The chancellor of the diocese criticizes the projection of political symbols onto the monument, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. Flag raising ceremony and national anthem sun in churches and temples across China. Bishops and priests like state officials.
Macao (AsiaNews) - With a touch of elegance and in a very dialogical way, the diocese of Macao has criticized the "mapping show" dedicated to 70 years of popular China (with symbols of the Chinese Communist Party) projected onto the facade of the ruins of the church of Saint Paul (see photo). In a statement released yesterday, the diocese's chancellor, Cyril Jerome Law, asked that "the use of historical monuments" correspond to their religious character. For this reason, any other "mapping show" in the future should have a content "linked to the religious context of the monument". It should be noted that the ruins of the church (dedicated to the Mother of God and commonly called "ruins of St. Paul", no longer belongs to the Catholic Church, but to the government of the city. In any case, the statement explains, "it remains a symbol of Catholic faith in Macao" and misuse by the government has provoked criticism among the faithful.
The monument, which dates back to the 17th century, also originally included the St. Paul Jesuit college and was the center of the missionary activity of the order in Asia for many centuries.
The distinction between the sacred and the profane, religious and political is difficult to make clear in China, where the Churches and official religions are subjected to the power of the Party, so much to make priests and bishops as true officials of the State. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, the flag raising ceremony was held in all the official churches and the national anthem was sung before the liturgical celebrations (see video). Below, the text of the Diocese of Macao declaration.
The Macao Government Tourism Office organised a three-day “mapping show” (from 29 September on), with projection of images onto the façade of the Church of the Mother of God (Ruins of St Paul’s). Some faithful of the Diocese have expressed strong views over the matter.
The façade of the Ruins of St Paul’s is not only an iconic landmark of the city, it is also rich in historical and religious significance. Although the façade is no longer church property, it remains a symbol of the Catholic Faith in Macau. Faithful of different nationalities have deep feelings towards and a sense of identity with it.
The show in question evoked reactions of discontent from quite a number of faithful of different nationalities, since it is deemed that the use of the historical monuments ought to correspond to its intended character. As the façade of St Paul’s represents the profound and long-standing Catholic heritage in Macau, the Diocese wishes to propose that, should there be other “mapping shows” to be held in the future, their contents would do well to be related to the religious context of the said monument. The Diocese is willing to engage in dialogue and to exchange ideas with relevant agencies, in the common endeavour to preserve and promote the precious historical monuments of Macau.
Rev. Cyril Jerome LAW, Jr.
2 October 2019