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  • » 12/01/2009, 00.00

    CHINA – VATICAN

    National Assembly of Catholic Representatives postponed again

    Annie Lam

    The assembly is of one the bodies the Pope views as “irreconcilable with Catholic doctrine”. The meeting was planned for the second half of 2009. In the past Cardinal Zen asked Chinese bishops to avoid the event.
    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The postponement of the state-sponsored National Assembly of Catholic Representatives to 2010 was “a wise decision,” Church-in-China experts and some mainland bishops told AsiaNews. On several occasions, Card Joseph Zen of Hong Kong said that Chinese bishops should try to avoid joining in the event.

    About 100 Chinese Catholics, including 40 bishops, gathered in Beijing on 25 and 26 November. During the meeting, they decided to postpone the assembly, without fixing a date, Bishop Fang Xingyao of Linyi said. Wang Zuo’an, director of State Administration for Religious Affairs, attended the meeting.

    The two-day meeting was organised by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) and Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC), a body that includes bishops from the official Church that is not recognised by the Holy See. Some bishops told AsiaNews that the proposal to postpone the assembly was adopted unanimously.

    The National Assembly is the highest governing body of the Catholic Church, above both the CCPA and the BCCCC. It is a “democratic” in structure but in which bishops are a minority. It is responsible for nationwide pastoral actions, Church activities, Episcopal appointments and even theological issues. The fact that it has jurisdiction over bishops makes in incompatible with the Catholic Church.

    The CCPA had been trying for some time to organise an assembly to elected new CCPA and BCCCC presidents. Both posts have been vacant for years. CPCA President Michael Fu Tieshan (elected in 1998) died in 2007, whilst BCCCC President, Mgr Joseph Liu Yuanren, official bishop of Nanjing, died in 2005, a year after his election.

    Recently, Card Joseph Ze-kiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, wrote a number of articles and letters. In them he commented the papal Letter to Chinese Catholics, making suggestions to the bishops of China to avoid the assembly because it is “incompatible with Catholic doctrine,” according to the Pope.

    Bishops contacted by AsiaNews said that the assembly was postponed several times because of a number of events like the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic on 1 October 2009 and the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010, as well as helping the victims of Sichuan earthquake in May 2009.

    For Anthony Lam Sui-ki, a senior researcher with the Holy Spirit Study Centre of the Catholic Diocese in Hong Kong, the decision to postpone the assembly was a wise decision. It appears the Chinese government is starting to take into account reactions from outside of China. The delay will give Chinese leaders an opportunity to find solutions to the problems they with face with changes to the leadership. Mr Lam also stressed that it is abnormal for the assembly to be above the bishops’ conference.

    Kwun Ping-hung, a Hong Kong-based China-Vatican relations observer, said that a number of reasons were given for the postponement of the assembly, and that the decision was not unrelated to the China-Vatican situation. Delaying the assembly will in fact give Beijing and the Holy See more time to solve problems and find some common ground.

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    See also

    09/12/2010 CHINA – VATICAN
    Assembly elects new leadership, causing major harm to the Church
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    10/02/2018 14:38:00 CHINA – VATICAN
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    The first "independent" ordination was that of Bishop Bernardino Dong Guangqing, which took place in 1958. The director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, Wang Zuoan, reiterated the independence of China’s Catholic Church and the self-ordination of its bishops. The goals are sinicisation and subordination to the Communist Party. Is a China-Vatican agreement possible by March?



    10/11/2017 14:50:00 CHINA – VATICAN
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    Government representatives say that the transition from underground to official bishop is the result of negotiations with the Vatican. The ceremony took place with the reading of the "Letter of Approval" by the Council of Bishops and the candidate’s “patriotic” pledge. Mgr Han Zhihai is a "smart steward". On 16 November 16, the ordination of another official bishop is scheduled to take place in Handan.



    17/08/2017 16:27:00 CHINA – VATICAN
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    The first, an underground bishop not recognised by the government, was cremated and hurriedly buried. The faithful and priests were forbidden to attend the funeral Mass, and taking pictures at the service was banned. The second, a bishop with the official Church and a political advisor to the Chinese parliament, was exposed for several days honoured and his funeral was open to concelebrants and the faithful.



    30/03/2009 CHINA – VATICAN
    Persecution in China as Vatican meeting on China opens
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