2 September, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 07/14/2011
VATICAN - CHINA
Few share the Pope’s "pain and concern," for the Church in China
by Bernardo Cervellera
The statement by the director of the Vatican Press Office on the illicit ordination of Shantou. "An act contrary to the unity of the universal Church." But the Church prays little for China; presidents and secretaries of state are silent on the violations of human rights, the economy trumps everything. But this short-sightedness is preparing the ground for a huge and violent social conflict in China.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Only hours after the illegitimate ordination of Fr Joseph Huang Bingzhang as bishop (excommunicated) of Shantou (see photo), which saw the – forced – participation of eight bishops in communion with the Pope, the director of the Vatican Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, told reporters that the Vatican is closely following this event, “with sorrow and concern.''

"The position and feelings of the Holy See and the Pope - said Father Lombardi - have already been recently expressed in previous circumstances," and arise from the fact that it is "an act which is contrary to the unity of the universal Church ".

The pope’s "pain and concern," were evident in the words he expressed at the end of the audience on May 18 last, when he called on Christians worldwide to pray for "our brother bishops" who "suffer and are under pressure in the exercise of their Episcopal ministry. " "I ask Mary - the pontiff had added - to enlighten those who are in doubt, to call back the straying, to console the afflicted, to strengthen those who are ensnared by the allure of opportunism".

Since last November, China has decided to proceed with the election and ordination of bishops without waiting for papal mandate: Fr. Guo Jincai Chengde (November 2010), Fr. Paul Lei Shiyin for Leshan (June 29, 2011), Today, Fr. Joseph Huang Bingzhang for Shantou; several others for the future.

The ordinations of bishops without a mandate from the Holy See mean automatic excommunication for the candidate and the ordaining bishop. Many of these - like today - were forced to participate in the function, so it is possible that they are not excommunicated. But at least a dozen of them are in a situation of causing scandal which divides the Chinese community.

The Pope’s "pain and concern," is due to the fact that through these moves to dominate the Church in China, the patient work of mending bonds between the underground and official Church that John Paul II and Benedict XVI both attempted, is unravelling. A divided church is slow to evangelization and moreover, it fails to guarantee its right and space for religious freedom from the Chinese Communist Party which, in theory, the same Chinese constitution allows.

It must be said that faced with the absolutist pretensions of the Chinese government many of the faithful and bishops have become more daring: websites publish Vatican documents, even those critical of Beijing, an increasing number of bishops are saying no to the illicit ordinations because of their faith and relationship with the pontiff.

The "pain and concern" is also for the lives of these bishops. Because of the Shantou ordination, Mgr. Paul Pei Junmin of Liaoning has not been able to leave his diocese, helped by all the priests who were with him to praying continuously for days, to prevent their bishop being kidnapped. Another pastor, Mgr. Cai Bingrui Xiamen managed to hide. But he is now wanted by the government authorities. Last December, another bishop, Mgr. Li Lianghui of Cangzhou (Hebei), went into hiding in order not to have to participate in another gesture against the Pope (the Assembly of Representatives of Chinese Catholics). The police hunted for him for days like a "criminal" and after finding him, forced him to three months of isolation and brainwashing to convince him of the Party’s "good intentions" towards the Church. It is possible that Mgr. Pei and Mgr. Cai have been subjected to isolation and political sessions, to tear them from their ministry and destroy them from a psychological point of view.

With all of this, we must say that those sharing the Pope’s "pain and concern," are all too few.

And first of all, they are too few in the Church. The World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, commissioned and implored by Pope Benedict XVI with the appeal of last May 18, found few dioceses ready to pray for the Church in China, its persecuted and "opportunistic" bishops.

Not to mention civil society. By now, the Yangtze River’s white dolphin, which risks extinction due to pollution in China, provokes a greater outcry than the extinction of freedom in a country that is destined to rule the world, but which uses heavy handed methods without batting an eyelid.

A rosé of presidents further encourages this attitude (including the Italian president) as well as Secretaries of State, who visiting China never fail to eulogise the "positive path" taken by Beijing on human rights, while – beyond bishops and priests - thousands of activists, petitioners, artists and writers are imprisoned and forcibly silenced.

As the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to admit on her first trip to China "with Beijing we can talk about everything, including human rights, but without jeopardizing our economic relationship."

It is not just a case of simple greed, of interest in the Chinese market, it is a matter of short-sightedness in not seeing that attacks on religious freedom, sooner or later, become attacks on all freedoms. The Chinese workers, enslaved and under paid, the farmers cheated of their land, the children and disabled people forced to work in brick factories, in preference to adults because "more docile”, know this all too well. But even economic freedom is beginning to choke: by now there is not even one entrepreneur left who, having invested in China, was sooner or later robbed of his patents, or forced to pay bribes of up to 25 per cent of his turnover to be able to set foot on the Chinese El Dorado.

There is also short-sightedness in the Chinese leadership who instead of responding to the lack of political reform and respect for human rights with the change, prefers oppression and a police state and thus prepares the ground for an increasingly explosive social conflict. The 180 thousand riots that break out in the country every year are just a drop in the ocean of what might happen if China and the world continue to pat each others backs to exploit the Chinese people and together suffocate their human and religious rights.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
11/24/2010 VATICAN - CHINA
Holy See condemns illicit episcopal ordination in Chengde
02/17/2012 VATICAN - CHINA-HONG KONG
Bishop John Tong, a new cardinal for Hong Kong and China
by Bernardo Cervellera
11/18/2010 VATICAN - CHINA
Holy See against an illicit Episcopal ordination and violence against bishops
11/20/2010 CHINA-VATICAN
Chengde, eight bishops in communion with Pope participate in illicit ordination
by Zhen Yuan
11/19/2010 CHINA - VATICAN
Chengde: illicit Episcopal ordination, the first in four years
by Zhen Yuan

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.