CNA: Catholic bishop carries Olympic torch in China relay

Interesting story from CNA:

Catholic bishop carries Olympic torch in China relay

Beijing, Aug 3, 2008 / 01:48 am (CNA).- A Chinese Catholic bishop carried the Olympic torch on its way to Beijing on Thursday as the Chinese government tries to express its appreciation for the Church’s active participation in social affairs and to show progress in its religion policies.

Peter Fang Jianping, Coadjutor Bishop of Tangshan, took part in the July 31torch rally in Tangshan, a city about 110 miles from Beijing. Bishop Fang was the eighth of 208 torch bearers during the last leg of the relay in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing.

The 45-year-old bishop told UCA News on Friday that he was named a torchbearer because of the Chinese government’s progress in its religious policies and in expressing concerns over religious issues to religious leaders, but also “because of the Church’s contribution to the society.”

Bishop Fang said the Diocese of Tangshan, which has about 45,000 Catholics and 40 priests, donated money and materials worth about $22,000 to earthquake relief in Sichuan. An earthquake measuring 8.0 in magnitude struck the province of Sichuan on May 12, causing at least 69,200 confirmed deaths and leaving more than 18,000 still missing.

According to the bishop, many local Catholics who saw the live TV broadcast of the Olympic torch relay told him they were overjoyed and heartened to see their bishop take part in the event.

Torchbearers are allowed to keep their torch as a souvenir after their relay run. Bishop Fang told UCA News he will keep his “precious spiritual legacy.”

Bishop Fang, a native of Hebei, was ordained a priest in 1989 and ordained a bishop in Beijing in 2000 without papal approval. The Holy See legitimized his episcopal status in 2002.

The Beijing Olympics will begin on August 8.

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57 Responses to CNA: Catholic bishop carries Olympic torch in China relay

  1. Rellis says:

    Can someone who knows a lot about the situation give a brief update on the status of the Church in China?

  2. Justin says:

    It seems that most of the CPCA Bishops are in communion with Rome. The ones who are not are the Bishops that were ordained without a Papal mandate and a few others that have not been disclosed. The Underground churches are also in communion with Rome.

  3. Luke says:

    How fitting. A glimmer of light for China carries the torch for the Olympics.

  4. David2 says:

    I don’t know about the Beijing Olympics….

    Kind of like Berlin 1936. Leni Riefenstahl made a good film of it, but it was a propagada coup for Hitler.

    Why should Bishops co-operate with this evil regeime?

  5. Jane says:

    I really don’t know what to make of this. I would like to know more about the situation today between the underground church and the “official” Catholic Church. The Church is still being persecuted in China and China’s human rights record is terrible.

  6. Peg says:

    The Cardinal Kung Foundation, Inc. has a lot of information on the Catholic Church in China.

  7. Tina in Ashburn says:

    My Congressman Frank Wolf in his report on his recent trip to China with Rep Chris Smith, says “According to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, currently every one of the approximately 35 underground bishops of the Catholic Church is either in jail, under house arrest, under strict surveillance or in hiding. ”
    http://wolf.house.gov/uploads/China2008TripReport1.pdf

  8. TJB says:

    What a farce! China’s only concern is distracting the rest of the world from the real situation there. If they want to thank the Church they could start by releasing the thousands of Catholics who are in labor camps for practicing their faith.

  9. ckdexterhaven says:

    HBO has an excellent but extremely disturbing documentary on this month. It’s called China’s Stolen Children. It chronicles a couple whose son was one of the 70,000 children per year! stolen in China. The film also follows a couple who couldn’t afford a permit to have a baby, they are so poor, they are forced to sell the baby on the black market. The baby broker is interviewed and he sold his own 4 y/o son but kept his 7 y/o son. China should not be allowed to put their “best” face forward while the fact they have aborted 40 million girls (and who knows how many boys) since their One Child Policy was enacted. Even though HBO usually has a liberal slant to their movies, this movie is unflinching in telling the truth, it is very difficult to watch. China is such an evil country, but the true Catholic priests and bishops brave enough to go there and serve the people need our prayers.

