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Anti-Catholic Crackdown in China

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 28, 2003

From the Telegraph (UK):

Twelve underground Roman Catholic priests and seminarians have been arrested in China in a crackdown prompted by government fears of a religious revival.

They were detained in a raid on a retreat they were attending in Gaocheng, in the northern province of Hebei, said the Cardinal Kung Foundation, a US-based religious rights group. An unauthorised church was bulldozed in a nearby village this year.

Religious gatherings are banned in China unless held under the auspices of state-approved religious groups. China broke links with the Vatican in the 1950s and has its own Catholic church, which pledges loyalty to Beijing instead of the Pope.

In the Pope's most recent list of new cardinals, it was widely assumed that one appointed in pectore -- without his name being given, for his own protection -- was Chinese.
The suggestion of a Chinese cardinal in pectore is especially interesting, given the appalling situation of loyal Catholics in China. M. A. Thiessen's excellent article in Crisis magazine of last year discusses the heartbreaking divisions caused by government pressure to support the Patriotic Association. The case of Jesuit Aloysius Jin, the bogus archbishop of Shanghai, is especially sad. Sentenced to 18 years in prison, he eventually succumbed to coercion and became a mouthpiece for the government Church, in exchange for which he was made an archbishop.
Margaret Chu, a lay Catholic who spent 23 years in prison and labor camps, writes of the 1955 crackdown: "I was particularly shocked when I learned what my spiritual director, Father Aloysius Jin, S.J., had done after his arrest. He was a very eloquent priest ... and had great influence among the faithful. Soon after he was arrested, he recorded a tape to persuade loyal Catholics to support the Communist government. This tape was used for broadcast in many prisons. Many of my friends heard this tape in jail."

According to Theissen, Jin (albeit with a certain embarrassment) continues to mouth the pro-Communist line, insisting that Chinese Catholics enjoy freedom of worship. In the East too the Eighth Commandment presents a major stumbling block for bishops. The entire article is worth a careful read.

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