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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 07/25/2007, 00.00


    The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association celebrates 50 years at a less than ideal moment

    Founded on August 2, 1957, the association is less and less able to serve its original purpose, namely to manage the Catholic community on behalf of the government. Some 5,000 invited guests are expected for the celebrations but many will be absent.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) – The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) will celebrate 50 years on August 2. Some 5,000 people have been invited for the occasion, but quite a few of the would-be guests will find the right excuse or the courage not to go. In the meantime, both official and underground bishops, priests and faithful are under tighter controls, which shows the uniqueness of the Chinese Church, as Pope Benedict XVI himself recognised in his Letter to Chinese Catholics.

    This is not a good time for the powerful CPCA. Created by the Religious Affairs Bureau of the People’s Republic for the purpose of introducing party ideals into the Catholic Church, it can now boast more than 3,000 secretaries, deputy secretaries and bureau chiefs, plus many more office workers. All these people are in charge of about 5 million Catholic members of the official Church. They appoint bishops, give “advice” as to who should be priests, evaluate male and female vocations for seminaries and convents, and supervise diocesan administrations.

    In such a supervisory role they have often been accused by underground Catholics of pilfering  diocesan property on their own behalf and that of public and private firms and businessmen.

    But for Catholics loyal to the Pope, the CPCA is the “enemy”. In his recent letter Benedict XVI unequivocally condemned the association. Explicitly mentioned only in a footnote (nº 36), the CPCA is treated as one of those “entities, desired by the State and extraneous to the structure of the Church,” which placed “themselves above the Bishops [. . .] to guide the life of the ecclesial community,” something which “does not correspond to Catholic doctrine.”

    Similarly, the Pope refers to the CPCA when he talks about “persons who are not ‘ordained’, and sometimes not even baptized,” and who “control and take decisions concerning important ecclesial questions, including the appointment of Bishops (nº 8), and when he warns that “[c]ommunion and unity [. . .] are essential and integral elements of the Catholic Church: therefore the proposal for a Church that is ‘independent’ of the Holy See, in the religious sphere, is incompatible with Catholic doctrine” (nº 8).

    The Pope’s opposition is based theologically on the notions of communion, hierarchy and Petrine primacy, which clearly contradict a statement made by the CPCA’s strongman, deputy chairman Liu Bainian, a member of the laity who in an interview with Italian daily La Repubblica claimed instead that there was “not a shadow of theological controversy” when he spoke about the relations between the CPCA and the Holy See, going as far as expressing a hope that the Pope might visit Beijing.


    A “hope” which yesterday Benedict XVI would not comment.  When journalists, who are following the Pope’s period of rest among the mountains of Cadore, broached him on the subject, he limited himself to respond: “I cannot speak on the issue and the moment.  The situation is quite complicated and now there is not sufficient time”.


    The fact is that there is an ongoing tug of war between the Vatican and AP,  despite the open hand of friendship extended to the Chinese government in the form of the Pope’s Letter.


    However, should the government opt to normalise relations with the Holy See for whatever reason, Liu Bainian’s head would be the first to roll.

    Some 50 years after the People’s Republic set up various religious patriotic associations, such entities have become obsolete. According to an official study released earlier this year, their influence is waning, limited to only about a third of the 300 million Chinese who are officially classified as members of religions.

    Increasingly they are no longer capable of guaranteeing the much vaunted “social harmony” with which President Hu Jintao wants to build a fairer China and achieve a more balanced development. (FP)


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    See also

    24/07/2007 CHINA – VATICAN
    Cardinal Zen warns against confusion surrounding the Pope’s letter to Chinese Catholics
    The bishop of Hong Kong contradicts some of the claims made by sinologist Father Heyndrickx who suggests that the papal document encourages members of the underground Church to come out into the open, ask for recognition by civil authorities and concelebrate services with officials from the official Church.

    02/07/2007 CHINA – VATICAN
    Subdued but predictable reactions in China to Pope’s letter
    The government again reiterates its two pre-conditions for diplomatic dialogue (non interference in Chinese affairs and break with Taiwan), but unlike the 2000 martyr canonisation affair, this time it has taken soft approach. The underground Church rejoices, whilst the official Church, which is under an even tighter control, is moving cautiously.

    21/10/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
    Card. Zen’s visit to Shanghai may be a trap set by Beijing
    According to some commentators, on his visit to Shanghai the, cardinal advised the local bishop to attend the meeting of Catholic representatives, a body that the pope considers "incompatible with Catholic faith." The Cardinal responds.

    21/06/2016 17:27:00 CHINA - VATICAN
    Vatican silence over Shanghai’s Mgr Ma Daqin causing confusion and controversy

    For some, Mgr Ma’s blog post praising the Patriotic Association and acknowledging his mistakes is nothing but “dirt”. For others, he chose humiliation for the “sake of his diocese”. Many wonder why the Holy See has remained silent about the article’s content and the bishop’s persecution. Some suspect the Vatican views the episode in positive terms. Yet, the Ma Daqin affair raises a major question. Has Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics (which describes the Patriotic Association as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine”) been abolished? If it has, who did it? A journey of compromises without truth is full of risks.

    30/06/2007 VATICAN – CHINA
    Vatican to the conquest of a changing China
    For decades the diplomatic dialogue was non-existent; now there are signs of openness. As China experiences a religious renaissance, the regime’s various patriotic associations try to maintain their ideological and economic power over the Churches. Here is an analysis of the history of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Beijing.

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