» 04/07/2012, 00.00
CHINA - VATICAN
Police pressure on underground community. Easter in the Church of Silence
Controls stepped up ahead of the change of leadership at the next Party Congress. A campaign to "convert" underground communities to the official Church and subject them to government policy. Arrests, "dialogue" and "study sessions".
Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Easter holiday will be "very
discreetly" celebrated this year in unofficial (underground) communities in
community leaders, bishops and priests, were in fact called in by the police
for a "conversation" and even underwent weeks of indoctrination on
the government's religious policy. Several
Church observers clearly see a campaign underway to "convert" the
underground Church and absorb it into the official church.
year - an underground priest told AsiaNews
- we will celebrate Easter in silence and discretion, without any
solemnity. In other years, we had to find locations big enough so we could
celebrate together. This year, we will celebrate
Easter in small groups. Like every year
there will also be the baptisms of adults and children. In my parish there are
10. There are less than usual this year because we wanted to raise the level of
formation, and follow the rules of the Church, to give at least a year of catechism. "
to the priest, the discretion and silence of this year is due to the fact that
the police are rather restless: in October there will be a leadership change,
with a new president and a new prime minister who will replace Hu Jintao and
priest said that he and other colleagues have received an invitation from the
police to call in for a "conversation" in which they promised to
other parts of China - said
the priest - is a bit 'more dramatic, like in Wenzhou and Tianshui".
In Wenzhou (Zhejiang),
the coadjutor bishop, Mgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, and the
chancellor, Fr. Paul
Jiang Sunian were called by police on March 19, "invited" to a
"study session" for at least a week. Bishop
Shao, 49, directs the "underground" community of Wenzhou. Appointed
by the Holy See and consecrated bishop in 2007, to promote integration between
official and unofficial, the Holy See decided that Mgr. Shao would
be the coadjutor bishop, while the ordinary is Msgr. Vincent Zhu Weifang. The two communities
are still struggling to integrate. But
the police are trying to "facilitate" this by pushing the underground
community to become part of the official Church, by signing the accession to
the Patriotic Association and the idea of a Church independent of the pope.
to sources cited by Eglises d'Asie,
the dialogue between the police, Msgr. Shao
and priests have also focused on the situation of Tianshui (Gansu), where for several months, there is a
new underground bishop in the person of Mgr. John Wang
Ruohan, former administrator of the diocese. Since January, Msgr. Wang
and some of her priests are being subjected to "study sessions" on
the government's religious policy.
events occurred in Hebei and Inner
to observers, there seems to be in a clear policy to wipeout the underground
2 March, in front of representatives of the council of Chinese bishops
(official) and the Patriotic Association, a senior official from the United
Front - which also controls religious affairs - claimed that the two
organizations should strive to achieve good results for "the
conversion of the underground community." Of
course the term "conversion" means the total submission of the
community to Chinese government policy directives.
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