Chinese Catholic conference vows to uphold independence principle

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/29 19:33:39

A man gazes at a crucifix at his home in Liuhe Village, Taiyuan, North China’s Shanxi Province, where most of the villagers are Catholics.  Photo: Li Hao/GT

A man gazes at a crucifix in Liuhe Village, Taiyuan, North China’s Shanxi Province, where most of the villagers are Catholics. Photo: Li Hao/GT


The national conference of Chinese Catholic representatives that ended Thursday vowed to uphold the principle of independence and self-governance, as analysts expressed optimism over the ongoing dialogue between the Chinese government and the Vatican.

"Sticking to the principle of independence and self-governance as well as a system of national congresses embodies the self-esteem and confidence of the Catholic Church in China. They are the foundation of the church's existence," said a statement released after the Ninth National Congress of the Chinese Catholic Representatives held from Tuesday to Thursday in Beijing.

The Chinese Catholic Church will stick to its sinicization path, adapt to the socialist society and align itself closely with the Communist Party of China with General Secretary Xi Jinping as the core, said Bishop Ma Yinglin in his closing speech.

The conference re-elected Bishop Fang Xingyao, chairman of the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), and Bishop Ma Yinglin, head of the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC). Neither of the organizations is recognized by the Vatican, which claims they are inconsistent with Catholic doctrines, but the Holy See stopped short of condemning the conference this time as it had done before.

The conference also elected 17 representatives as deputy chairmen of the patriotic association and the BCCCC, including Bishop Zhan Silu of Mindong, East China's Fujian Province, Bishop Lei Shiyin of Leshan, Southwest China's Sichuan Province and Bishop Huang Bingzhang of Shantou, South China's Guangdong Province, who were consecrated without the Vatican's blessing.

Officials from the administration and the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee attended the closing ceremony.

State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) director Wang Zuoan said during the conference on Tuesday that the Chinese government's position in improving ties with the Vatican has been long-standing and consistent. China hopes the Vatican can adopt a more flexible and pragmatic attitude and create opportunities to improve ties, he said.

A total of 365 Catholic representatives from 31 provincial-level regions around China attended the conference, six years after the last congress.



Posted in: POLITICS,DIPLOMACY

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