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By now it is clear to everyone — even Vatican diplomats, presumably — that things are going from bad to worse for Catholics in China. The secret Sino-Vatican agreement that was supposed to provide some protection for the Catholic Church in China has instead been turned on its head. It is perversely being used by the Communist authorities to crush the long-suffering but faithful Underground Catholic Church while the Vatican stands silently by.
The Communist authorities are telling Underground bishops, priests, and laity that the new agreement not only requires them to register with the government, but to join the so-called “Catholic Patriotic Association.” This nearly all of them refuse to do, since they know that the Patriotic Association is not in communion with Rome.
Punishment - Communists - Resisters - Churches - Shrines
As punishment, the Communists have begun arresting resisters and demolishing their churches and shrines. The Underground Diocese of Fengxiang, Shaanxi province, has been particularly hard hit. On April 4, 2019, a newly built church in the diocese, still under construction, was destroyed as parishioners looked on in horror.
But even churches and shrines that have stood for centuries are being reduced to rubble. Last October, shortly after the signing of the Sino-Vatican agreement, the beautiful shrine of Our Lady of the Mountain, located in Yunnan province, was razed to the ground.
Vatican - Blind - Eye - Pressure - Bishops
The Vatican seems to be turning a blind eye to the pressure on bishops and priests to join the schismatic Catholic Patriotic Association, perhaps on the grounds that it may provide a safe haven for Catholics in China, but in this, it is mistaken. Being a “Patriotic” bishop does not provide automatic immunity from persecution. Nor does being a “Patriotic” parish necessarily protect the parish church from the wrecking ball.
Take the Qianwang Catholic Church in Jinan City, Shandong province, for example, which dates from 1750. Despite being an...
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