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Chinese bishop challenges Synod participants

Catholic World News - October 16, 2012

“I am very saddened that you cannot hear any voice from the Chinese Church.” Those were the words of an aged Chinese prelate, in a message that was delivered to participants in the Synod of Bishops on Tuesday, October 16.

Bishop Luke Li Jing Feng of Fengxiang sent a written message to the Synod, since he was unable to attend the meetings in Rome. His message was read aloud to the gathering by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops.

At the age of 90, Bishop Feng has spent 20 years in Chinese prisons. “I want to say that our Church in China, in particular the laity, has always maintained the piety, faithfulness, sincerity and devotion of the first Christians, even whilst undergoing 50 years of persecution,” he wrote. The Chinese bishop challenged the Synod fathers:

In the Year of Faith, in your Synod discussions, you can examine why our faith in China was able to remain indefectible until now. As the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tse put it, “As calamity generates prosperity, so in weakness calamity hides.” In the churches outside of China, tepidness, unfaithfulness and secularism of the faithful have infected clergymen. In the Chinese Church, lay people are more pious than the clergy. And I believe that our faith as Chinese Christians can console the Pope. I shall not talk about politics because it is transient.
In another intervention at the Synod, Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta reported that many people in Indonesia are attracted to the Catholic Church when they hear prayers in their native language at weddings or funerals. Indonesia is a primarily Muslim country, and the people are accustomed to hearing religious services conducted in Arabic, a language they do not use. They are stirred by the words of the religious language, and want to learn more about Christianity, the archbishop said.

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