  10. Padre Steve says:

    It does pose an interesting question. What is the best way to proceed with China? It doesn’t seem that the head-on approach works very well, but clearly the Government continues to persecute the faith. I think anyone who is willing to say yes to the call to priesthood (and to ordination as a Bishop) are heroes who need our prayers. I am sure many of them risk prison each day and yet they continue to minister quietly to the people of God. God bless them and the Church of China!

  11. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Padre Steve,

    With all due respect, what hard-line approach? We were told several years ago that the best way to influence China and help to alter its policy on human rights was to engage them openly and not to use trade sanctions to try to convince them to change their ways. Where has that gotten us? We’ve lost well over a million jobs, the Chinese government thwarts meaningful suppression of murderous militias in Sudan, and the regime in China is basking in an economic springtime while cracking down on Catholic and Buddhist alike. We’ve been had.

  12. David2 says:

    Ioannes Andreades, my sentiments exactly. The regeime persecutes and forces abortion like crazy, and opening up to them has done exactly zip to stop it. In 1936, the Olympics allowed Hitler to pretend he wasn’t persecuting Jews…what exactly is the difference here?

  13. patrick f says:

    today a torch, tomorrow a crosier, openly. God speaks in the whisper of the wind. In many ways we are all elijah, waiting in a cave for the Lord to come by.

    I am a little upset that they are indeed having the olympics, but like the berlin olympics, I believe these too will use show light in the areas where it is darkest

  14. Limbo says:

    What may have happened to this bishop if in protest he refused to carry the torch ? I cannot bear to think.

  15. Matt Robinson says:

    I don’t think there is much of a tradition to uphold.

    Guess who started the Olympic Torch tradition….Adolf Hitler and the Nazi propaganda machine.

    We’ve come full circle since 1936.

  16. Phil says:

    Much of East Asia is saving face and image. Not making waves is another virtue here. Age, education, birth order, blood type–things like that can determine where you stand in society and it’s very inconvenient here for a native to do something unbecoming someone of your culture. Catholic missionaries from the West in S. Korea, to whom my devout Catholic friend talks, are a bit concerned about what will happen when their orders become all Korean. The Koreans are very helpful to tourists and their clergy will do Confession, but it seems it’s more clannish for those in a community as they prefer to talk after meetings.

    It’s most the Confucian nation of East Asia and has a kind of inferiority complex that gets people (including clergy in Seoul, anyway, making it appear as a procession) marching against US beef, which has affected a few people, whereas kids jump off buildings around or after major test times and there’s many traffic accidents due to driving stunts. Those situations might get negative press for them, though. Not everyone is like that, though. Sometimes you have to read various blogs. I know one who isn’t like that as well.

    To be fair, as many Christians still go to fortune tellers here, we have people with money, power and the internet as idols. We complain of elites being snooty in regard to the average people. We can have cliques. We have liberals who can’t accept that their leaders are persecuting their dissenters where they can, especially heretics of the religion of the scientific community, while reciting the names like Galileo, the Inquisition and the Crusades (all of which are corruptions of the whole story). Conservatives do have their oversight committees as well. Here, these things are unofficially institutional.

    Anyway, that almost dogmatic keeping face virtue in East Asia is why I believe China, which hasn’t dumped the convenient aspects of Confucianism for them, has been making their Olympic cities as pristine as possible. Well, I hope their government gets mud in its face for their crimes against humanity, including poisoned food, computer viruses to government computers, helping those who hurt the Sudanese peasants, aborting of girls (where’s the feminists there?), mistreatment of manual labor, oppression of the underground Catholics, probably other Christians serious about their respective faiths and Tibetan Buddhists (though I think those who vandalized property were wrong for having done it).

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

  17. INGSOC says:

    Big Brother appreciates the doubleplussgood newthink of the posters. Remember, Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
    The 10 Minute Hate is Concluded

  18. “Guess who started the Olympic Torch tradition….Adolf Hitler and the Nazi propaganda machine.

