Official and underground priests unsatisfied with Assembly and participating bishops

Official and underground priests unsatisfied with Assembly and participating bishops

The emphasis on “independence” and “autonomy” does not bode well for dialogue between China and the Vatican. The Religious Affairs Bureau asks the Holy See for “flexibility and pragmatism.” The Assembly is like a theater in which all the scripts are already written. The participating bishops confuse the red of their skullcaps – the blood of the martyrs – with the red of the regime’s ideology.

[Unlike the rump convocation of bishops called by King Henry VIII of England to ratify his divorce from his legitimate wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon, and marriage to his whore, Anne Boleyn, as well as eventually to add to the litany the petition “From the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome and his detestable enormities, deliver us, O Lord” because of the opposition of popes of that time to the divorce/remarriage, the current Bishop of Rome and his detestable enormities have no apparent problems with this ChiCom-controlled rump assembly of bishops]

Wang Zhicheng

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Skepticism towards the true “bosses” of the Assembly; bitterness at the lack of positive signs towards the Vatican; pain for participating bishops, who have “sold out” to the Chinese Communist Party. These are the immediate reactions of some Chinese priests from both the official and underground community in China, shared with AsiaNews, to the Ninth Assembly of Chinese Catholic Representatives being held in Beijing from December 26 and concluding this afternoon.

The Assembly is “incompatible with Catholic doctrine,” according to Pope Benedict XVI and according to Pope Francis. The Vatican had asked bishops not to take part in the last Assembly. This time, while reaffirming in a “note” the irreconcilable position, it did not pose any ban on participation reserving the right to judge the Assembly on the basis of “concrete facts” and waiting for “positive signals” from the government to help build “trust in dialogue between the civil authorities and the Holy See “.

In speeches to the Assembly, those of bishops were filled with slogans of “independence”, “autonomy”, “self-management”, in line with the rhetoric of the Party and the Patriotic Association that wants to build a Church “independent” of the Holy See.

The culmination of such statements was the speech given by Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA). Yesterday, speaking to the Assembly, he reiterated the need for the Vatican to be “flexible and pragmatic”, accepting the current situation in which SARA and the PA decide the appointment of bishops and the general policy of the Church under their control.

Fr. Joseph, a priest of central China, after noticing that in the election of the new leadership of the Assembly, there has been “no significant change” and that the principles of “independence” and “autonomy” continue to be defended and proclaimed, adds: “it ‘clear that the hoped-for positive signal from the Vatican has not appeared and that what SARA’s Wang Zuoan said, his hope that the Vatican prove’ flexible and pragmatic’, is the response to the declaration of the Holy See made before the Ninth Assembly”.

Another comment from Fr. Peter, North China, sees the Assembly as a theater where everyone plays a part. He questions “who is” the true weaver and puppeteer. It must be said that in fact, the Ninth Assembly was held on the back of the insistent wishes of SARA the United Front and the PA which have been preparing the meeting for months, visiting bishops and other representatives, preparing the candidates for the elections.

“At the beginning – said Fr. Peter – I did not have much to say on the Ninth Assembly: outside and inside the everything seemed to be a staged theatrical representation, and those on stage or off it are the actors. Everything was very well planned: the assignment of roles, their scripts, the well-chosen audience, who raised their hands to vote and approve content, the media coverage … Everything was like a perfectly executed show staged by an “office manager.” But people wonder: Is this ‘office manager’ not that entity which is called the ‘Catholic Church in China’? For my part I say: They may have spent the money from this entity, but the driver and those making the decisions are not from the Church in China”.

A priest of the underground Church is critical of the bishops who participated in the Assembly, given the “note” “irreconcilable with Catholic doctrine”. “I wonder – he says – if their consciences do not feel remorse. In the first three days after Christmas, the Church’s liturgy celebrates martyrs and witnesses [St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist, the innocent martyrs]. In Beijing, did they celebrate mass and meditate on the readings of the liturgy? The color of a bishop’s skull cap is red, and symbolizes their readiness to shed blood for their flock. Do they think the red of their skull is the same red of the Chinese regime and has the same meaning? “.

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One comment on “Official and underground priests unsatisfied with Assembly and participating bishops

  1. [ChiCom] Politburo members receive “Catholic” representatives of Ninth Assembly

    Bishops and laity met Yu Zhengsheng, a permanent member of the Politburo, Liu Yandong, the State Council, Sun Chunlan, director of the United Front. Video of the meeting. The Assembly ended today with Eucharistic adoration. Masses during these days presided by legitimate and illegitimate bishops; some bishops did not celebrate.

    Elizabeth Li

    Beijing (AsiaNews) – Catholic representatives of the Ninth Assembly were received today by Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee. Yu is also chairman of the national Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference , which includes some Catholic bishops. The meeting took place in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square.

    As reported by Xinhua, the new leadership of the Patriotic Association (PA) and the Council of Bishops (CB), as well as several participants, were well received by Liu Yandong, vice-premier of the State Council and member of the Politburo and Sun Chunlan, also a Politburo member and director of United Front Work Department of Communist Party, and heads of relevant departments also attended the meeting.

    Yu said over the past six years since the Eighth Assembly, the Patriotic Association and Bishops Council assisted the authorities to implement their religious policy and to contribute the national economic social development.

    Yu cited the Xi Jinping speech on religions, held last April, in which the president stressed the urgent need to join and develop religious theories on socialism with Chinese characteristics and raise the level of religious commitment, supporting the formation of religious groups and personnel. Yu expressed the hope that the new leadership of the Catholic community will hasten a new situation for the Church in China.

    The event was filmed and broadcast by Central State television (see here).

    Immediately after the Catholic representatives headed to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Nan Tang) for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and at the conclusion of prayer. The adoration and the blessing was presided by Msgr. Ma Yinglin, an illegitamte bishop of Kunming and president of the Council of Bishops.

    AsiaNews sources have indicated that in each of the three days of the Assembly Masses were celebrated. The presiders of the three celebrations were respectively Msgr. Fang Xinyao, Msgr. Ma Yinglin, Msgr. Shen Bin of Haimen. Some bishops did not concelebrate.

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