A recent short look at the Church in China

America Magazine, the American Jesuit review where James Martin is an editor- at- large no less, very recently offered this little effort on Catholics in China.

Very clearly Jesuit in tone and substance, but worth a look anyway. Please do so. I think Cardinal Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, would note in this short review many of the cracks that are being papered over in current Vatican policy towards China.



About GC

Poor sinner.
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4 Responses to A recent short look at the Church in China

  1. kathleen says:

    I watched the video, GC, and found it quite interesting in parts…
    But (and it’s a big “but”)… yes indeed, there was undoubtedly a Jesuitical tone to the script! They totally fail to point out what the faithful Catholics of the underground Catholic Church has had to suffer over many years, including imprisonments, torture and even killings of members of their priests and bishops, for their heroic stand against allowing the pushy Communist authorities to dictate to them certain lies and falsehoods. They want to place their own progressive bishops into the Church in China, and thus maintain a say on all contentious matters. Not least of these is their controversial one child policy. Is it any wonder the underground Church resists this interference?

    Cardinal Zen has also voiced real fear that the Vatican will sell out China’s underground Church, thanks to Pope Francis “naive” understanding of the instrinsc evil of Communism in his recent talks “in pursuit of a deal with Bejing”!


  2. GC says:

    Thanks, kathleen. I am still wondering how my publication of this video is recorded as 9 November when I actually published it fairly late in the evening of 10 November!

    Yes, quite a Jesuit-centric video, wasn’t it? At the Jesuit church a few miles from me here in the Golden Chersonese I have often noted how the Jays there are very “focused” (shall we say?) on “being Jesuits”.

    Cardinal Zen is indeed rigidly opposed to current Vatican policy and accuses those Vatican types of freely allowing the Communist party of China to administer the Church there.

    There was an article in America at the time the video first appeared, written by that snowy-headed prize-winning journalist chap in the video, Ian Johnson. Quite a lot more balanced than the video actually:

    How the top-heavy Catholic Church is losing the ground game in China.


  3. GC says:

    kathleen, are you still there?

    Cardinal Zen was up in arms again in a Mass he offered in Hong Kong very recently when he recalled the death of Father Wei Heping two years ago. Father’s body was found dumped in a river in the general region of that 100% Catholic village mentioned in the video, Dong’ergou, in northern Shanxi province.

    Card. Joseph Zen, Emeritus Bishop of Hong Kong, has asked God to save the Holy See “from the brink of the precipice and not sell out the faithful Church [to the Chinese government]”

    Pointing out that “the Holy See is not necessarily the Pope,” the cardinal remarked that in recent years, in which an initial dialogue between Beijing and the Vatican is taking place, the Holy See has often remained silent about the grave events of the Chinese Church such as death of Fr. Wei, the captivity of Msgr. Giacomo Su Zhimin, the destruction of crosses and churches in Zhejiang.

    “The Holy See is ceaselessly compromising and has even arrived at the point of selling itself out to appease. This is by no means what God expects of the Church and by no means faithful to the mission that Christ gave the Apostles. “

    Mass for a deceased underground priest. Card. Zen asks for God ‘s grace to save the Church in China and the Holy See from the ‘precipice’

    The Salesian Cardinal Zen is Shanghai-born (hence his unusual-sounding surname, which would normally be Chan in the Cantonese language of Hong Kong and Chen in Mandarin) and was Bishop of Hong Kong until 2009. While first being busy for years in Salesian affairs and schooling in Hong Kong he was also very active in the education of priests in the mainland in those years previously when the Church was hoping to be given due recognition and greater liberty in China.

    Any hope for greater Church freedom seems to have fallen with a clunk by the wayside with the rise of the current leader of China, Xi Jinping, who appears determined to bring religious bodies back under party control. He has also recently apotheosised himself by having himself lodged up there with Chairman Mao and Deng Xiaoping in the Communist firmament.


  4. kathleen says:

    Hi GC…. Yes, I’m back again, though I expect you are fast asleep by now on your beautiful Golden Chersonese 😉.
    I didn’t reply to you this morning as I had still not got around to reading your link yesterday to the America article. Now I’ve done so; it’s really excellent (despite the somewhat dubious reputation of this magazine), yet its well-researched report on the situation of Catholics, together with some moving personal stories, truly pulls on one’s heartstrings, doesn’t it? It is disappointing, but given the described circumstances, not surprising, that the hoped-for growth of Catholicism in China has been recently thwarted.

    I remember watching that lovely video above of this charismatic Cardinal on the World Over last year, but was glad to see it again. I think we should all join good Card. Zen in praying hard for China and its +10 million Catholics who are suffering so many challenges and difficulties at this time. Pope Francis and his advisors’ evident ignorance of the true situation doesn’t help matters, but leaves them open to manipulation by the Chinese regime. The Atheistic/Communist Chinese government has anything but the Catholic Church’s good and evangelisation at heart! How frustrating the refusal of the Vatican to listen to his warnings must be for Card. Zen!

    The other report you link to – so sad! – just goes further to prove this point. How can the Holy See remain silent at such horrors as the death of these faithful priests and the destruction of crosses and churches? It’s unbelievable, and must appear callous and insensitive to the loyal Chinese Catholics.
    I expect you, like me, are wondering how our dear old friend and former team-mate, Teresa, is faring now that she has returned to China. I would love to know.

    Many thanks for all your information, GC – I’m really grateful to you.Your inside knowledge of China is so helpful for a better understanding of this fascinating country with its massive population.


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