We have followed with deep concern the heavy handed efforts of the Regime in mainland China against the legitimate leadership of the Catholic Church in China. The Chinese Regime has now forcibly coerced Catholic Bishops who are faithful to Church authority to attend an illegitimate gathering where a meeting of the "Patriotic Association" (PA) and the "Council of Bishops" will take place.
BEIJING, China (Catholic Online) - We have followed with deep concern the heavy handed efforts of the Regime in mainland China against the legitimate leadership of the Catholic Church in China. Though there seemed to be a warming in relations, the latest reports out of China show that hopes are being dashed. The Chinese Regime has forcibly coerced Catholic Bishops who are faithful to Church authority to attend an illegitimate gathering where a meeting of the "Patriotic Association" (PA) and the "Council of Bishops" will take place. They have even used violence.
Asia News reported on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 that, "dozens of bishops of the official Church have been forcibly deported to the capital to ensure their participation at the Assembly of representatives of Chinese Catholics, which the pope considers incompatible with Catholic faith. The Assembly opened today in Beijing on a low profile and is being shrouded in secrecy: it is impossible to contact anyone and not even Xinhua is reporting on the event. The meeting should lead to the election of the national president of the Patriotic Association and president of the council of Chinese bishops, two bodies that are unacceptable to the Catholic Church because they aim to build a separate Church, detached from the pope.
"It's just an election of a new round of leadership," said Liu Bainian, vice president and chairman of the PA (Patriotic Association) Assembly. In fact, the gathering is the "sovereign body" of the official Chinese church in which bishops are a minority among Catholics and government representatives. Ecclesial decisions are made on the basis of rigged elections. Ahead of today's meeting, Liu Bainian had sent all participants clear indications of what to do and what to vote. The Assembly has been postponed for at least four years because the official bishops, in obedience to the Holy See's, have consistently refused to participate."
Reliable reports from inside this officially communist Nation - which presents a public face of tolerance but acts with impunity against Christians and other religious believers - reveal the use of coercion and violence against Catholic Bishops. Bishop Feng Xinmao was seized by 100 police officers and government agents. His priests and members of the lay faithful reportedly fought for hours to prevent his arrest. Eventually, the Bishop was arrested by Police and placed in isolation.
He was later rescued by the faithful and returned to his home. However, the representatives of the Regime did not give up. According to reliable sources, when they attempted to again seize the Bishop, the faithful fought again for hours, but were unsuccessful. The Bishop was dragged to Beijing and forced to attend the illegitimate gathering.
This recent show of oppressive force against the Catholic Church comes on the heels of the illegitimate ordination of a Bishop on November 20, 2010. Fr. Joseph Guo Jincai was ordained as a Bishop despite the clear objection of the Holy See. An official statement from the Vatican noted that the ordination occurred "without the apostolic mandate and, therefore, constitutes a painful wound upon ecclesial communion and a grave violation of Catholic discipline."
The statement continued "This ordination not only does not contribute to the good of the Catholics of Chengde, but places them in a very delicate and difficult condition, also from the canonical point of view, and humiliates them, because the Chinese civil authorities wish to impose on them a pastor who is not in full communion, either with the Holy Father or with the other bishops throughout the world.
"Several times, during this current year, the Holy See has communicated clearly to the Chinese authorities its opposition to the episcopal ordination of Fr. Joseph Guo Jincai. In spite of this, the said authorities decided to proceed unilaterally, to the detriment of the atmosphere of respect that had been created with great effort with the Holy See and with the Catholic Church through the recent episcopal ordinations. This claim to place themselves above the bishops and to guide the life of the ecclesial community does not correspond to Catholic doctrine; it offends the Holy Father, the Church in China and the universal Church, and further complicates the present pastoral difficulties.
"Pope Benedict XVI, in the above-mentioned Letter of 2007, expressed the Holy See's willingness to engage in a respectful and constructive dialogue with the authorities of the People's Republic of China, with the aim of overcoming the difficulties and normalizing relations. In reaffirming this willingness, the Holy See notes with regret that the authorities allow the leadership of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, under the influence of Mr. Liu Bainian, to adopt attitudes that gravely damage the Catholic Church and hamper the aforesaid dialogue.
"The Catholics of the entire world are following with particular attention the troubled journey of the Church in China: the spiritual solidarity with which they accompany the vicissitudes of their Chinese brothers and sisters becomes a fervent prayer to the Lord of history, so that He may be close to them, increase their hope and fortitude, and give them consolation in moments of trial."
We urge our readers around the world to pray for the Catholics of China. They are experiencing a growing persecution precisely because they are Catholic Christians, faithful to the profession of the ancient faith. We urge all Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will to condemn the unjust actions of the Chinese regime and to insist upon the recognition of religious freedom as a fundamental human right in mainland China.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone recently represented the Holy See at an international gathering of the "Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe" in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Cardinal gave an address in which he underscored the Holy See's concern that all Nations respect "that human dignity which unites the entire human family" and recognize that "fundamental freedoms include the right to religious freedom".
Cardinal Bertone spoke of the growing hostility toward Christians noting that "closely related to the denial of religious freedom is religiously-motivated intolerance and discrimination, especially against Christians. It is well documented that Christians are the most discriminated and persecuted religious group." These recent actions by the oppressive Regime running Mainland China only confirm his claim.
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