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Beijing: churches full despite increasing state control

Catholic World News - September 20, 2011

Anthony Clark, an Asian history professor at Whitworth University, has analyzed the state of Catholicism in Beijing. Despite increasing government control, he writes, “churches continue to fill, the faithful continue to pray the rosary and chant old Chinese hymns.”

“Perhaps the most divisive recent event in the Chinese Church is the ordination of Leshan's government-appointed bishop, Lei Shiyin,” he adds. “While the local faithful might sometimes accept, to some degree, the ordination of a non-Vatican supported bishop, the rumors that the new bishop has two children has turned the country's Catholics against him in an unusually intense fashion.”

“The lack of access to its own history, married bishops, bishops with children, excommunicated bishops, and the forced ordinations of illicit bishops are among the issues confronted by the Catholics of China's massive capital city,” he continues. “But amid these trials, triumphs paradoxically emerge … Just as state control becomes tighter, the state has begun to release some of the property it had previously taken from the Church, and return it to the diocese.”

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