Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Novena, Day 3 and a note about the Church in China

Yesterday the Holy See issued a statement about the forced participation of China's bishops in a national assembly (a so-called episcopal conference, but one coordinated by government agencies).
Usually the Vatican has used conciliatory language in handling the many problems that arise from China's attempt to keep the veneer of religious freedom polished while maintaining a firm grip on religious activities. This time, the gloves came off. The Holy See publicly accused China of cowardice ("fear and weakness") and intransigent intolerance, and spoke of "unacceptable and hostile acts" on the part of the government.
The document does not entirely spare the collaborating bishops, either, but also addresses people who may be scandalized that their bishop--or any bishop--took part in what is for all practical purposes an act of schism: "take account of the pressures experienced by many of their pastors and ... pray for them; ... continue courageously supporting them in the face of the unjust impositions that they encounter in the exercise of their ministry.
Pope Benedict has asked for special prayers for the Church in China; maybe we can include that as a special intention in the remaining week of our Christmas Novena.

Here's Day 3:

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