The plan aims to bring the Church in line with Chinese culture

The Chinese bishops’ conference and government-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) is continuing controversial plans for the ‘sinicization’ of Catholic churches, holding training seminars and asking that all dioceses return to them with detailed proposals by the end of August.

Ucanews.com obtained the 6,500 word document distributed among dioceses. According to the news channel, an unnamed source in the Hebei province said it was “to complete the Chinese-style socialist road within five years”.

Professor Ying Fuk-tsang, director of the divinity school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said Sinicization had become an unavoidable mission for all religions in China since President Xi Jinping proposed the plan in 2015.

“If you have a bad relationship with an imperial power and tradition, you will have the consequences of prohibition. Matteo Ricci took the adaptation route to establish the basis for religious Sinicization of the 21st century,” he said.

The Catholic Church in China is split between the CPCA and the underground Church, the latter frequently battling repressive rules and intimidation. Worship is only allowed at designated churches, and group prayers in private households forbidden.