TruNews: Chinese Catholicism Turns 60

Thursday, August 10, 2017

August 08, 2017

In China, churches are strictly controlled by their local state governments, and persecution of Bible believing Christians is commonplace, but a recent article in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post suggests things are getting better.

Until you get below the fold.

The newspaper points out that Chinese Catholicism reached a milestone anniversary on Aug. 2, which was the 60th anniversary of its founding. Among the 1.4 billion Chinese, there are roughly 5.5 million members of the officially sanctioned organization—which teaches a quasi-Catholic theology that is China-centric, according to the article:

A man receives Holy Communion at mass at the
state-controlled Xishiku Cathedral in Beijing. 
The official church is overseen by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, an organisation founded 60 years ago this month to make sure Catholics toe the Communist Party and government line ... 
Over the last few years, one of the association’s key roles has been to “localise”, or “sinocise”, Catholicism. President Xi Jinping first embarked on the localisation push in 2015 and it was raised again at a key national religious work conference in April, where the process was described as “an important step to guide religions to fit socialist society”. 
The localisation message was reinforced when Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, greeted leaders from the association two weeks ago at an event to mark the 60th anniversary. 
“Interpretations of the teachings and dogmas should match the needs of China’s development and the great traditional culture ... and proactively fit into the Chinese characteristics of a socialist society,” Xinhua quoted Yu as saying.

The Chinese government insists what it's doing won't deviate from "Catholic teachings and dogmas," but would rather "bringing the gospel to China in a fashion to fit the characteristics of communist China." But there are a lot of hiccups for both Beijing and the Vatican, stemming largely from the fact that they rarely agree on who should become a bishop—a key requirement for both sides, each of which believes ordination is its sovereign domain.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Catholics in the country have aschewed the government-controlled churches and are attending "underground churches." Some 5 million additional Catholics are thought to take part in these services, which carry the danger of being caught by the government, which could lead to any number of forms of persecution and punishment, the worst of which, arguably, are the so-called "black jails."

These extra-legal facilities are run by government security services and private security contractors for the purpose of rounding up those who would insist on using the Chinese cultural right of petition to seek religious freedom and other human rights. China Aid, which tracks these abductions and reports them, has seen a sharp uptick in abuses since President Xi Jinping came into power.

Still, as the South China Morning Post reports, there's hope:

Retiree Auntie Wang, 61, doesn’t see eye to eye with state-appointed bishops but she attends mass daily at the officially sanctioned church in Beijing. 
“I was a member of the Communist Party and a civil servant but I quit the party as soon as I retired,” Wang said. 
“Our faith belongs to the pope and God. I understand the church is endorsed by the state but we are not here to worship anyone but God.”


ChinaAid Media Team
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