12/02/2019, 13.10
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Bishop Fang Xingyao: The homeland before the Church; Chinese law before Canon law

The bishop of Linyi (Shandong) is a member of the CPCPC Standing Committee (Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference), president of the Patriotic Association; Vice-President of the Council of Chinese Bishops. The sorrow of many Catholics. For the Holy See, love for the homeland and love for the Church are on the same level. But Chinese faithful also ask for religious freedom and to be able to "work for justice".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - "Love for the homeland must be greater than the love for the Church and the law of the country is above Canon law," declared Msgr. Fang Xingyao to the Political Consultative Conference on Religions held last November 26 in the capital.

The meeting, chaired by Wang Yang (see photo), president of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCCP) and a member of the Communist Party Central Committee, was held in the Golden Hall of the CPPCC headquarters and saw the participation of experts, academics, religious figures and political advisers.

The aim of the gathering is to develop "a religious ideological system with Chinese characteristics in line with the demands of the times", according to the "synicization" invoked by President Xi Jinping. This risks subjugating religions to Communist Party domination even theologically speaking.

Msgr. Giovanni Fang Xingyao is bishop of Linyi (Shandong) and is a member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee. He is also president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and vice-president of the Council of Chinese Bishops. Both of these two bodies are not recognized by the Holy See.

Msgr. Fang Xingyao’s statement was reported in a long article published on the CPCPC website, which also gives a summary of the interventions of representatives of other official religions in China, all of them exalting patriotism.

The words of Msgr. Fang Xingyao, on the greater importance of love for the homeland and national law, have upset several Chinese Catholics, seen as something that pollutes the relationship of unity with the Holy See. The Holy See has always said that "a good Catholic" is also a "good citizen", putting love for the homeland and love for the Church on the same level. Even Benedict XVI, in his Letter to Chinese Catholics (of 2007) underlines this parity, asking the government for spaces for religious freedom for the Church to "promote justice" (No. 4).

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