The Provisional Agreement concerns the appointment of bishops. The Global Times today cited China’s Foreign Ministry, which denied the presence in Beijing of a Vatican delegation. China’s leadership appears divided on the matter. The goal of this “accord is not political but pastoral”.
Starting tomorrow until 25 September, the pontiff will visit Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Pope John Paul II visited the three Baltic states in 1993. In Vilnius, Francis will visit the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights and remember the martyrs at the Hill of Crosses. Local Churches are strongly committed to ecumenism. Mercy is the main theme.
The statement slams the destruction of churches and crosses, the ban on religious education for children, and the pressures to join Party-controlled bodies. One scholar notes that “Some suggest that because Christians’ allegiance is first and foremost to God and not the Communist Party, there is a conflict of interests that the party believes can potentially hinder the process of unification.”
The possible agreement between Beijing and the Vatican will be signed without the presence of any Chinese Catholics. Not only, the members of the Church in China are being kept totally in the dark about what is being discussed, even if those involved claim to speak of "ecclesial matters". The analysis of a priest-blogger in an article immediately taken down by the police who censor the internet in China.
Priests and bishops met in Ankawa to discuss the "new lines" of pastoral planning. Msgr. Warduni: help in this difficult time, sharing "problems". The family is the heart of society and the first place for practicing the faith. Strengthen the moments of meeting and discussion.
Interview with Ryu Seung-Min, South Korea's gold medalist involved in inter-Korean initiatives and member of Peace and Sport. He was moved by the women’s hockey players, the first joint Korean team. Younger people should be involved.
A priest in charge of a Henan parish complains about the ban on displaying sacred images and attempts by the faithful to accommodate government authorities. The faith cannot be abandoned or betrayed, nor can it be negotiated. What cannot be asserted or defended in public is not faith.
In Shanghai the "basic values of socialism" are exalted on the pediment of the church. A painting of the Last Supper removed in Henan. Communities forced to sing patriotic hymns. Shaolin Monastery in Shaoshan must hold a flag-raising ceremony every morning. "The churches seem more and more like government offices".
Those with "strong religious beliefs" must be re-educated or expelled. Spreading "political rumours" and distorting the country’s history are banned.
At the end of the trip to Ireland, Francis renews his appeal for forgiveness for the abuses committed by people in the Church. But a dossier by the former nuncio in the US accuses him of covering the misdeeds of former Cardinal McCarrick and calls for him to resign.