04/07/2005, 00.00
VATICAN – CHINA
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Singing the praises of a Pope who loves China

by Zhang Yi Ming
While the Chinese government blocks out news of John Paul II from internet sites, a Shanghai Catholic tells of the pope's miracles beyond the Great Wall.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Up until two days ago, Chinese internet portals like Sina.com and Sohu.com, were packed with messages of mourning and reflection about John Paul II. Since yesterday, prayers and comments about the pope have been banned. Many analysts say this decision comes from the government, which fears the spread of a religious revival. Those running the portals justified the censorship by saying "religious issues are very special. We are afraid problems may arise". Another said explicitly: "Top brass leaders have forbidden it". But meanwhile, in all cities, intersecting antenna are out to steal: everyone wants to follow the funeral of John Paul II through international channels.   

A 25-year-old Chinese girl from Shanghai, who has lived in Italy for some years, managed to make it to stand before the mortal remains of John Paul II, after waiting in a long queue. She sent us a meditative prayer about relations between the Pope and China, which we publish here in full:

 

"Holy Father, here I stand before you, together with this torrent of crowds who love you, all gathered around you, as it was when you were alive. Seeing your face serene gave me peace. When news of your death spread, I was struck by a sense of anguish: who will speak now in the name of the poor? Who will defend the marginalized? Who will speak words of love for China? Who will defend us from attacks against truth and against the Church? Your peaceful face inspires in me a certainty that you, more than ever before, will guide and help us.

Holy Father, here we are: I have undertaken this long pilgrimage not only for myself, but also in the name of my family, of all the Catholics in China who have prayed for you for decades.

They – and I with them – are faithful to you in the face of all persecution, moral and physical. You wished so heartily to visit our country and this Church is loyal to you. You have fought so much to find a path, a way, but the world and the power of men denied this to you.

In these days, your death has become a source of life: all the people who for days have flocked to your city come because in you, in your death, they have found a symbol of life. All of us come not to pray for You, but to pray to You.

Holy Father, I came also to bring you some good news: in these days, in my country, China, many – through You – are getting to know Jesus Christ.  The news and images of your death, and the homage paid you by millions of pilgrims, are finally driving home to my people the meaning of Christianity and the greatness of the Catholic Church. All find comfort in seeing that, thanks to you, the Catholic Church is the advocate for justice, peace, democracy and truth.

Holy Father, I wanted to come to bring you this good news because it is news of life and of resurrection: your death has become a new instrument of proclamation, an effective way to win over attempts by the power of men to keep you away from China, to isolate you and to offend you.

Holy Father, You now rest from the weariness of a lifetime. But we are certain that during your rest, you still work for China and love it with a faithful love. You could not come to us. But my people and my Church want to come to visit you as soon as possible, to visit your tomb, which will be ever more a place of life. Please make this day come soon. Let this be done."

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