On the CWR homepage this week, you’ll find Dr. Anthony E. Clark’s report on the condition of Catholics in China today, which appears in our June issue. Dr. Clark is an associate professor of Chinese history at Whitworth University; he frequently travels to China and speaks with Catholics about their lives under the oppressive communist regime – everyone from Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong to priests from rural Chinese dioceses to ordinary Catholics trying to live their faith while navigating the tensions between the country’s “underground” and “above-ground” communities.
This passage offers particular insight into the difficult situation in which Chinese Catholics find themselves, and their desire for unity with the larger Church:
While visiting Guiyang’s splendid Catholic cathedral, near the place where martyrs spilled their blood, I asked Father Liu Xianjun, a priest in the open Church, what China’s Catholics desired most. “We wish above all that the Pope could be free to walk on Chinese soil,” he said. The history of the Church in China is not unlike the history of the Church in Rome. Like Roman Christians, China’s early Christians suffered extreme persecution and martyrdom, from the blood of the martyrs the Church grew, and now China boasts its own saints to remember at Mass. But one difference remains tragically persistent: not a single Pope has visited the Middle Kingdom.
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