BY Peter Diamond | August 30 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

4-china

Catholic Asian students in Scotland reveal fears over Vatican deal with Communist China

Two Catholic students from Macau and China studying in Scotland have shared their concerns about a Vatican deal with the Chinese Government as protests against the communist regime continue in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has seen angry protests for a number of weeks against a proposed extradition bill with China.

If passed it would allow for criminals in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trial. The bill has currently been suspended but not withdrawn.

A student from Macau (an autonomous region on the south coast of China) told the SCO that a recent Vatican deal with China ‘casts doubts’ over the future of religious freedom in China and its sphere of influence.

Catholic Patriotic Association

In 2018 Pope Francis agreed a deal with the Chinese Government in an effort to unite the ‘underground’ Catholic church in the country with the government-approved Catholic Patriotic Association.

Under the deal, the Vatican will have a say in the naming of bishops and the Pope will have veto power over candidates.

Speaking about the deal the Catholic student, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The Vatican’s inexplicable recognition of the status of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which advocates a de facto schism, has certainly justified the government’s tightening control over the Church in China, forcing priests and bishops to join the association which at the same time declares independence from the universal Church.”

Scepticism

Another student, Junyuan Rao, a convert who became a Catholic while studying at St Andrew’s University, said he is skeptical about the Chinese Government keeping any promises to Hong Kong or the Vatican.

Junyuan, from Guiyang, Guizhou, China, said: “As the case with Hong Kong demonstrates, the Chinese Government does not keep promises.

“There’s no guarantee that they would keep the promises they make to the Vatican.

“The Chinese state ideology I think is not compatible with the teaching of the Church, so I’d also be very skeptical with allowing the Chinese state to choose any bishop.

“I am less concerned for the current bishops as all of them were trained before the Communists took power, but I’d be very concerned for the next generation of bishops who grew up in Communist China, and may have more loyalty to the state than to the Church.”

Religious freedom

Junyuan added that religious freedom is also being eradicated in China.

“I hear more stories of churches being destroyed—both Protestant and Catholic—and pastors and priests being arrested, so I’m not too sure now is the best time to do a deal,” he said.

“I do hope that all Christian freedom would be protected, I think as Catholics we should stand in solidarity with our separated brethren when it comes to persecution.”

Junyuan came to his Catholic Faith through being involved in the Catholic chaplaincy, Canmore in St Andrews, Scotland.

Silence

“I was very drawn by the kindness and genuine Christian charity of the people there,” said Junyuan.

“I really appreciated the emphasis there on explaining the Faith using reason, especially during our Wednesday night talks.

“Most churches are open for prayer during the day, and priests also leave some time of silence during Mass, whereas in my home church in China I find that almost every single moment in the church is filled with noise, either speaking or singing.”

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