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May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium

by Bernardo Cervellera

The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.

Rome (AsiaNews) – This is the invitation / press release for the upcoming AsiaNews Symposium, to be held on May 24 from 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Pontifical Urbanianum University (Aula Magna).


Your Eminences,


Dears friends,


                The Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions and I would like to invite you to the 2017 AsiaNews Symposium, to be held at the Pontifical Urbanianum University (Via Urbano VIII, 16, 00165 Rome - Aula Magna) on May 24, 2017, from 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm.


                In his Letter to Chinese Catholics, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI asked that May 24, be celebrated as the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. On that day, faithful throughout the world are invited to pray for the unity of the Chinese Church with the Pope; For the unity of the Chinese faithful, still divided between official and underground communities; For the well-being of Chinese society and peace; For perseverance in the suffering and witness of the faithful.


                Traditionally, the AsiaNews Symposium is held in the Autumn. This year, in agreement with the Superior General of PIME, Fr. Ferruccio Brambillasca, we decided to celebrate the AsiaNews 2017 Symposium on that day, dedicating it to China, the Catholic Church and the religious development that is taking place in that country.


                Among the various appointments and testimonies, Pime's missionary in Hong Kong, Fr. Sergio Ticozzi, will present his book on the history of Pime's commitment in China from the second half of the twentieth century to present. A special edition of the volume will be available at our Symposium.


                The title of the Symposium is: "China: The Cross is Red". This has multiple meanings. First of all, the fact that Christianity in China is red for the blood of martyrs. Not only martyrs of the past, but also those of the present. The last one, whose name we know, is Fr. Wei Heping, who died in mysterious circumstances in November 2015. According to the police, he "committed suicide", but according to the faithful and his family he was assassinated.


                The Cross is also red because Christianity is likely to be absorbed into Chinese society and annihilated by state control; With a Patriotic Association that claims absolute mastery over bishops and faithful, handling rites, mixing illicit bishops and those recognized by the Holy See, isolating and immobilizing underground bishops.


                But for the Chinese red is also a sign of life and celebration. The Cross is red because Christianity can be a path of hope for many Chinese people who seek spiritual values ​​and belonging to religious communities in an increasingly vacuous and materialistic society. China's atheist government in reality governs a country where 85% of the population has some faith. And it is only likely that religious freedom will save China from social collapse, given the tensions that are building within.


The Symposium will have moments of reflection with interventions by various illustrious guests and some testimonies directly from China. It will end with a moment of prayer. Guests invited to speak are:

- Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State

- Bishop Savio Hon Taifai, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

- Prof. Richard Madsen, professor of Sociology of Religions at S. Diego University (California)

- Fr. Gianni Criveller, Pime, missionary in Hong Kong and expert sinologist

- Some testimonies of priests and lay people from China.


The symposium will conclude with a moment of prayer followed by some light refreshments.  

The Symposium can be followed in both Italian and English. A simultaneous translation service is provided.


We hope many of you will join us.


Bernardo Cervellera

AsiaNews, Editor


Rome, may 3, 2017


Members of the press are kindly requested to ensure their accreditation by writing to: segreteria@asianews.it or phone +39-06-58320223

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