Monday, May 24, 2010

Prayers for China



Today has been designated by Pope Benedict as a world day of prayer for China. Not only is China one of the last strongholds of Communism (which thus means it is staunchly atheist - one of Marx's central teachings), and so a persecutor of Catholics, there is also a split in the Catholic Church itself in the country. There are two Catholic Churches in China, the public Church and the underground Church. The public Church has bishops appointed by the government and the underground Church has been appointing its own bishops while operating clandestinely so as to avoid persecution. The government tolerates the public Church because it feels it is better to have influence and control in the naming of bishops then to force all Catholics underground.

The Vatican has thus been placed in a difficult position of trying to figure out how to best support the millions of Catholics in China. The Vatican does not like being told who a bishop of any diocese WILL be by the government, but it also knows that if it appoints its own, or ratifies the bishops that the underground Church appoints, then it will be inviting persecution.

The Vatican has adopted a policy of "reviewing" the appointees by the government, and it sounds like, so far, the Vatican has signed off on 100% of the recommendations. This allows either the Vatican or China (depending on your point of view) to save face.

The real losers in all of this are the Chinese Catholics. Many are confused as to who to follow, and many are also persecuted.

Today, let us pray in a special way for the Chinese Catholics and the Church in China - may it be strengthened in its battle for Truth! Let us also seek the intercession of St. Francis Xavier, China's patron saint.