Romereports.com 2011-05-24 15:37:44
May 24, 2011. (Romereports.com) Benedict XVI chose May 24, the feast of the “Blessed Mary, Help of Christians,” to pray for the Church in China.
This year, prayers seem more necessary than usual. The main conflict stems from the Patriotic Church, which is controlled by the Chinese government. Its leaders continue to appoint bishops without the authorization of the pope.
The problem is far from over. Ten more bishops will be appointed without the Vatican’s approval. That’s according to the former president of the Patriotic Association Antonio Lui Bainian. In fact, he recently said the pope shouldn’t meddle in the internal affairs of China’s Church.
Last December, 40 bishops, priests and Chinese lay people who are faithful to the pope were forced to take part in the Assembly of Catholic Representatives. It’s an institution controlled by the communist government, which is in charge of electing representatives of the Council of Bishops and the Patriotic Association. The group’s presence confused many, since they they were known for being loyal to the pope.
It’s a troubling situation filled with threats, bans and arrests. Threats against bishops, priests and their families are usual.
China has a population of roughly 1.3 billion people. Christians make up 8.6%, which adds up to 115 million people. Catholics account for only 0.6% of the population, meaning there are up to 12 million. Many of them though are divided between members of China’s state run church and those, who are often persecuted for being faithful to the Vatican.