Does anyone really doubt that the way Beijing has been dealing with the Vatican is somehow entangled with the upcoming Olympics?
BEIJING (AP) — Beijing Games organizers say they plan to build a multi-faith worship center in the Olympic Village, a striking move in a country that heavily restricts all religious activity.
"All will be arranged in accordance with the practices … adopted by other Olympic host cities," Liu Bainian, vice president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, said in the official China Daily newspaper.
Liu said Chinese Catholics were preparing to welcome visitors to churches in Beijing and the six other host cities with multi-lingual priests.
The Communist Party-controlled association governs China’s Catholic churches, while other state-controlled bodies keep watch over the country’s Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, and Protestants.
Worship in non-state recognized churches and temples is illegal and other religions have no official recognition.
Here is how China Daily puts it.
Church to be built in Olympic village
By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-09-04 07:19
A temporary church will be set up in the Olympic Village during the 2008 Games for Catholic athletes, and all churches in Beijing will be open to Catholic tourists, a senior official has said.
The Beijing diocese is training priests fluent in foreign languages to celebrate Mass during the upcoming Games, said Liu Bainian, vice-president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
"All will be arranged in accordance with the practices adopted by other Olympics host cities," he said.
According to Games organizers, a religious service center will be set up in the Olympic Village with professional religious personnel providing services to meet the needs of athletes from various religious convictions.
Athletes and those who accompany them can enjoy different dishes specially made in accordance with their religious beliefs, the organizers said.
Religious services and information will be available in Beijing as well as the six other co-host cities.
A total of 60 volunteers from the five major religions in China – Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity and Catholicism – recently attended a three-day training session organized by the Beijing municipal administration of religious affairs for providing religious services during the Games.