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The China-Vatican Betrayal - 3

China Follow up: Bishop Arrested,
Shrines Destroyed

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
My friend Jan recently asked if I had heard any more news since the disastrous Vatican agreement with China that allows the communist-controlled Chinese “Catholic” Patriotic Association (CPA) to nominate bishops and instructs the Underground Church to unite with it (here and here).

Her question is a vivid reminder of how the Catholic media steadfastly ignores the sad and disastrous episodes unfolding in China right now. The agreement did not ease the situation for the Underground Church and allow it more freedom, which is what Rome alleged would happen. In fact, we are seeing the exact opposite, something that could easily be predicted by anyone with a middling knowledge of China affairs.

Life has become much harder for members of the “unofficial” Catholic Church loyal to Rome. The CPA has stepped up controls and the persecution, reports Asia News, and has stressed that the new supposedly “united Catholic Church” is independent of Rome despite the agreement.

Bishop arrested

The media has passed over in silence the news of the arrest of an Underground Church leader, Bishop Shao Zhumin by Communist China's police on November 9, 2018. He was sent to a camp for interrogation and indoctrination in what is called a "vacation period."

bishop

Bishop Shao Zhumin, taken by Communist China's police, returned home after weeks of interrogation

Bishop Shao, who has been taken and held by the police at least 5 times over the last two years, has repeatedly refused to join the Communism-run CPA. The faithful were concerned since there was no news of the Bishop until November 23, 2018, when he was released.

It is incomprehensible to me how kidnapping a well-known Bishop in China to submit him to dozens of days of indoctrination and possible torture in an unknown prison is not blazing world news? What if this happened to an Italian or Canadian Bishop?

The Pope would issue a protest against such a blatant violation of religious liberty and the whole world would be abuzz. When an Underground Bishop disappears in China, there is only silence from the world media and from the Vatican, which does not want to upset its new accord.

Instead of protests, so-called experts on China minimize the facts of persecution, saying that it only takes place in “a few places.” In reality there are persecutions in many regions: Hebei, Henan, Zhejiang, Shanxi, Guizhou, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Hubei and certainly others where the reports have not come to light.

Zhang priest detained

One of the four priests, Fr. Zhang Guilin officiates at an Underground Church Mass

For example, for over a month now, four priests of the Underground Church of Zhangjiakou (Hebei) have been kept in a secret place, subjected to indoctrination and brainwashing to force them to join the CPA. The four priests are Fr. Zhang Guilin and Fr. Wang Zhong of the ancient Diocese of Xiwanzi, Fr. Zhang He and Fr. Su Guipeng of the ancient Diocese of Xuanhua. The repeated requests of relatives and the faithful for information about their whereabouts have been met with evasive responses from the government.

Their kidnapping is part of a new campaign launched by the Chinese government to “convert” the “illegal” underground priests. This means that they must accept the leadership of the CPA and agree with the principles of CPA’s independence, autonomy and sinicization regarding Rome.

Right now, the “underground” priests are being forcefully brought to concelebrate with the “official” bishops led by the Communist Regime and then photographed to convince the faithful to follow their example. This coercion of the clergy to join the CPA is justified by the fact that the Pope has signed the Sino-Vatican provisional agreement.

Destruction of shrines

More evidence of the growing boldness of China's Communist Government is the destruction of two important Marian shrines weeks after the Vatican signed the agreement with China. The shrines are Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows in the village of Dongergou, in China’s Shanxi Province, and Our Lady of Bliss, at Zhung Ke in the west suburbs of Guizhou.

Our Lady Sorrows shrine

China recently razed Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows shrine, above

Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows Shrine sits – or rather, sat – atop a hill not far from the Dongergou Church. The path up to the hill was lined with the Stations of the Cross; the walkway to the Shrine itself was flanked by large statues of Angels. On Our Lady's feast days the pilgrims coming from all over northern China numbered in the tens of thousands.

The shrine was built in the Chinese traditional architectural style, with red pillars and a green tile roof with uplifted eaves, but this “sinicization” in art did not satisfy the communist authorities. It was razed to the ground, supposedly because it had “too many statues.” A stupid excuse given the plethora of statues to communist leaders like Mao Tse Tung and Xi Jinping that litter the landscape of China. You can watch the sad scene of cranes lifting statues from the shrine here.

Our Lady of Bliss Shrine in the hills north of Guizhou is – or was – a grotto with a large rock carving of Our Lady and her Son. Beneath the statue are inscribed in Chinese, “Queen of Zhung Ke, pray for us.” and the date 1917, the year of the Fatima apparitions when Our Lady appeared exhorting Catholics to pray the Rosary to avoid a terrible chastisement that threatened the world.

our lady of bliss

Our Lady of Bliss, also demolished

The shrine escaped destruction during the Cultural Revolution due to the extraordinary effort of the local Catholics who protected it. But they were unable to forestall its destruction by today's communist authorities, who gave the excuse that it lacked the necessary building permits.

In fact the final aim of the Chinese government is increasingly clear: to completely smash the Catholic Religion and, especially, devotion to the Mother of God. A goal now more achievable since the Vatican's support for the CPA was sealed in the recent agreement.

Again, I note the lack of protest from Catholic authorities for the demolitions of popular Marian shrines. What if government authorities had destroyed the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Banneux in Belgium, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Sanctuary in Malta, or Our Lady of Victories in Paris? Imagine the ruckus that Western Catholics would make. But in China, the response is only a resigned silence, signaling a non-combative conformity on the part of the Church to the anti-religion policies of the Communist Regime.

vatican china reps

CPA representatives, Bishops Guo and Xiaoting, warmly welcomed at the recent Vatican Synod

Instead of any protest, Francis' Vatican invited two CPA bishops to the recent Youth Synod (October 2018) in Rome. Bishops Joseph Guo Jincai and John Baptist Yang Xiaoting were personally welcomed by Francis, who housed them in his residence and visited with them daily.

This is more shocking when one learns that Guo was ordained into the CPA without papal permission. His excommunication was lifted as part of the September 22 agreement and now he has become an important “interlocutor” at the Vatican.

“While we were here (in Rome), we invited Francis to come to China,” Guo told Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference. The Pope responded with a hopeful smile, telling the two CPA priests that a trip to China was “like our presence here: Once impossible, now become possible.”

Clearly, China's new persecution and suppression of the Underground Church has been swept under the carpet by the Vatican in its traitorous zeal to restore diplomatic ties with China.

Continued

chinese flag over vatican

Posted November 28, 2018

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