‘Underground’ Catholics near despair over prospect of Vatican-Beijing accord
November 07, 2016
Catholics of the “underground” Church in China are close to despair over the Vatican’s drive toward an agreement with the Chinese government, reports Father Bernardo Cervellera of the AsiaNews service.
The “underground” Catholics, who have suffered harassment because of their determination to remain loyal to the Holy See, fear that the Vatican will sacrifice their welfare in order to reach an agreement with Beijing. The Vatican has arranged meetings and symbolic exhanges with representatives of the government-approved “official” Church, they note; there have not been corresponding events with “underground” clerics.
Far more telling, Father Cervellera observes, no bishops have been appointed for the “underground” Church during the past 20 years; only apostolic administrators have been put in place to serve vacant dioceses. Without new bishops, the “underground” Church faces eventual extinction.
According to widely circulated reports, the Vatican and the Chinese government are close to an agreement that would provide for recognition of new bishops for the “official” Church. However, the accord reportedly does not resolve the status of the “underground” bishops whose work the government still obstructs.
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