The Chinese Communist Party’s senior figure for religious affairs has made it clear that Beijing intends to retain a tight grip on the Catholic Church.
Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the elite seven-man Politburo Standing Committee and chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told members of the official Church “to ensure that the leadership of the Chinese Catholic Church is held firmly in the hands of those who love the nation and the religion”, reported ucanews.com.
Mr Yu spoke to about 100 bishops, priests, nuns and lay leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing at an event marking the 60th anniversary of the state-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. He made his comments amid continuing talks between Beijing and the Holy See about the normalisation of the appointment of bishops, the first step in a path that could lead to the establishment of diplomatic relations. But negotiations appear to have slowed in recent months because of an impasse over the fate of a handful of Beijing-appointed bishops.
During his speech, Mr Yu also encouraged Church leaders to “implement with self-awareness the basic direction of religious works” and “always to insist on the direction of Sinicisation of religion”.
The patriotic association, established in 1957, stands above the bishops’ conference. Both answer to Beijing, not the Vatican. The Vatican regards the patriotic association as being incompatible with Church doctrine, because its constitution advocates the principle of an independent Church. Its establishment in 1957 split China’s 10 million Catholics.
Campaign keeps Satanic memorial out of public park
The Council of a city in Minnesota has unanimously voted to remove all religious symbols from a memorial park for veterans.
The decision by the Belle Plaine council came after hundreds of people from across America – many of them Catholic – came to the city to protest against the installation of a Satanic memorial. The council rescinded a designation that made a portion of the park available for monument commissions from any religious group.
The decision blocked the arrival of the monument commissioned by the Satanic Temple, but it also sealed the departure of the “Joe” monument, a small cast-iron silhouette of a soldier kneeling on one knee in front of a cross grave-marker. Joseph Gregory, a local veteran who died in October 2016, made the memorial.
Fr Brian Lynch, parish priest of Our Lady of the Prairie in Belle Plaine, said: “It’s an outcome I can live with, but it’s far from a perfect outcome.”
The “Joe” monument had been removed after a complaint from secularists last year but was returned after part of the park was designated as a place for religious memorials.
Cathedral named for Mother Teresa
A cathedral dedicated to St Teresa of Calcutta is due to be consecrated on September 5, 20 years after the saint’s death.
Cardinal Ernest Simoni will be papal delegate at the consecration in Pristina, a city proclaimed as the capital of Kosovo, although Serbia does not recognise Kosovo as a separate state. The as yet unfinished building has been a place of worship since 2010. Its bell towers are 230ft tall.