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  • » 08/14/2014, 00.00


    Beijing "recalls" Chinese priests from Seoul and blocks 80 young people from travelling for the AYD

    AsiaNews sources in Korea confirm: "At least a dozen priests have been contacted by the Chinese government, which warned them of 'problems' in their return home if they had stayed for Francis’ apostolic visit to the peninsula". A delegation of 100 young people present in Daejeon for the Asian Youth Day, but about 80 were stopped before their departure. "At least half" of those are Beijing seminarians, who in recent weeks refused to obey an excommunicated Bishop Su. Not one word from Xinhua about the Pope’s arrival in Korea.

    Seoul (AsiaNews) - The Beijing government has banned about 80 young people from taking part in the Asian Youth Day being held in Daejeon, despite the enthusiasm aroused by the permission given to the papal flight to fly over Chinese airspace.

    According to AsiaNews sources, about 40 of those young people are seminarians from Beijing, who in July 2014 refused to attend the year end Mass celebrated by some illicit bishops. According to the spokesman of the organizing committee of the Pope's visit to Korea, Heo Young-yeop, China's decision arose from "problematic internal situations". Another source speaks of possible arrests.

    In addition, the Communist government has decided to recall some Chinese priests residing in Korea before the arrival of Pope Francis on the Korean peninsula. Local sources confirmed this to AsiaNews: "The priests were phoned by officials from the Religious Affairs Bureau, which threatened them with 'problems' if they did not immediately return home".

    Threats of "problems" on returning home are a common means of controlling priests and religious overseas Chinese. In addition to the withdrawal of passports, visas and the cancellation of any generic bureaucratic documents, the executive and especially the Religious Affairs Bureau have often threatened the families of Catholics abroad.

    Although there are no official figures, the Chinese community in South Korea has hundreds of thousands of people. Of these, at least 50 thousand are Catholic (baptized or catechumens).  This community, mostly based in Seoul and Incheon, are cared for mainly by priests of their own nationality. Similarly, there are many Korean priests who serve in China, especially the Korean community residing there.

    To avoid embarrassing situations, Beijing has decided to recall these people and to impose conditions to prevent their contact with Francis.

    Yesterday at the inaugural Mass of the Asian Youth Day in Daejeon Chinese flags were not visible, even though a delegation of young people from mainland China was expected to take part. However, again AsiaNews sources claim a group of about 100 young people managed to arrive on the Korean Peninsula: these are mostly young people from the capital and the province of Hebei.

    There will be time enough to evaluate these signals that China is sending to the Vatican. What is clear for now is that that Beijing, which considers itself a modern state, could not refuse its permission for the papal flight to cross the skies of China, but on the ground the State wants to continue to monitor the Catholics. As well as all information: Xinhua has not published a single news story on the Pope in Korea, instead it has given wide coverage to a Korean actress who is participating in a charity dinner (VFP)



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    See also

    31/05/2008 CHINA - VATICAN
    Pope's prayer for Church in China banned in some dioceses
    Priests forced to "take a trip", to prevent them from going to the shrine of the Virgin of Sheshan; priests prohibited from praying "with the pope"; a shrine in Taiyuan closed and monitored by thousands of police. The war of the Patriotic Association a few months ahead of the Olympics.

    17/08/2014 KOREA - CHINA - VATICAN - AYD
    Some 300 young Chinese Catholics attend gathering with Francis
    A large number of participants from mainland China attend final Asian Youth Day Mass despite threats and attempts by Chinese authorities to stop them. Through social networks, they agreed to come to South Korea to show Francis their love.

    04/08/2013 VATICAN
    Pope calls on young people to counter daily vanity of consumer society
    Angelus in memory of WYD. The World Youth Days is not "a flash in the pan", moments of enthusiasm but an ends in themselves, stages of a long journey. "Let us always remember: young people do not follow the Pope, they follow Jesus Christ carrying His cross. And the Pope guides them and accompanies them on this journey of faith and hope."

    01/09/2006 VATICAN
    Pope: Seeking face of God, priests will transform lives of the faithful

    In pilgrimage to the shrine of the Holy Face in Manopello, Benedict XVI once again exhorted priests and seminarians to show their love for Jesus. He talked about a pastoral ministry focused on youth and the family. The true St Francis: a convert before being an environmentalist and a pacifist.

    14/03/2013 CHINA - VATICAN
    Beijing blows cold on Pope Francis: "Congratulations, but he better be more practical than his predecessors"
    The Chinese government joins the chorus of congratulations for the appointment for Cardinal Bergoglio’s election to the throne of Peter, but repeats its tired refrain: cut ties with Taiwan and "do not to interfere in internal affairs".

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