Initial reactions to the episcopal ordinations which took place yesterday. Ankang ceremony took place in a calm manner, with many bishops present, with older women who were photographed next to their new pastor. In Chengdu, the presence of an illegitimate bishop - criticized by the faithful - has turned the sacrament into a battlefield with controls and police imposing the presence of an excommunicated bishop.
Rome (AsiaNews) - The episcopal ordinations which took place yesterday in Ankang and Chengdu underscore how the "faith is far from dead" among Chinese Catholics, but also that the Vatican's "kowtow" diplomacy (bowing to the emperor) leads to nothing. These are the immediate reactions of two priests who are well-known on China’s social networks. Both belong to the official Church, recognized by the government. The first comment, the "hermit priest" (Shan Ren Shen Fu), a famous blogger from north China, praises the explicit opposition manifested by Chengdu Catholics towards the presence of an excommunicated and illegitimate bishop, Lei Shiyin, imposed by the police that transformed a sacrament of "peace and harmony" into a battleground, with checks, inspections, armed guards.
According to another priest-blogger from the center of China (Father Peter, Bo Duo Shen Fu) the lack of religious freedom even in the celebration of the sacrament of ordination reveals how the " kowtow diplomacy " implemented by the Vatican is not bearing fruit, indeed it is a "failure."
As was expected, the parishioners of Chengdu's Pingan Bridge protested with the banner; The banner is signed by "the faithful of the Catholic church of Ping'an Qiao (Bridge of Peace)" and says: "In compliance with Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law, we strongly oppose Lei Shiyin, who has been automatically excommunicated [latae sententiae], for coming to our church to take part in the concelebration of the liturgy of episcopal ordination”. [see photo 3] It was said that later the banner was taken off after photos were taken.
But it is commendable that the photos can be spread out , which at least shows the faithful are not dead.
Compared to Chengdu Diocese, Chengdu, the ordination at Ankang appears to be closer to the people; some aunties and granny eagerly took pictures around the new bishop, and all the bishops in Shaanxi were present at the scene [see photo 1]. It is the true atmosphere of the bishop episcopal ordination. We do not even see policemen in uniform in the photos. I think it should not have any street blocked and security screening.
Instead, a man of disaster [Lei Shiyin] caused all the guards and cautions [see photo 2]. It is as if it was confronted by an enemy. A trouble free man brought peace and harmony.
So that the Chinese bishop ordination was not in the prevention of man-made disasters, but to shield the man of disaster.
The Catholic sacramental liturgy is naturally peace, harmony, and sacredness.
A man of disaster becomes the stain for all who were present at the ceremony, which will not be rid of lifetime.
In spite of two wrongly written words shown on the banner of Pingan Bridge church today, it is clear that there are still some peopke who are willing to take the risk to safeguard the sanctity of the sacrament of the Church. Seeing this picture, I said to myself with emotion: faith is not dead, faith is not dead!
Shan Ren Shen Fu
Although the Chinese Catholic church has recently ordained more Bishops than ever. However, the color of official Church, which is government-controlled, is still strong. So people cannot see any improvements in religious life and liberty. Thus, it only indicates the failure of Holy See "kowtow diplomacy“.
Bo Duo Shen Fu