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    » 08/22/2005, 00.00

    CHINA – VATICAN – WYD

    From Cologne hopes for Church unity in China

    Gao Qingnian

    The Pope's presence and being together push official and underground Christians beyond World Youth Day to bear witness together. "We forgive the government which is suppressing us".

    Cologne (AsiaNews) - Dongyan ("Eastern Swallow") is a 30-year-old Chinese woman who took part in World Youth Day in Cologne. She has spent time in jail, and were it not for the fact that she used a fake name she would not have been able to get a passport and visa to travel to Germany alone where she participated in the catechesis and the meetings with Pope Ratzinger.

    "It is my first trip outside China," she told AsiaNews. "When I found myself with people of different languages and races, all together praying and listening, I understood that the Catholic Church is one family".

    Dongyan went to the catechesis held at St Augustin and at the Church of the Verbites. There, she met people who, like herself, were from the underground Church, and people from the official Church as well as Catholics from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau for a total of about 500 people.

    "I learnt from that experience that we Chinese Catholics must live in unity more. We are a unique Church. Perhaps this is the gift I am taking back to China: accept one another, whether official or not, so as to be united in the Christian witness".

    Dongyan said that sometimes there is friction and bias between one branch of the Church and the other. Underground Catholics are branded fanatics—an underground bishop who welcomes a priest from the official Church runs the risk of being treated as a traitor to the faith.

    But, in her view, "the time has come for greater unity. And the Pope is the centre and sign of this unity. In Cologne, I was moved by the fact that we were all with him and this has given me hope for the unity of the Chinese Church. It is high time that in China, Christians start accepting and forgive each other."

    Chinese society, which is undergoing social and economic changes, "needs our witness," Dongyan said.

    More and more people are seeking God. "A 28-year-old friend of mine was left by her husband and was on the verge of killing herself," she said. "Suicide is happening more frequently in China. I tried to keep her company; we read the Gospels together and she was baptised a year ago. Then, it was her mother's turn. There is so much spiritual poverty in China, that witness by Christians is needed".

    Dongyan was born into a Christian family. Many of her relatives were martyrs. For example, her grandfather's brother was killed during the Cultural Revolution. She was herself in trouble with the police; in addition to doing some jail time, the police searched her home and confiscated religious material.

    "In Cologne I learnt that I must pass on the mercy God gave me. I want to forgive the government which continues to suppress us by denying us freedom, jailing us without reason, treating us unjustly. God shall change China in His own time, but He will be able to change the country if we change."

    Dongyan dreams of the future day when Benedict XVI will come to China. "It would be beautiful to have the World Youth Day in China, holding a vigil and mass at the altar of the Temple of Heavens, where the ancient emperors used to pray."

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    See also

    11/08/2005 CHINA - WYD
    WYD: The first time ever for China's underground Church

    More than 100 Chinese Catholics of the clandestine (unofficial) church have arrived in Cologne, overcoming difficulties posed by visa and controls. They tell of persecution but also of great vitality in evangelization.



    18/08/2005 PAKISTAN - WYD
    Pakistani Catholic youth do not get visas for WYD

    Despite guarantees from the diocese, the vicar-general and the bishop, the German Embassy in Pakistan has denied hundreds of visas to those who wanted to attend the twentieth World Youth Day.



    19/08/2005 GERMANY – WYD
    Pope meets seminarians at WYD for the first time
    Benedict XVI wanted the meeting "so that the vocational dimension which is always a part of World Youth Day would be even more clearly and strongly evident."

    24/08/2005 VATICAN - WYD
    Benedict XVI: Eucharist, vocation, mission are the tracks of the WYD


    12/08/2005 IRAQ – WYD
    Two young Iraqi men stranded in Jordan on their way to Cologne
    The two left Mosul on Sunday but are waiting in Jordan for a German visa. Their arrival for the WYD remains uncertain; papers might be ready only after August 16.



    Editor's choices

    POLAND - CHINA - WYD
    Beijing's tricks and violence to stop Chinese youth from reaching WYD

    Vincenzo Faccioli Pintozzi

    The government yesterday blocked a group of 50 young pilgrims who had already boarded a plane bound for Krakow. Interrogated for hours by immigration, they were "admonished" and sent home with orders not to contact anyone abroad. Meanwhile, "young Chinese Catholics" hang around central World Youth Day locations in groups of five or six, with the task of spying on fellow countrymen. They work for cultural institutes or Chinese companies in Poland.


    ISLAM - EUROPE
    Fr Samir: Islamic terror in France and Germany a crisis of integration, but above all of politics

    Samir Khalil Samir

    The kidnapping and murder of a priest near Rouen (France) and the various attacks in Würzburg, Munich, Ansbach (Germany) were carried out by young people, who were indoctrinated with ease. Germany was a model for the integration of refugees. But radical Islam cannot be assimilated. It is supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. There is no other road other than integration. But we must tell the truth: the Koran contains elements of war and violence. Western politicians suffer from ignorance and a loss of all moral sentiment.


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