"SHANGHAI - On the last Monday of April, this city's main Cathedral was filled with believers. They had come to honor the memory of the man who had done more than anyone to improve relations between the Vatican and China's so-called "Patriotic" Catholic Church.
Bishop Jin Luxian died last month at the age of 97. He had done his novitiate preparation
for the priesthood in France, returning to his native China in 1951,
only to be imprisoned five years later by Mao’s regime -- and would go
on to spend a total of 18 years in prison and nine in a labor camp.
Despite all of this, Jin joined the official "patriotic" Church
once he got out of prison in 1982, and worked for years trying to bring
it closer together with the clandestine communities of Catholics loyal
to Rome. The estimated 10 million Catholics in China are split between
those with allegiance to the Pope and those that practice under the
auspices of the Patriotic Church that is sanctioned by the Communist
In 2005, Monsignor Jin successfully pushed for the ordination of an assistant bishop,
who was approved both by Rome and the Chinese authorities. This event
marked the beginning of a relative thawing of relations between Beijing
and the Holy See.
But that compromise came undone in November 2010 in the northeastern
city of Chengde, when the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association resumed
the ordination of bishops who had not been previously approved by the
Pope. Members of the clergy who were faithful to Rome were forcibly taken to religious services by State security forces.
On the one hand, Beijing argues that the ordination process must be
accelerated, especially in dioceses where there is no bishop. Roman
Catholics, on the other hand, see this move as a hardening of Beijing’s
stance. What they are not sure about is whether this is part of a more
general control over human rights militants, or a stratagem on the part
of the officials in charge of Catholic affairs, who fear their power
would collapse if the improved relationship between Rome and Beijing solidified."
Click here to read the rest of this article. I hope the situation in China improves for all people so they can live in freedom, particularly the freedom to worship as they see fit.