Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, S.J., Bishop Emeritus of Kaohsiung (Taiwan), was born on December 3, 1923 at Puyang, Hopeh, in China. He entered the Society of Jesus on September 11, 1946 in Beijing, where on September 12, 1948 he took his first vows. He studied philosophy in the Regional Seminary of St. Joseph in Chiughsien (1944-46) and in the Jesuits’ philosophical institute in Manila (1941-51). He completed his theological studies at Bellarmine College in Baguio in the Philippines (1952-56). He was ordained a priest on March 18, 1955 in Baguio and completed the final stage of his formation in 1956-57 in Araneta Farm, Novaliches, in the Philippines.
He was appointed Director of the Chinese Section of Sacred Heart School in Cebu City in the Philippines and worked there from 1957-59.
From 1959-61 he undertook studies for a doctorate in spiritual theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
He was appointed Minister of the house and Socius of the Master of Novices at the Jesuit Novitiate in Thuduc in Vietnam and he held this position from 1961-63.
He took the four solemn vows on February 2, 1963 at Thuduc, and was appointed Master of Novices and Rector of Manresa House in Changhua, Taiwan, where he worked from 1963-70. Then he was appointed Rector of St. Ignatius High School, Taipei (1970-76).
He was elected President of the Catholic Schools’ Association in Taiwan (1972-76), and was appointed President of the Kuangchi Program Service, Taipei (1976-79).
In 1976 he was named Episcopal Vicar of Taipei, and on November 15, 1979 he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Hwalien. On February 14, 1980 he was ordained to the episcopate and took possession of the Diocese of Hwalien.
In 1981 he was elected President of the Bishops’ Commission for Evangelization within the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference (CRBC), and in the same year he was named a member of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) Office for Social Communications (1981).
In 1983, he was elected episcopal organizer of the celebrations for the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of Father Matteo Ricci in China.
In the same year, he was elected President of the FABC Office for Interreligious Dialogue and served until 1985.
From 1985-91 he was President of the FABC Office of Social Communications, and on April 7, 1987 he was elected President of the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference.
He was named a member of the Central Committee of the FABC in 1987.
On January 25, 1991 he was appointed President of the National Council of Churches in Taiwan.
On March 4, 1991 he was transferred to the Diocese of Kaohsiung and was installed there on June 17, 1991.
In 1991, he was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, in 1992 a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and in 1993 a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
He was appointed a member of the Pre-Synodal Meeting in preparation of the Special Assembly for Asia of the Synod of Bishops (1996-98).
Despite his many commitments, he has found time to translate two good books into Chinese: How To Be a Guide and Commitment and Leadership, published by Kuangchi Press. Both have become best-sellers, and the second is used in training Government leaders.
He has undertaken many tasks for the Holy See and for the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).
Besides participating in international conferences, he has taken part in many other meetings such as the visit of the Papal Legate to Taiwan and other international conferences in Taiwan.
He has always had a particular commitment to interreligious dialogue. He was elected President of the Association for Faith-Links between Chinese Religions, and he organized the visit to the Holy See of the Buddhist Master Hsing-Yun.
President of the CRCB for eleven years, he very skillfully co-ordinates the pastoral and evangelical action of the entire Catholic Church in Taiwan. In 1988, he convoked the National Symposium on Evangelization which set the directions for evangelization in the last years of the twentieth century. Recently, responding to the great changes in Taiwanese society, he has proposed for the year 2000 activities based upon the theme New Era, New Evangelization.
For all his international and national involvement, he has still managed to attend to his own Diocese in a most effective way. Thanks to his organizational ability, all the diocesan commissions and groups operate with no difficulty.
In his service of the Church, he has focused his energies on the formation in Taiwan of a well prepared laity. At the beginning of his ministry in the Diocese of Kaohsiung, the Pope named a young Taiwanese priest as his Auxiliary Bishop. Cardinal Shan named a young aboriginal priest as his Vicar General. He has established a new seminary in an isolated place to form new priests for the Church.
He is also involved in charitable works: in his Diocese he has set up the Catholic Charitable Foundation for Social Welfare, and at the national level he has promoted the creation of a Catholic Mission Foundation in Taiwan to meet the needs of Taiwanese society and to evangelize it.
The Catholic Church in Taiwan is regarded as a great benefactor of the poor, the sick, the elderly, and as a great defender of exploited women, of those who are forced to work overseas, of the marginalized, of prisoners and of the cause of human life.
He is currently serving his fifth term as president of the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference.
Bishop Emeritus of Kaohsiung, January 5, 2006.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of February 21, 1998, of the Title of St. Chrysogonus. He died on August 22, 2012.
Special Council for Asia of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops