Hong Kong Catholics Opposing Vatican Deal

By Iloilo Wanderer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

They felt betrayed by the new agreement

Hong Kong Catholics amped up their opposition to a controversial rapprochement between Beijing and the Vatican by holding a prayer vigil through the night. They also wrote an open letter to the Holy See warning that such an arrangement will lead to extremely bad consequences for those who are faithful to Jesus Christ inside the communist country. About 200 people had gathered into the St. Bonaventure Church hall within a residential neighborhood.

The letter pleads to bishops around the world to ask Vatican to reconsider the present agreement. The Holy See must stop making a regrettable and an irreversible mistake. According to Beijing-controlled Chinese media, an agreement is on the offing to cement the status accorded to Catholic churches located in mainland China. Hong Kong churches are also being encouraged to toe the same line, the argument being that society will be more peaceful if there is harmony between the state and the church. The Vatican maintains official delegates all around the world, including in the Muslim countries. These representations help the Vatican to understand the views of local governments. The Holy See also guides Catholics resident in those countries. The governments of those countries in turn send their diplomats to Rome. They learn about the Catholic Church. These governments, through their delegates, learns about the Vatican's charitable and religious services.

Christianity is not new to China. The country opened up to West and western science through the exemplary activity of the Reverend Matteo Ricci along with his many Jesuit followers in the Qing and Ming dynasties. At present, about 10 million Catholics live in the Chinese mainland. Thousands live in Taiwan and same number in Hong Kong.

The Vatican's move has been met with fierce opposition from many sections of the global church. A few said the Vatican has sold those Catholics who remained committed to Catholicism during the years they were persecuted heavily by Beijing. The Church scene in China is split into two parts: one part is backed by Beijing and bears the name Catholic Patriotic Association. The other is the “underground” church. The bishops of the latter are appointed by the Vatican. Under the present deal, it is assumed that the Vatican will recognize the government appointed bishops. Such is the stance against such a deal that an online petition against it multiplied from 20 to almost 700 within the space of a few hours.

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