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Catholic World News News Feature

Pope invites Chinese bishops to Synod meeting September 08, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI has named 4 Chinese bishops to participate in the coming Synod of Bishops, and Vatican officials are hopeful that the Beijing government will allow the prelates to attend the October Synod meetings in Rome, the AsiaNews service reports.

On September 8, the Vatican released a list of 36 bishops who have been named by Pope Benedict to join in the Synod deliberations. Four bishops from mainland China were on the list: Archbishop Anthony Li Duan of Xian, Bishop Louis Jin Luxian of Shanghai, Bishop Joseh Wei Jingyi of Qiqihar, and Bishop Luke Li Jingfen of Fengxiang.

Among those four, one-- Bishop Wei Jingyi-- is not recognized by the Chinese government. Another, Bishop Li Jingfeng, only recently gained the government's recognition. This is the first time since the dawn of Communism in China that the Pope has invited bishops of the non-official Church to Rome.

The Chinese government allows religious activities only under the auspices of the state-sponsored Catholic Patriotic Association. Catholics who resist that control make up the non-official or "underground" Church, loyal to Rome, which is considered an illegal organization and subject to frequent government harassment.

[For a report and analysis of the invitation, see the AsiaNews web site.]

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