    Don’t forget the Autobahn and the Volkswagen.

  19. Tim H says:

    Father,
    Rather more heat than light here, and a plentiful lack of any knowledge of things Chinese beyond partisan sloganeering, utter lack of historical context longer then 2-weeks, plus the re-rigeur reductio ad hitlerum argument.
    I recommend this excelletn piece
    “Why I Hate WWII” by Gary “The War Nerd” Brecher (Warning Rough Language)
    http://exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=8414&IBLOCK_ID=35

  20. Rose says:

    The problem was giving China the Olympic Games to begin with. Once it was awarded, there was no turning back. It is now a matter of not losing face, for both the government and the vast majority of the people. And that is serious. Personally I do not think the vast majority of Chinese people find the current system unacceptable….secularism in the West, materialism in China…it’s much the same.

  21. Matt Q says:

    TJB wrote:

    “What a farce! China’s only concern is distracting the rest of the world from the real situation there. If they want to thank the Church they could start by releasing the thousands of Catholics who are in labor camps for practicing their faith.”

    Exactly. While the bishop got to participate in the torch thing, it really wouldn’t shock everyone, would it, if one considered the living feces of Satan did it only for sake of publicity for exactly what TJB described?

  22. inlaborerequies says:

    According to the Catholic News Service:

    “The bishop, a Hebei native, was ordained a priest in 1989. He was ordained a bishop in Beijing Jan. 6, 2000, without papal approval. In 2002, the Holy See legitimized his episcopal status.”

  23. William Marshall says:

    If Rome can legitimize a Bishop in China then why can’t they legitimize the Bishops of SSPX?

    Seems rather “forked tongued” to me.

  24. Thomas says:

    “If Rome can legitimize a Bishop in China then why can’t they legitimize the Bishops of SSPX?

    Seems rather ‘forked tongued’ to me.”

    You really don’t see the difference between the situation of the Church in China and that of the SSPX?

    And as for tongues, mind yours.

  25. Michael says:

    William Marshal,
    the Rome can’t legitimize the Bishops of SSPX, because they do not share the same faith with the Rome; not only that, but they openly attack many doctrinal developments articulated by Vatican II. That’s for sure.

    As for the bishops in China, I do not know. But probably, they have no objections to Vatican II. It may well be that in days when the Chinese authorities were harsher than now, the “patriotic church” was the only way for the Church to survive. Only those who lived in that situation knew what was and want wasn’t possible. What they did without papal approval in those days, might have been “the operation survival”, the real, and not the fabricated one.

  26. Andy K. says:

    Dave2,
    Indeed. Assisting in this farce of “openness” by Beijing is ridiculous, and the IOC was crazy for thinking the ChiComs would yield anything.

    Smog which was supposed to have been cut down over the past seven years? Ridiculously high.

    Open and free journalistic access, which was promised by Beijing? Not at all.

    ChiComs quieting the families of the earthquake that destroyed tons of lives.

    Why the IOC even let this happen is beyond me.

  27. Paul, south Midlands says:

    If this chap becomes a cardinal…..he will surely be headed for the CDF……Nobody expects the…..

  28. B. says:

    I don’t get how the Vatican can approve the bishops of the Patriotic Association. They all have to steadfastly declare their support for the one-child policy, abortion and other government policies, or they wouldn’t be ordained in the first place.
    Didn’t we learn anything from history? The regime in China won’t last forever. Look at how Pius XII is viewed today, and he never approved bishops that were appointed by the Nazis in order to back the goverments racist policies. What will history say about Benedict XVI. in this matter?

  29. David2 says:

    How is co-operation with this regime not co-operation wtih evil? I’d like to think I’d have the courage to suffer and die rather than carry the torch. But then I’d like to be able to do a lot of things that I doubt I could do…

  30. David2 says:

    Why the IOC even let this happen is beyond me.

    Because they’re corrupt and useless and like so many international organizations, in thrall to corrupt and useless third world dictatorships with a chip on their shoulder about “colonialism”.

