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


» 04/15/2011
VATICAN - CHINA
The Holy See and the Church in China: firm and merciful
by Bernardo Cervellera
The message from the Commission on the Church in China, released today reiterates the elements necessary for ecclesial communion, after the illicit ordination of Chengde and the Assembly of Catholic representatives in Beijing. No excommunication, but the Pope stresses that faith and unity of the Church are fundamental. Process of cause for the beatification of Paul Xu Guangqi begins. On 24 May the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Firm and merciful, demanding freedom and open to dialogue with Beijing, the message to Chinese Catholics released today by the Vatican Commission for the Church in China teeters on the brink of this difficult synthesis. The April 11 to 13 meeting came after the two humiliations suffered by Benedict XVI and the Holy See with the illicit ordination of Chengde and the National Assembly of Catholic Representatives: both actions contrary to the instructions of the pope, and in the presence of bishops in communion with the Pope who, willingly or forced, were present at both events.

The message centers on these two facts and points out that the mandate of the pope is necessary for episcopal ordinations in the name of faith and should not be seen as undue meddling "in internal affairs of a state." The message reminds China of this fact, which similarly to Stalin is always fearful of Vatican  "divisions", and contemporarily those Chinese bishops, who while in formal communion with the pope, are fascinated by the "patriotism" and "independence" of a so-called "conciliar" Church.

The document is clear in recalling the canonical sanctions (excommunication) linked to acts of disobedience, and demands that every bishop justify himself and explain how and why these events occurred to the Holy See and the faithful, shocked by the affront to the dictates of the pope.

But the Message - and the pope – does not excommunicate anyone. This is because the Commission is concerned above all about the unity of the Church in China, a Church that three years after the Pope's Letter (2007) which called for reconciliation, is more divided than ever.

Hence the exhortation to "love, to forgive, and to be faithful," to "safeguard unity and ecclesial communion even at the cost of great sacrifice." Even the Pope, who was present at the Commission’s last session stressed that "the faith of the Church, laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to be defended even at the cost of sacrifices, is the foundation on which the Catholic communities in China have to grow in unity and communion. "

The text reiterates its condemnation of organisms which intruding into the life of the Church try to shape it according to "the principles of independence and autonomy, self-management and democratic administration of the Church" incompatible with Catholic doctrine. The quotation, taken from the Pope's letter to Chinese Catholics (No. 7) was intended to refer to the Assembly of Catholic representatives, which places itself above the authority of bishops, and the Patriotic Association, which controls the lives of bishops and official community.

But the document does not suggest any practical action, it merely limits itself to reaffirming ecclesial values. Many unofficial bishops ask their colleagues recognized by the government to be more decisive and courageous, by leaving the PA. But this is not happening because of fear, for fear and convenience: for the past several years the PA has implemented a campaign of "sympathy" towards bishops by giving them huge benefits (new houses, cars, money, ...) making any break, as requested by the Pope, increasingly difficult.

It is likely that it is precisely this fragility of new bishops - young in their forties who have never lived in a Church independent from the state - to push the Commission to request a more profound formation of seminarians and clergy.

Even regarding the Chinese government the stance is one of both firmness and magnanimity: the Message reiterates that the appointment of bishops belongs to the Holy See, while at the same time offering Beijing the possibility to reach an agreement on the choice of candidates.

The message, with "fear and trepidation for the future, launches an appeal (toBeijing?),"so that the problems do not grow and that the divisions are not deepened, at the expense of harmony and peace”. The PA has in fact threatened several times to proceed to appoint dozens of bishops without the consent of the Holy See, regardless of the demands of faith and communion.

As proof of its desire to collaborate with the Chinese government, the Commission states its willingness to discuss ecclesiastical divisions with it. The government, in fact, want diocese to follow the map of administrative divisions, which means obliterating ancient episcopal sees. So far, the Vatican has held together the two subdivisions, but this proposal gives way to a restructuring of the distribution of bishops in China, avoiding areas of high concentration - eg, around Beijing - and areas where the sees are rather more rare.

In this time "of disorientation and anxiety" of "pain" and "trials", the Commission (and the Church in China) is comforted by the evidence of the many missionaries and charitable commitments of priests, nuns and faithful, as well as the holiness of the Church and prayer.

The message notes that the proposal has been accepted from the diocese of Shanghai to initiate the cause of beatification of Paul Xu Guangqi, the Chinese Mandarin baptized by the Jesuits in the early seventeenth century, a great scientific personality of his time much appreciated by Chinese historians, in addition to the cause of beatification of Matteo Ricci.

It also recalls that May 24, the feast of Mary Help of Christians, celebrated at the shrine of Sheshan (near Shanghai), remains throughout the universal Church a Day of Prayer for the Church in China.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
05/23/2011 VATICAN - CHINA
Sheshan: Beijing’s war and the Pope’s “battle”
by Bernardo Cervellera
03/05/2013 VATICAN - CHINA
Xi Jinping: pendulum politics towards the Church and the Vatican
by Bernardo Cervellera
07/14/2011 VATICAN - CHINA
Few share the Pope’s "pain and concern," for the Church in China
by Bernardo Cervellera
02/08/2012 CHINA-VATICAN
What is the true good of the Church in China
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun
07/20/2011 CHINA - VATICAN
Chinese youth at WYD in Madrid: a dream come true

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.