The embattled Church in Eastern Asia

News from the embattled Church in Eastern Asia.  First, this from CWN with my emphases:

Cardinal Zen rips Beijing’s bid to control Catholic Church
July 26, 2011

Cardinal Joseph Zen has denounced the “preposterous and ridiculous” efforts by the Chinese government to exert control over the Catholic Church.

The retired Bishop of Hong Kong said: “It is absurd to hear the statements of politically correct state puppets defending Beijing’s policies.” He issued his statement just after the Chinese religion ministry complained about the Vatican’s “rude” excommunication of bishops illicitly ordained by the Catholic Patriotic Association.

Cardinal Zen argued that it is nonsensical to have officials of an officially atheistic state judging the policies of a religious body. The institution that Beijing seeks to build, he said, “can no more be recognizable as Catholic,” and the officials who are pursuing that policy are “making themselves the laughing stock of the world!”

Cardinal Zen exhorted the loyal Catholics of China to maintain their strong ties to the Holy See. Saluting their steadfast determination to preserve the unity of the Church, the cardinal underlined his feeling of solidarity by describing himself as “an old brother who is almost ashamed of living in freedom.”

WDTPRS kudos to the great Card. Zen.   His point about an atheistic government pronouncing on religious matters is very good.  Also, to label them as a “laughing stock” might sting, given the role of face saving in that culture.

Also from CWN comes this:

Father Nguyen Van Ly, a human-rights activist, has been arrested once again by the Vietnamese government.

In 2007, Father Ly was sentenced of an 8-year prison term for his public criticism of the Vietnamese regime. After many pleas from international advocates, he was released in March 2010 for medical treatment. Father Ly has suffered several strokes that left him partially paralyzed; he also needed treatment for a brain tumor. At that time, prison officials said that he would be jailed again if his medical condition improved.

Friends of the priest say that his medical condition remains very precarious, and the police who re-arrested him came prepared with an ambulance. The decision to put him back in jail appears to have been motivated by his recent public statements, issued from house arrest, denouncing the government for human-rights violations.

And yet again from CWN:

Chinese immigration officials denied permission for an activist priest from Hong Kong to visit the mainland, in the latest sign of escalating tensions between the Beijing regime and the Catholic Church.

Father Franco Mella reported that he was stopped at an immigration checkpoint at Shenzhen and told that his visa had been cancelled. He had never previously been denied permission to enter the mainland.

Father Mella had joined in a public protest in Hong Kong against the illicit ordination of bishops by the Catholic Patriotic Association. However, two other Catholic priests from Hong Kong, who did not take part in that demonstration, were also denied visas recently.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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6 Responses to The embattled Church in Eastern Asia

  1. Konichiwa says:

    The first article reminds me (expecially the “laughing stock of the world” part) of the government in Vietnam concerning their intervening hand into Catholic matters.

    In Vietnam, the government’s action towards the Catholics is similar, and they use the same communist stupid talk. “Oh my gosh. The Vatican is so rude! How dare they make these decisions without asking us?”

    I don’t know if you’ve seen the popular image captured of Fr. Ly in court. It really shows what the animals look like. I’ve been told that some priests mysteriously get beaten or die in hospitals. It wouldn’t surprise me if that were true.
    http://blogs.newamericamedia.org/photo-of-the-day/546/trial

  2. Western pagan societies generally felt that the king or government was ultimately responsible for all negotiations and diplomatic relations with gods, and that therefore priests were in some ways government employees. Eastern pagan societies often felt that, given that current earthly kings were appointed by the current heavenly emperor, the gods in a land were government employees subject to the earthly king in the bureaucratic hierarchy of the cosmos. Atheistic governments just think they’re God, and a jealous god at that.

    You can see where, either way, big government tends to get grabby about religion.

  3. anilwang says:

    The Chinese government is fairly transparent. They see religion as “the opium of the masses” and want to be the exclusive “drug dealer” in the country. While they are wrong, there’s nothing inconsistent in their position.

    In communist thought, it’s all about power. If there is another “drug dealer” in the country, the state will be subverted. In this, they are correct. The Catholic Church ultimately brought down the Soviet government, and it can do the same in China if given enough time since our allegiance is to God rather than State and we are to obey the State in so far as they do not defy God.

    So Chinese fears are correct. What needs to happen is for the Chinese government to be taught that the State will be subverted, but it will be better for that subversion. I have no idea how to do it, but I pray to God to lead us to this end.

  4. Brad says:

    “Cardinal Zen argued that it is nonsensical to have officials of an officially atheistic state judging the policies of a religious body.”

    This reminds me of right here at home, regarding many people realizing that in Ireland, (the canary) followed by Australia (rumblings) and other Western nations if secular governments want to break the seal of confession, those governments do so via the denial that law and government itself is God-given and trumps mere law of man. But in 1984 new world order, nothing is given by God because he is dead, gone, or never existed. All we have left is the state, which gives and takes according to the whims of the amoral, at best, and immoral, at worst, bureaucrats. The pigs who moved into God’s house when they ran the farmer out, if anyone recalls 8th grade English class.

  5. Michael J. says:

    The United States tried to protect democracy, or at least freedom, in South Vietnam, and I can’t honestly say it was for religious reasons, considering we approved, through our C.I.A., the overthrow of the government of the very Catholic, President Diem in South Vietnam, and then acted surprised when he was assassinated, the overthrow instigated by the Buddhist majority in the South. However, do to a country who tired of the war and the success of the, “Peace Movement”, the Americans withdrew and left the inept and corrupt South Vietnamese government to fight the war on their own. They barely lasted two to three years. So, while human rights and religious rights suffer in Vietnam, we can thank the, “Peace Movement”, for basically forcing any American politician to withdraw American forces which has now resulted in this horrible ending. The war could have ended in a split nation, like Korea, had we continued to use our Military Forces to destroy the North’s ability to make war, because after the Tet offensive in 1968, the Viet Cong as a military force was basically destroyed, but we left, and now the country still pays the price.

  6. Dr. Eric says:

    Our Lady of Sheshan, pray for us.