  31. Paul says:

    Regarding “face saving” – that isn’t just a particularly Eastern virtue. It is also a Christian virtue. To conceal the sins of another is, considered in itself, an act of charity.

  32. Annie says:

    One must realize how different E. Asian culture is to Western culture. China’s government, yes, is not ideal. There are human rights violations, yes. But the people are living better, they have more to eat, and slowly, there are more and more freedoms being introduced. It is a process. And I believe China is a success story compared to Russia and what’s happening there since the fall of communism.

    China is trying to keep it’s control over the people while opening itself up to capitalism. But the more capitalistic it gets, the less control the government will have as more and more foreign influences enter the country. This is already happening.

    I think the Vatican understands this, realizes that the people of China need the church, even if it is under certain terms, which is why the bishops have been recognized.

    Chinese culture, E. Asian culture, emphasizes harmony above all else. (Saving face, too, yes.) Remember that this is a culture that has existed for over 5000 years, with over two billion people. Slowly but surely.

    Let us keep China and its people in our prayers!

  33. David2 says:

    Paul writes:

    “Regarding “face saving” – that isn’t just a particularly Eastern virtue. It is also a Christian virtue. To conceal the sins of another is, considered in itself, an act of charity.”

    Yes, unless you lead another into sin. Or by silence, allow further sins to be committed, or fail to let the sinner know that you disapprove of his sin.

    Annie, I fail to see how cultural respect mitigates the murder of the innocent, which, after all is a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance. Your comment is reminiscent of all those westerners who praised Mussolini for “making the trains run on time”. Musso was a babe in arms compared to this regime. There is such a thing as intrinsic evil, and no amount of BS about “Chinese Culture” and the proletariat or whatever can make (for example) a policy of forced abortions even moraly neutral.

    Whoever marches with the torch washes his hands, not in innocency, but in blood.

  34. Phil (NL) says:

    Annie,

    Perhaps it will work that way. Yet I certainly wouldn’t discount the possibility that it all comes crashing down in a very, very bloody (civil) war. Communism is ultimately incompatible with freedom of any kind, religious freedom above all. The Chinese government has almost everything going in its favor at the moment, and the artrocities committed still defy description.
    We’ll see what happens when their good luck runs out and the people won’t take it anymore. I’m far less sure about a positive outcome.

    PS: seeing that there is another commenter going by ‘Phil’ these days, I’ll add (NL) in reference to my home country. Otherwise it could become horribly confusing.

  35. David2 says:

    Paul, admonishing the sinner is also an act of spiritual charity.

  36. David2 says:

    B,

    Just saw your post.

    It grieves me enormously that the Holy Father might damage his good name and that of the church through co-operation with this evil regime. I made criticisms of JPII’s prudential decisions, but at least in Eastern Europe he withstood evil to its face.

    I pray for the Pope, that God may give him the strength and foresight to resist the Chinese Commies whatever the “Annies” of this world may say about the good works of Mao.

  37. Chironomo says:

    While there are parallels that can be argued, there are fundamental differences between China and the Soviet Union, and between China and the NSDAP in terms of our dealing with them. While it’s fun to imagine that we could perhaps influence China through economic means, we would have to be willing to throw ourselves on the same sword… neither the Soviets nor Nazi Germany were critical parts of our economy as China is now. Perhaps we could stop borrowing money from them… it’s difficult to criticize someone you owe a debt to…but there isn’t one person out there posting invectives who isn’t likely doing so on a computer made in China, sitting at a computer desk made in China, wearing clothes made in China that were washed in a washer made in China. Exactly what kind of “hard line” are we able to take? One side says were can’t be complicit, the other that we can’t be isolationists… leaving us where? The good news? If news reports coming from various sources are even marginally accurate, the Beijing Olympics will not be anything close to the propaganda triumph of the 1936 Games… Jesse Owens didn’t have to wear a gas-mask while running the 200 Meter. And despite their best efforts, it’s doubtful that a lid can be kept on the media to the extent they would like… news will get out and, more importantly news will get in.

    As for the similarities between the Chinese Bishops and the SSPX… Oh come on now!

