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Report: No religious freedom for China’s Catholics, cardinal states

May 30, 2007

From Canadian Catholic News / The B.C. Catholic:

Known as an outspoken critic of communism, a tireless supporter of human rights and for being staunchly loyal to the magisterium of the dhurch, Cardinal Zen, now in his mid-70s, has gained a reputation as a man who won’t be bullied by those in authority in the Chinese government.

Put simply, Cardinal Zen wants freedom in China, and he’s let the Chinese government know it.

(…)

“In China there is no religious freedom for Catholics. People who travel there have the impression that there is perfect freedom, because they see many churches open, but still there is no freedom, because the church cannot function as it should according to the divine constitution,” he said.

The situation with the church in China is confusing at best, and downright chaotic at worst. In a nutshell, the church operates on two different levels, with a state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association operating openly, but closely monitored by the Chinese government. On the other level is the underground Church, not sanctioned by the Chinese government, which is loyal to the Vatican and faces substantial opposition from the government.

“Some people refuse to have an independent church (from the Vatican), and so they go underground. Some people are in the open church, which appears to be independent (from the Vatican), but the vast majority in that church do not want to be independent,” Cardinal Zen said. “Most want to be united with the whole universal church, but then they are checked some way in that situation by the Chinese government. Although the great majority of the bishops are in communion with the Holy See, they cannot enjoy full freedom and communicate openly with the Holy See.”

Full report here.

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