Monday, July 2, 2007

The Church in China

Mother of the Dawn of Grace
intercede for your children in
China and throughout the
whole World.

July 2

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in his letter to the Church in China speaks with “particular interest” and “sincere admiration” about the Chinese people, its culture and socio-economic achievements. With great “respect” for its political leaders, he is reassuring about the Church’s mission—which is not to “change the structure or administration of the State” (nÂș 4) —and is eager for and open to normalizing diplomatic relations. But with equal determination and clarity, he wants a place for the Church in Chinese society “for the good of Chinese Catholics” and “all the inhabitants of the country,” to reawaken its “spiritual energy”. For this reason the Holy Father wants an end to improper interference by the Chinese state in matters regarding the Faith and the internal life of the Church” and calls on the state to guarantee “authentic religious freedom.”

In a loving and open attitude he demands in the name of the Catholic faith the right for the Holy See to appoint its bishops. He calls on underground bishops to seek official government recognition and on official bishops to overcome their fear and publicly acknowledge their ties with the Pope so that bishops and the faithful alike can become reconciled. He especially urges the Chinese Church as a whole to go beyond the defensive mode persecution imposed on it, and try instead evangelizing Chinese society, Asia and the whole world by giving itself the necessary means—bishops’ conference, pastoral councils and diocesan administrations—that the task entails. This will mark as it were the end of the time of emergency, and allow the Church of China to become an integral and active part of the universal communion.

When all is said and done all that the Holy Father desires for China is that China become a truly modern state, subject to the United Nations conventions to which it is a signatory.

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