  38. Tim H says:

    David

    The works that “Annie” ascribes were not performed by Mao, but rather by common Chinese people following his death in 1976 and the subsequent downsizing of the terror state that occurred subsequent to such, beginning in 1979. Sorry to disabuse you of your Hobbsean hobby horse, but there is not a giant man across the Pacific named China who excretes lead-painted toys and tainted dog food from his bodily orifices.
    And do not lecture me on the evil of Communism, I am a devotee of Misean economics, I can tell you ethical problems of socialist calculation that do not even occur to most connvetional economists (i.e. Keynesian charlatans), let alone Americans.

    Father, please close this. The postings have gone from attacking the Chinese Communist Party (admittedly an easy and worthy target), to attacking Chinese in general (“they are such an evil country”), to attacking the Bishop, and now attacking the Pope!

  39. David2 says:

    Tim H,

    I never said that the Chinese were “an evil country”, only one dominated by a party with evil policies, an “evil regeime”.

    I respectfully questioned the Pope’s prudential judgment in this matter. I cannot think of a more respectful way of so doing. Never accuse me of attacking the Holy Father, whom I love with all fillial devotion!

    As someone who lives “in the neighbourhood”, I suspect I knnow a little more about the Chinese regime than many others. Of course those works were not done by Mao. The fundamental moral principle for which you and Annie argue, however, is “let us do evil that good may come” something that St Paul expressly forbids.

    There was nothing improper in my questioning. There have been no answers to my questions. You haven’t even attempted to answer.

  40. joshua says:

    Several points,

    1. Those who think that China’s opening up to capitalism is a good thing and will help end oppression there make two fundamental blunders. One, they place their hope in another corrupt system, though granted not as contrary to natural law as communism. Two, they have never read Marx. Marx very explicitly held that capitalism was a necessary step to true communism, because communism presupposed a certain technological capability that could only be reached through the forces of capitalism. So short of abandoning communistic ideals, I would say the Chinese government is following Marx more than ever, unlike the silly Russians.

    2. Those who said that SSPX do not have the same faith as Rome, shame on you. Whatever your view on their disobedience, they are not heretics, even if they were schismatics. Schism, true, would destroy charity and the life of grace, but not faith. Heresy would do that. Not that I am asserting they are in formal schism either. One calumniates them by such an ignorant charge.

    3. The Church situation there is bizarre and confusing. While in conscience I would have to go with Pius XII in condemning the Patriotic Association, and also declaring my disagreement with the prudential dealing that Rome has had with them, it is not a very clear issue. IIRC, many of the bishops in the CPA are loyal to Rome, though not publicly adhering to him as they ought in normal circumstances. I think the prudential mistake was trusting the Chinese government with the many false promises it made. An error, I suppose, that assumes goodwill in diplomacy when there is none to be had, not an error of formal cooperation with evil.

  41. Tina in Ashburn says:

    I don’t like Communists. My father died at hands of the Communists in a Vietnamese camp.
    That being said, I love the country of China and all its fantastic history.
    Do I have to state the obvious that there is a difference between the socialists and China itself?

    The comparison of the Olympics in Nazi Germany and the Chinese Olympics is being made frequently today. One was a Judeo-Christian country, the other is not. There are many differences as well in the German and the Chinese character. You can only wonder if the results will differ.

    I agree the world is looking the other way in regard to all the ills in China. I wish we didn’t reward them with our trade. I wish we could fix the sufferings of our Catholic Church in hiding. In its complexities, I cannot make any guesses as to the wisdom of recognizing a state-sponsored bishop. Perhaps there is more information that we don’t have? But certainly the good Catholics there need all the encouragement that they can get. These deeply devoted people are neither heretics nor schismatics.
    I agree with my Congressman Frank Wolf that the Olympics should never have been awarded to China. But here we are – China may not change, but the world is certainly learning more about China’s government than we knew before and there may be an indirect effect eventually that improves the situation.

    Nothing left to do but pray and watch?

