April 2, 2009-
For the first time in years, the Vatican has explicitly denounced the persecution of Catholics in China, a sign that the Church is becoming increasingly concerned over the situation of Catholics in that country and is shifting gears in attitude.
The Vatican sponsored a special commission last week for the second time in two years, to discuss the situation of the Catholic church in China, which continues to be of concern because of constant oppression by the communist regime.
A few weeks before the conference, Cardinal Joseph Zen, Bishop of Hong Kong, told Rome Reports that even though the people of China are under communist rule, they are still loyal to their country, and not necessarily to their government.
Cardinal Joseph Zen
Bishop of Hong Kong
“Everybody loves their own country. But you are not bound to love the communist party. We love our country. Everything we are doing and saying is just because we love our country. Because we see that this way of dealing with the church denying the freedom is a shame for our country.”
Just last week, while the commission was just beginning in the Vatican, Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding was arrested for a second time, a common incident for the Catholic China.
The published summary of the special commission detailed other persecutions and incidents that add to the widespread notion of the Chinese government’s violation of religious freedoms.
According to a statement published by the Vatican, the meeting had a special focus on the formation of seminarians and clergy. Something that, like most pastoral activities in China, are under close watch and often prohibited.