Monday, April 19, 2010

More On The Church In China

Things aren't really improving there, per the Union of Catholic Asian News. To the contrary:

Several mainland bishops, approved by the Vatican and recognized by the government, say following some of the advice from the Vatican’s China Commission will put them in a difficult position.

The communiqué for the third plenary meeting released on March 25 said the commission unanimously hoped that all mainland bishops could avoid gestures that run counter to communion with the Pope.

It specifies such gestures like: sacramental celebrations (with illegitimate bishops), episcopal ordinations (without a papal mandate) and participation in meetings (like the planned National Congress of Catholic Representatives of the “open” Church community in China).

In other words, stay away from scandal with the schismatics. The bishops interviewed in the article all seem to think that this is going to generate more persecution and martyrdom.

Bishop Peter said the communiqué’s advice is difficult to follow practically, since bishops will find it “hard to say no” to government officials who will coerce them to attending the congress or illicit ordinations.

“We bishops feel perplexed about what to do. We no longer have room for maneuver since the papal letter came out. We can only choose between surviving in the cracks and breaking off relations with the government,” he lamented.

“The open community is unwilling to break the good relationship with the government, which it has struggled to build over a long period of time,” he explained

The upcoming national congress is probably going to make things worse, in that it could make the schism more open. On the other hand, attendance might be viewed as contrary to the Vatican directives mentioned above.

Bishop Peter believed the national congress, which is supposed to convene later this year, will cause a split in the open community.

“I will passively attend the meeting to gain space for pastoral work and not to embarrass local officials,” he said. He believed the majority of open bishops will also attend, adding that it is unrealistic not to go.

Those who wish to follow the Vatican’s advice should be prepared for poorer relations with the authorities and stronger controls, which is another way of being God’s witness, he said.

We've mentioned in the past our requests for support to the Cardinal Kung Foundation. Please consider them again, if you haven't already. At the very least, offer to pray for a member of the clergy there. Ask them for a prayer card. They will send it to you.

Through the intercession of Our Lady of She-shan and Ignatius Cardinal Kung, may God bless all Chinese Catholics.

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