  42. Deusdonat says:

    I have long been in support of total and sweeping trade embargos against China due to their persecution of Christians, minorities and abusive human rights practices in general. I flip over the tags of almost everything I buy to ensure it was not made in China before I purchase it (and yes, this often entails putting it back and paying more for the object next to it. But that is ME. I don’t make the decisions or policies, nor do I live there. I can only do what is rigt for my situation here. I cannot say what is right for Christians living in China, or the clergy who are their shepherds. I will leave that to them.

    I will say, from what I know of Chinese culture and the Communists, the fact a bishop was invited to run in the Olympic torch ceremony was neither impromptu nor rash. This was most likely due to many other forces at work behind the scenes. In the “old days”, this may have simply been an unmistakeable PR ploy, with the bishop’s family, parish, church held hostage until he consented. But now, the story has much more complexity.

    There was a Chinese saying (which actually pre-dates Communism); “one more Christian means one less Chinese.” This is because Christianity has long been viewed as completely contrary with Chinese society and culture (in many ways completely accurate). But now that chinese culture has radically changed from the old imperial values (i.e. caste system, complete female submission, worship of family honour above all else) the society is indeed “ripe” for Christianity and Christian values. In fact, some notable Communists have even converted- and more importantly kept their posts. So, I guess I’m just saying I’m not making any judgements.

  43. Rose says:

    David2’s comment about the late Pope JPII and his “standing up to evil” in Poland. Fact is Bishop Peter Fang was recognized by the Holy See in 2002 and he was not the only one. There were many government appointed bishops who sought communion with Rome and were accepted by JPII. Does this mean JPII failed to “stand up to evil” in China? Not only a gratuitous comparison but false.

  44. Deusdonat says:

    Rose – correct. JP II was anything but a communist sympathiser. But he did need to work within the system at times, as does the church throught its history.

    There are several medieval stories about saints who were approached by Satan or a demon and were forced to reach accommodation of sorts with them. I believe these are allegorical in that at times we must all “make deals with the devil” in order to do good in the world. An example is that our government in the US allows and supports abortion. We still work within our government to try and receive other benefits to our society (i.e. safety, welfare, etc) rather than boycott our government altogether.

    This is the reality of living in an imperfect world.

  45. Michael B. says:

    I don’t get how the Vatican can approve the bishops of the Patriotic Association. They all have to steadfastly declare their support for the one-child policy, abortion and other government policies, or they wouldn’t be ordained in the first place.
    Comment by B. — 4 August 2008 @ 1:32 am

    China has changed dramatically since the days of Pius XII, this Pope is free to deal with the new situation as he sees fit. I don’t know if the CPCA supports abortion and contraception, but if true, this support is not without reservation, given that it would have to be a forced consent, especially since the bishops now are able to communicate their fidelity directly to Rome. That the Holy See would hypocritically ignore the importance of contraception and abortion is beyond belief. Remember, if you are a Catholic, this is your Pope. Give him the benefit of the doubt.

  46. Matt Q says:

    Comment by William Marshall:

    “If Rome can legitimize a Bishop in China then why can’t they legitimize the Bishops of SSPX?

    Seems rather “forked tongued” to me.

    “If Rome can legitimize a Bishop in China then why can’t they legitimize the Bishops of SSPX?”

    Seems rather ‘forked tongued’ to me.”

    Comment by Thomas:

    “You really don’t see the difference between the situation of the Church in China and that of the SSPX?

    And as for tongues, mind yours.”

    )(

    What difference? Either a bishop is legit or he isn’t. The PC considerations of why Rome legitimizes one and not another is totally an aside.

    As far “minding tongues,” William has no obligation to you, Thomas.

    William, you just keep on asking those poignant questions. Yours was also a fair one.

  47. Michael B. says:

    Matt Q. and William Marshall,
    The Bishops of the CPCA who have been regularized have been able to communicate their fidelity to the Pope directly, thanks to modern communications not available in the time of Pius XII. One must assume that these declarations of fidelity are without the reservations expressed by the SSPX.

