Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Monday, September 29, 2003

The Church in China

With His Holiness Pope John Paul II's appointment of a nameless cardinal in pectore (in his heart) among the 31 to get their red hats (see Pope Announces 31 New Cardinals, One Name Secret for more information or John Paul II Appoints 31 New Cardinals for a complete list), there has been speculation that this unknown cardinal might be from China, as the in pectore formula if used when a potential cardinal comes from a place hostile to the Catholic Faith and when mentioning his name might compromise his position.

At this time, it would be good to remember that persecution of the Christian Faith did not end with the emperor Diocletian, but continues today, perhaps most vigorously in the People's Rebublic of China.

An interview with journalist and missionary Father Cervellera entitled Church in China Overcoming Forced Division gives a good description of the current sad situation in the PRC. The Cardinal Kung Foundation, named for a cardinal who himself was named in pectore, gives an excellent background to China's 50 years of persecuting the Church.

As Ann Coulter says in her latest editorial IT'S THE WINTER SOLSTICE, CHARLIE BROWN!, which details religious persecution in the US but is applicable to our discussion here:

There is no surer proof of Christ's divinity than that he is still so hated some 2000 years after his death.

And, from an editorial suprisingly friendly to evangelization, God on Their Side by Nicholas D. Kristof, the situation described in Africa can be applied to China. Mr. Kristof describes the good works done by the missionaries, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Pentacostal, on the African continent, such as setting up orphanages, hospitals, and schools. If the Chinese government were to allow such things in China, it would be a de facto admission that the strange amalgamation of cut-throat capitalism and authoritarian communist government (the worst of consumerist materialism and Marxist materialism) is a colossal failure.

Father Cervellera, from the article linked above, gives a chilling description of contemporary China:

China has an economy that seems to be brimming with health. Last year, the GNP grew by 8.5%. But this wealth is in the hands of a few, while the people are enslaved with very low salaries.

At present, there are 170 million unemployed without social security. The health service no longer exists. Schools are abandoned to their fate, and freedom of association is denied, despite [China] having signed the U.N. conventions, and the commitments assumed by the government.

The Heavenly Empire, full of benevolence, art and culture, which so fascinated the West, no longer exists.

Today China is governed by a corrupt, unscrupulous ruling class which has abandoned Communism at the economic level, but which continues to maintain the same control of the population. We are before a new merciless empire.