Thought for the Day – 9 July – The Memorial of Saints St Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions, Martyrs of China (Died 1648–1930)
“This past Christmas, Catholics in China rejoiced, despite the ongoing tensions between the “underground” and state-recognised church. For the first time in more than six decades, the faithful openly celebrated as one flock, the incarnation of the eternal Word. For the Catholic community in the Middle Kingdom, Christ’s prayer made in agony, “that they be one,” was finally realised.
The quest for unity in the Chinese Catholic Church has been a long one. The current phase can be traced to the 1950s, when Chairman Mao Zedong closed all churches and the “underground” church developed. In the late 1970s, when the government established the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (C.C.P.A.), the underground church was invited to come under government registration. Some of the faithful and members of the clergy accepted. Many did not. With a new agreement between the Vatican and China on the appointment of bishops, the Catholic Church in China has entered a new era.
It is true that the September 2018 accord between Beijing and the Vatican entails significant structural and political challenges and risks but untold hours of the difficult work of dialogue, by many players from both the underground and the registered church—especially in recent decades—have left the church in a better position to navigate the challenges to come.
…One of the most esteemed priests from the unregistered church, Father Luo Wen, made a plea for unity to his brother priests and faithful during a convocation of priests last December: “This is about our faith, not about our opinion or even principles….Faithfulness to the church was the reason we went underground. The same reason, faithfulness, is why we now embrace the accord.” This perspective is shared by Bishop Guo himself, who said, “The main purpose of our work is to try to preserve the integrity of our faith, not the pursuit of our rights or personal honour when obedience and humility are at stake.””
(Excerpt – Article 21 March 2019 by John A Worthley, America Magazine)
This Video is well worth watching. It gives a balanced and encompassing view of the situation in the Church in China.