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Chinese Catholics shaken by 'underground' bishop's choice to join Patriotic Association

November 04, 2009

The decision by Bishop Francis An Shuxin to join the government-back Patriotic Association, after years of leadership in the 'underground' Church, has dismayed and divided the faithful in the Baoding diocese, the AsiaNews service reports. After years of leading resistance against government control, the bishop apparently joined the Patriotic Association in order to win government recognition-- and despite the clear statement of Pope Benedict XVI that the purpose of the Patriotic Association is "incompatible with Catholic doctrine."

Chinese Catholics continue to question whether Vatican efforts to improve relations with the Beijing regime were a factor in the bishop's surprising choice, AsiaNews reports. While officials of the Congregation for Evangelization insist that they did not approve the step, some Chinese clerics question whether Bishop An Shuxin had receive adequate support from Rome for his efforts to remain independent.


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