07/24/2017, 09.36
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60 years of the Chinese Patriotic Association: the Church subordinated to Politics

by Shan Ren Shen Fu (山人神父)

Although in a low key - perhaps because of talks with the Vatican - the slogan for an "autonomous" and "independent" Church (from the Holy See) is completely subjugated to Party politics. Official bishops die like "state officials" far from the faithful. The Party forces its members to atheism. There are few  "witnesses" among official bishops and many  "opportunists".


Beijing (AsiaNews) - On July 19, in a hall adjacent to the Great Hall of the People, the 60th anniversary of the Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics (PA) was celebrated. Wanted by Mao Zedong to control and suffocate the life of the Church, the association has as a criterion for routing Catholics to the service of socialism, at the same time building a Church that is "autonomous" and "independent" of foreign forces ( in short the Holy See). In his Letter to Chinese Catholics, Benedict XVI termed the PA statutes as "incompatible" with Catholic doctrine. Despite this, many bishops are part of it, hoping to safeguard the bond with the Pope even if in a very polarized situation. Others are part and behave like "opportunists" (as defined by Benedict XVI). About 60 bishops were present at the commemoration meeting in Beijing. A priest of the official Church gives a bitter analysis of the celebrations.

The Catholic Church in China celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Patriotic Association. The anniversary was low key, without any grand celebrations but only with a commemoration. Except for the invitation to many bishops, there was no great public propaganda of the event.

The commemoration of the Sichuan Patriotic Association of the 67th Anniversary of the Proclamation Movement for Autonomy by Rev. Wang Liangzuo, with the ceremony of his translation into a new grave, was relatively quiet both on the part of the assembly and those presiding: after the ceremony, the official local website published just one photo.

The relatively low key commemoration this year is in relation to the negotiations between China and the Vatican, though they have not kept silence about the detention of the bishop of Wenzhou, Msgr. Shao Zhumin. Pope Francis has voiced his concern, but the Foreign Ministry spokesman reacted forcefully to the Vatican declaration.

In the Catholic Church in China, the disappearance of a bishop for no reason can not simply be considered a substantial fact because there has been no explanation given to date and no office assumes public responsibility, saying that its officials were detaining Msgr. Shao. Either way, the disappearance of bishops of the Catholic Church is not only an unclear and ambiguous act that goes unclaimed, it is not even recognized as religious persecution: this is an outright contradiction. It is akin to the behavoir of terrorists?

The 60th anniversary of the Patriotic Association, albeit in a low key, has made no mention of the commemoration. The slogan of 'autonomy and independence' is actually proclaimed only by the Church in China against the Vatican, because in the New China, the Catholic Church is  "still not independent" or "autonomous": The reason is simple. The Director of State Administration for Religious Affairs, Wang Zuo'an in a recent issue of Qiushi, wrote: "To do a good job in the religious field, one must pay attention to politics!" That is why the Catholic Church in China can not rid itself of politics. Politics is trying by all available means to interfere with Religion. The Catholic Church in China has never been autonomous or independent. Director Wang in his article uses Lenin's phrase to emphasize: "Even if religion is really considered as a private matter of an individual, it will arouse a major political problem."

"Religion is not a matter of little importance" is a slogan that was proposed a long time ago. From the attitude of Xi Guanxing, who considered that he was surrounded by enemies, to date, despite an apparent willingness to negotiate with the Vatican, in reality these negotiations have as a basic precondition for the Catholic Church to remain strictly under Party control. In China there is no people, there are only people's representatives. Likewise, in the Church in China there is no mass of faithful, but there are only the representatives of the faithful. As a result,  no matter whether you agree or disagree, you are represented in front of the world. The explanation of the offenses of the Chinese people's feelings and the offenses of the feelings of the masses of believers is the same.

A few years ago, a former researcher at the Academy of Social Sciences, Ren Yanli wrote: "The state must not administer religion. The clergy should not be subject to politics. " At the end of his article he says: Mount Jiangshan is ours, if it is in disorder, it is not the enemy's fault, but ours. If we do not speak of faith, but only of reality, does the present state of the Catholic Church in China give it to the Vatican? If [such a state] is penitent and unsustainable, will it not be so for our people and for this land? "

Director Wang Zuo'an said that a Party member can not believe in Religion, but a large number of believers in the country (bishops, priests, nuns, patriotic faithful) faced with the request to become Party members, what pains must they feel? The late bishop of Beijing, Fu Tieshan, was a vice-president of the National People's Assembly. When he died he was covered in the national flag. At his funeral he was remembered as vice-president and not as bishop. From this one sees that if one becomes bishop, you belong to the state and not to the Church. Consequently, bishops are in some respects state officials, dependent on politics, so in key moments they must obey the state and not the Church.

Bishop Jin Luxian and Msgr. Zhu Weifang before dying as bishops were state-protected property. State employees enjoy protection 24 hours a day: priests could not approach them, not to mention the faithful, so they did not leave any oral testaments because there was no one to trust at their bedside at the end of their lives .

"The woman of commerce does not know the shame of the defeat of the country, along the banks of the river, she sings and cares for the flowers of the garden." These verses of Du Mu express the current status of the Catholic Church in China. Some say that although the bishops have to agree to frequent meetings in Beijing, their obedience ensures the development of the diocese's affairs. The fruits of a bishop's sacrifice assures the peaceful development of the diocese: in the eyes of the Lord is it perhaps valid? If it is valid, it is strange. The bishop is the witness of the truth and the protector of justice. Now truth has been captured by the policy of an atheist state that demands independence and autonomy. Justice has become oppression. Before the eyes of the world, truth has lost its witnesses, and has only opportunists. Is this a glorious prosperity or falsehood?

Director Wang Zuo'an clearly states that the origin of Religion does not come from heaven but from men. According to Karl Marx's view, religion one day will be eliminated. Party members who now believe in Religion are undergoing re-education to abandon it. If so, how can our Catholics (especially the bishops) remain faithful to the Lord and obey the atheist government? Do we, at the end of the count, want to deceive the Lord, or deceive the government or deceive ourselves?

I wrote this article not because today is the commemoration of the Patriotic Association, but because it reminds us of the continued suffering that from 1950 to 1957 the Church in China endured. The legacy of the Church left by the Republic has been destroyed. Then from July 15 to August 2, 1957, in Beijing, in a non-free gathering, the Patriotic Association was founded and after 60 years it is remembered that "we must continue the glorious traditions, and not forget the shame." The 'cultural line', 'the three and five against', 'the campaign of free expression' 'the anti-right movement' of those years [the various campaigns launched by Mao Zedong against his enemies] We must remember them as 'glorious traditions'. Only the Catholic Church - pitifully and with ambiguous feelings - continues to proclaim them without sincerity, changing the no to yes ....

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