Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Freedom in China

This is not related to Anglican Use but it is related to the Philippines and it is what I am thinking about at the moment.

Today I read both the news that the Philippines will not attend the Noble Peace Prize ceremony for prisoner of conscience Liu Xiaobo and a letter from Cardinal Zen to his fellow bishops dated November 19, 2010 about the state of the Catholic Church in China. Was this a coincidence? Maybe, but it left me wondering: Will we be a voice for love and freedom, in Asia and around the world? Or will the Philippines put pesos above people?

First from Cardinal Zen:
I think it is my duty, given this special opportunity to inform my eminent brothers, [to say] that there is still no religious freedom in China. There is too much optimism around something that does not correspond to reality. Some have no way of knowing the reality, others close their eyes to reality, others still see religious freedom in a very simplistic way.
This month we have examples of this lack of freedom. One about forcing attendance at an upcoming conference:
AsiaNews sources are reporting that the official bishop of Hengshui was forcibly removed from his residence by police and taken to an isolated location. The police had besieged the prelate’s house for hours, struggling against believers and priests who had formed a wall in an attempt to defend the freedom of their bishop.

Another bishop of Cangzhou, has disappeared and the police threatened the diocese: either he hands himself in to police custody or they will issue an arrest warrant throughout China identifying him as a "dangerous wanted criminal."
And earlier, in a church surrounded by security forces, there was an illicit ordination of a bishop in Chengde. Many of the few legitimate priests and bishops who did attend were forced by the Chinese government:
Other participants, seized by the government in recent days, were bishops Pei Junmin of Liaoning, Li Lianggui of Cangzhou and Feng Xinmao of Hengshui, as well as bishops Li Shan of Beijing, Meng Qinglu of Hohhot, Zhao Fengchang of Liaocheng and Coadjutor bishop Francesco An Shuxin of Baoding.
We are blessed to live in a country like the Philippines where religious freedom is practiced. May all human beings one day share in such blessings.

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