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Beijing Bishops Comments Raise Concerns About Loyalty To Rome

According to the news agency Asia News, the bishop recently gave a sermon where he called on the faithful to “love the fatherland and love the Church.” ; That phrase is meant to emphasize that the loyalty to the Church comes second to the Communist Party. ; It was coined by the government-founded Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, an organization created more than 50 years ago to ensure that Chinese Catholics remain loyal to Beijing, not to Rome. ; ;

What is unclear is whether these comments are Bishop Shan’s own words or whether he is reading them under political pressure from the government. ; During the past few months, the pressures have been increasing. ; ;

The allegiance of Catholics to Rome or Beijing is a sore point between the Vatican and the Chinese government. ;

In the Pope’s letter to Chinese Catholics published in June of 2007, he reminded that the Patriotic Association’s principles of independence and autonomy regarding the Church were “incompatible with Catholic doctrine.” ;

A year later, Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone sent another letter to Chinese bishops. ; Bertone stressed the importance of the bishops being in communion with the Pope and themselves. ; ; He also urged Chinese bishops to demand the right to meet as a group and freely discuss issues amongst themselves free of any outside interference. ;

DDS