suffered but he made no show of it. For almost three decades he was to labour at an astonishing variety of tasks, defying not only the Hong Kong summer, but the hardships of the Japanese capture and occupation of the colony and, in his last years, a complication of organic ills. Three days before his death he was still vigorously doing work that would have appalled many a younger man. For his first three years in Hong Kong he taught dogmatic theology in the Regional Seminary for South China. In 1942 he went to Macao, where the Hong Kong Jesuits were opening a school for Portuguese boys whose families had fled from occupied Hong Kong. This school won a special place in Fr. McCarthy's affection : the boys were, and have always remained, grateful for the help given them in a time of great hardship. The school did not occupy all his energies. Macao, cut off from the rest of the world, was short of nearly everything, so Fr. McCarthy, the best qualified and most ingenious chemist in the territory, quickly set about providing ersatz substitutes for the ungettable imports - everything from petrol to cosmetics. As a mark of appreciation, the Governor of Macao decreed that vehicles using the evil-smelling McCarthy substitute for petrol should not pass within nose-shot of the Jesuit school. In later years new arrivals in Hong Kong would be shown a lump of the McCarthy soap substitute, hard and gritty but beyond price in days when no other soap was to be had. Morale had to be kept up in Macao, so Fr. McCarthy and the other Jesuits joined the more vigorous citizens in organising debates and lectures and helping to provide through the local press a substitute for the intellectual sustenance normally fetched from abroad. Macao in those years of isolation was a little world on its own where every local crisis and dispute was avidly discussed by the whole population. In post-war years Fr. McCarthy had an inexhaustible fund of stories of the strange doings of those days including the great debate on the use of Chinese or Western style in the rebuilding of a church lavatory, and his own five-minute suspension for publishing an article expounding the views on evolution later contained in Humani Generis - as he was leaving the episcopal chamber the bishop said “I lift the suspension”. After the war he returned for a year to his work in the seminary, after which he went to Europe for a much needed rest. He was next asked to explore the possibility of setting up an institute of industrial chemistry in Hong Kong. This scheme proved abortive, but his next venture was fruitful. At the request of the government of Hong Kong he toured Europe and America investigating methods for making compost from what is politely described as night soil. It is scarcely necessary to say that the more ribald Jesuits of the many countries he visited were less mealy-mouthed in describing this novel form of apostolate. Fr. McCarthy's rather donnish appearance and fastidious diction added to the joke.
Having completed his work on nightsoil, he was asked by the government to act as technical adviser on fish-drying part of a large-scale reorganisation of fisheries, which was one of the most valuable works undertaken by the government in its post-war effort to rebuild and enrich the life of the colony. This work brought him into close contact with probably the ablest young government servant in Hong Kong, Mr. Jack Cater, who became one of Fr. McCarthy's closest friends, visited him frequently, sought his advice on such matters as the organisation of co-operatives, and was to rank almost as chief mourner at Fr, McCarthy's funeral.
About this time Fr. McCarthy was appointed rector of the language school. Surprisingly enough this appointment did not prove altogether happy. It was known that he had been an independent minded scholastic and, though in his late fifties (and looking older), he was on terms of unforced equality with most of the younger priests in the mission; yet he found himself unable to make easy contact with those in their twenties. There was relief on both sides when his rectorship was terminated after a couple of years. On their return to Hong Kong after ordination, those who had failed to understand him in their scholastic years came to cherish his rewarding friendship.
From his earliest days in Hong Kong, he had been known as a writer of concise, lucid and pointed English. Bishop Bianchi of Hong Kong was always eager to make use of this gift, frequently asking him to draft pastorals, messages to his diocese and other important documents. The bishop always showed great trust in Fr. McCarthy's judgment knowing that this faithful scribe would nearly always convey his ideas exactly and in a form palatable to and easily assimilated by the recipients. The bishop also had the happy certainty that Fr. McCarthy would not repine if on occasion his drafts were not used.
Another seeker of his pen was Fr. (now Mgr.) C. H. Vath, then editor of the Sunday Examiner, the Hong Kong diocesan weekly. At Fr. Vath's request, Fr. McCarthy wrote a long series of articles on Christian doctrine, which were studied eagerly by teachers of religious knowledge. Fr. Vath also invited Fr. McCarthy to become the regular leader writer for the Sunday Examiner. This task out lasted Fr. Vath's editorship. For over a dozen years-right up to the last week of his life-Fr. McCarthy wrote a weekly editorial, often pungent, always carefully pondered and lucidly expressed. The secular papers frequently reproduced and commented on leaders dealing with economic or sociological topics, and echoes of these leaders could often be discerned in later discussions or in government action. At least one was quoted in the House of Commons, These leaders gave the paper an influence out of all proportion to its circulation. The McCarthy touch will be sadly missed. It will probably be impossible to find anyone able to combine the patience, readiness, skill and erudition that went into his leaders week after week, year after year.
For the last eleven years of his life he was mainly engaged in work for the China News Analysis, (the authoritative and highly expensive) weekly analysis of the Chinese Communist press and radio published by Fr. L. Ladany, a Hungarian member of the Hong Kong Vice-Province. Fr. McCarthy acted as procurator, relieved the editor of the difficulties inseparable from writing in a foreign tongue, and wrote articles based on the editor's research. This was not glamorous work - the days of the nightsoil apostolate were over but it was essential work and was done with unfailing exactness and punctuality.
The large number of religious at his funeral was a tribute to spiritual help given by Fr. McCarthy. In community life he was not ostentatiously pious, but he was exact in religious observance, as in all other things, and he was notably kind. His admirable book Heaven and his domestic exhortations were the most striking manifestations of spirituality that his fundamental reserve allowed him to make. These exhortations were revealing, deeply interesting, full, original without striving for originality and provocative of further thought. He was frequently urged to publish them, a suggestion that he seldom or never accepted. Enthusiasm for one's domestic exhortations is a tribute rarely paid in the Society. It was paid to Fr. McCarthy.
Frail as he looked, he was very seldom ill. Early this year, how ever, he had to go to hospital and was found to be suffering from grave heart trouble and certain other ills. He resumed work as soon as possible. On Thursday, 25th July, having completed a day's work, he fell and broke a thigh while saying his Rosary in his room, and it was some hours before he was able to call the attention of another member of the small community in which he lived. He was suffering grievously and an immediate operation had to be carried out, despite the precarious state of his heart. He never recovered consciousness and he died on Saturday, 27th July.
The funeral Mass was concelebrated by his Provincial, Fr. F. Cronin, his Superior, Fr. Ladany, and one of his closest friends.