The chair of the US bishops’ international justice and peace committee on Thursday called for participation in the prayer octave for the Church in China urged by Charles Maung Cardinal Bo of Yangon.
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI designated May 24, the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, as a Worldwide Day of Prayer for the Church in China. In March, Cardinal Bo called for that day of prayer to be expanded into an octave, observed May 23-30.
Bishop David Malloy of Rockford said May 20 that “recognizing China’s growing global power, Cardinal Bo has expressed his hope that through these prayers, China ‘may become a force for good and a protector of the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized in the world.’ Similarly, Pope Francis has also affirmed his prayers for Catholics in China, acknowledging their difficulties, assuring them of his daily prayers, and exhorting them to be good citizens, ‘to make a prophetic and constructive contribution born of their faith in the kingdom of God.’”
“In unity and great love, let us join with the Church universal in our prayers to Our Lady Help of Christians, for China,” Bishop Malloy concluded.
Cardinal Bo had said in March that “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the peoples of China have faced increasing challenges, which impact us all. It is right that we should pray not only for the Church but for all persons in the People’s Republic of China.”
“We should ask Our Lady of Sheshan to protect all humanity and therefore the dignity of each and every person in China, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer, ‘to believe, to hope, to love’,” he added.
In February 2020 China began enforcing administrative measures to control every aspect of religious activity within the country, mandating that all religions and believers in China comply with regulations issued by the Chinese Communist Party, which must be acknowledged as the higher authority.
In May the legislature of China approved a resolution to impose new “security laws” on its formerly autonomous region, Hong Kong— a move pro-democracy protestors and Catholics in the country feared would undermine Hong Kongers’ freedoms, including freedom of religion.
A bishop of the underground Church was arrested in June.
In July a technology publication reported that the Diocese of Hong Kong has been targeted by “spear-phishing” operations from the Chinese government.
The Hong Kong diocese intervened in August to cancel a Catholic pro-democracy ad campaign and prayer that was set to run in local papers.
The same month, Hong Kong entrepreneur and media executive Jimmy Lai was arrested on criminal charges stemming from his support for democracy on the island territory.
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