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|W O R L D
Communists Arrest Bishop and
Priests as Condolences are Sent to Vatican
Yao Liang, Fr. Zhao Kexun and Fr. Wang Jinling Are Seized in Week
Before Death of Pope
III, No. 5, April 13, 2005
(Compiled by Staff)
Chinese Catholic clergymen who refuse to join the official state-run
catholic church were arrested in the week previous to John Paul II’s
death. Father Zhao Kexun was arrested on March 30, Bishop Yao
Liang on March 31, and Fr. Wang Jinling on April 1. Bishop Yao is the
auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Xiwanzi in the Hebei province, and
both he and Fr. Wang are in their early eighties.
Following the death of John Paul II on the evening of April 2, China’s
Communist authorities permitted the state-run Catholic Patriotic
churches to publically mourn the Pope, while the government of the
People’s Republic sent a brief message of condolence to the Holy See.
In addition to the arrests, Hao Jingli, the Bishop of Xiwanzi, and Jia
Zhiguo, the Bishop of Zhengding, are now under 24-hour surveillance by
the Chinese Security Bureau.
“Since 1949, there have been thousands of martyrs in China because they
refused to cut off their relations with the Pope,” says Joseph Kung,
the director of the Cardinal Kung Foundation which aids the underground
Catholic Church in China. “Today, we still have numerous Roman Catholic
bishops, priests, and other religious and faithful in jail because they
will not join the Chinese government-established official church or the
Catholic Patriotic Association.”
“Pope John Paul II said,” Kung continued, “’even in the most difficult
times, the fidelity of the Catholic Church in China has never waned.”
Recently, pressure on China’s Communist government has increased. A
campaign led by AsiaNews, U.S. Catholics, and Mario Mauro, the
Vice-President of the European Parliament, for all Catholic clergy
imprisoned by the Chinese Communists to be released.
By the Vatican’s estimate, there are 10 million Catholics loyal to
Rome, while the state-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association has
about 4 million members. In addition to these, there are an estimated
12 million evangelical Christians who are members of house churches.
The authorities persecute all Christians who refuse to join either of
the two state-run ‘patriotic’ Christian organizations.
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