07/12/2012, 00.00
ASIA - CHINA - VATICAN

Card Gracias pained and anguished by the unlawful ordination in Harbin

Nirmala Carvalho
"The Holy Father has never interfered in the internal affairs of the [Chinese] government," said the secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences. The latter "should refrain from interfering in the pastoral and spiritual fields with its unlawful appointments of bishops. It should allow the Church to function independently and freely." Freedom of religion is "important in the whole world. It is fundamental for the full development of a country and its population."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Card Oswald Gracias, secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), is pained and anguished by the unlawful ordination of Fr Fusheng as bishop of Harbin (China), i.e. done without papal approval. "The Holy Father has never interfered in the internal affairs of the [Chinese] government. Through the appointment of bishops around the world, the Holy See only fulfils its pastoral duties," the prelate said in an interview with AsiaNews.

"The Chinese government should refrain from interfering in the pastoral and spiritual fields with its unlawful appointments of bishops. It should allow the Church to function independently and freely. The Church wants to serve the people of China and work for its spiritual growth."

The FABC and the entire "people of God are praying that the Holy See and the Chinese government solve the situation and that matters do not get worse," Mgr Gracias said. Hopefully, Chinese authorities will "return to a spirit of collaboration, cooperation and dialogue with the Holy See and better understand the Church's mission."

"The marginalisation of God nowadays is spreading in many countries. We can see its tragic consequences in every field as society's fundamental principles and ethical values in politics and economics are in crisis," the prelate said. "The new evangelisation is the prophetic call made by the Holy Father to bring God from the periphery to the centre of life."

Freedom of religion is "important in the whole world. It is fundamental for the full development of a country and its population. Stifling and suppressing religious freedom harms man's dignity and a nation's development and progress."

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