With our growing economic reliance and dependence upon the Regime in China: Are we sacrificing our fundamental obligation to defend human freedom and human rights because we depend on the economic assistance of a repressive regime? We should also ask the candidates running for public office their view on the right to religious freedom and our relationship with mainland China.
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - We have followed with alarm and concern the heavy handed efforts of the Regime in mainland China against the legitimate leadership of the Catholic Church in China. Though there appeared to be a warming in relations for a while, reports out of China in 2010 confirmed that the situation for faithful Catholics looked ominous.
The Chinese Regime forcibly coerced Catholic Bishops faithful to the magisterium of the Catholic Church to attend an illegitimate gathering of the Regime-sponsored "Patriotic Association" (PA) and "Council of Bishops". They used violence against Catholic Bishops, priests and lay faithful.
Like many deceptive governments, the regime in mainland China presents a public face of tolerance but acts with impunity against Catholics, other Christians and other religious believers. They use coercion and violence against Catholic Bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful.
For example, in 2010, in order to coerce his attendance at the illegitimate meeting 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.
The Bishop was rescued by the faithful and returned to his home. However, the representatives of the Regime did not give up. They attempted to again seize the Bishop once again and the faithful fought for hours to prevent violence against him but were unsuccessful. The Bishop was then dragged to Beijing and forced to attend the illegitimate gathering.
This was only one example of the aggressive show of force against the Catholic Church. It came on the heels of the illegitimate ordination of Fr. Joseph Guo Jincai as a Bishop despite the clear objection by the Holy See on November 20, 2010. 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."
On Friday, December 17, 2010 the Holy See issued a strongly worded statement concerning the oppression of the Catholic Church by the regime in mainland China. They affirmed their continued willingness to engage in dialogue but condemned the 'grave violation' of the religious freedom of Catholics. They specifically decried the action of forcing priests and Bishops to attend the illegitimate gathering of what the statement rightly referred to as the "so called Bishops Conference and Catholic Patriotic Association".
The meeting was a sham and a propaganda ploy. The effort is as old as communism itself. Seek to destroy the connection between the Catholic faithful and the successor of the Apostle Peter, the Pope. It has never worked in the past and it will not work now.
The Holy See condemned those actions in no uncertain terms. The statement called these State sponsored groups "incompatible" with the Catholic faith. They reminded the faithful of the Pope's invitation to pray for their brethren being oppressed in mainland China.
Asia News recently published an interview with Italian Parliamentarian Alfredo Mantovano by Bernardo Cervellera. It addressed the illicit June 29, 2011 episcopal "ordination" Fr Lei Shiyin which led to his excommunication. It was another heavy handed effort by the so-called "patriotic" church to reject the true authority of the Catholic Church.
We urge our readers around the globe to fervently pray for the persecuted Church in China. They are our brothers and sisters, joined in the bond of Baptismal and Eucharistic communion. We also urge that a loud cry be raised against the failure of Western governments, including the current administration in the United States, to stand up against the egregious violation of a fundamental human right, the Right to Religious Freedom, in mainland China.
We should ask ourselves the following question; with our growing economic reliance and dependence upon the Regime in China: Are we sacrificing our fundamental obligation to defend human freedom and human rights because we depend on the economic assistance of a repressive regime?
We should also ask the candidates running for public office as the elections in the United States draw near their views on the right to religious freedom and our relationship with mainland China.
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