    In contrast, Bishops of the SSPX are publicly saying that reconciliation may take another 20 or 30 years, that the Pope and hierarchy are “modernist”, even heretical, and that the SSPX is not subject to the normal discipline of the Church.

    There seems to a clear difference in situations.

  48. johnny says:

    A couple of ‘johnny’ come lately comments.

    I am no expert, but from my reading it seems that while it is true elements of Chinese culture have seen Christianity as a foreign influence, there are, in fact, very ancient Christian roots in China. The Xi’an stele gives evidence of Syriac Christian presence in China from the 8th century AD. (A possible pilgrimmage destination?) So much so that the Jesuits of the 17th century were accused of having fabricated the monument to help in their conversion efforts. Christian missionaries came along with caravan and the Mongol periods as well.

    For myself, I am of mixed feelings about the Olympics, but I understand the president’s position on attending the opening. Hopefully, the reporting will not be simply ‘the good new China’ vs the ‘old bad China’ and we will see some penetrating looks into the abuses.

    As to the Vatican dealings, that I will leave to the experts, but one can see that it is an incredibly difficult situation. I myself was never a fan of Ostpolitk, or detente, or whatever you wish to brand it, but then surely, neither was JPII.

  49. johnny says:

    Deusdonat: Very much a China neophyte. Its all new and fascinating to me. I understand the stele itself is in Xian proper currently. I’ve been reading Pere Charonnier’s “Christians in China” (available in translation from Ignatius). Now as to that other once and hopefully not future worker’s paradise to the north…its a different story.

  50. johnny says:

    Er, author should have been Jean-Pierre Charbonnier. Christians in China, Ignatius Press.

  51. Deusdonat says:

    Johnny – to me China’s history is very much like that of the Roman Empire; for every feat of greatness and achievement there is a horrible human toll. Just as Romans didn’t give a second thought to enslaving, conquering and killing those who opposed them, so it was with the Chinese. The value of human life in both examples was extremely low. The tragedy is that in China this has simply not come around as it has in the West. The Chinese govt up until very recently was quite willing to sacrifice entire segments of their population for their perceived greater good.

    As for Russia, I am hopefull that now that their populace has “seen Paris” they will never want to return to the farm (or gulag). I don’t think we will ever witness the state sponsored persecution of Christianity that we watched during communism.

  52. johnny says:

    Agree. Did not mean to imply communism will ever return to svetaya rus. It’s dead. Authoritarianism (or better, bossism) is another matter. Would love to travel to China be we shall see.

  53. Deusdonat says:

    Johnny – agreed. Historically, Russians have always favored the “benevolent tyrant” form of government.

    As for China, be sure to send poscards if you go…

  54. Rose says:

    Interesting what Fr. Lombardi said today about the Pope’s visit to Oies: that all Catholics should unite behind the Pope’s prayers for China. Maybe he is also implying that all Catholics should also unite behind the Pope’s efforts in uniting the Catholics in China. The situation is indeed very complex. Surely no one has to be reminded that China is not Poland (clearly Pope JPII did not confuse the two.) Let me put it this way, if the Olympics were held in Saudi Arabia, should we be calling loudly for a boycott because there is no religious freedom in Saudi Arabia for Christians?

  55. Deusdonat says:

    Rose – good point. But there is no way in hell the olympics would be held in Saudi Arabia under any circumstance, given that a) Saudis only tolerate foreigners (they don’t really want them there to begin with unless they help the oil economy) b) they wouldn’t allow women to fraternise with the men openly and c) they wouldn’t allow women to participate at all, since their attire would be too revealing.

    But your point is taken. I have long called for a boycott of all things Saudi (and Mohammedan). It is always good to know where your money and investments are going. Always. And as has been stated, while China’s track record is less than ideal (big tongue in cheek there) when it comes to dealing with religion in general, it DOES allow Catholicism to exist, it does allow churches to be built, and it does allow its citizens to convert. Yes, it has to be on its own terms (i.e. registering with the government) and yes there is still persecution, and of course yes, there is still a LONG way to go. But they are miles ahead of the Mohammedan Saudis. No disputing that.