Pages

Saturday, 17 October 2009

State interference in funeral of Chinese Bishop

UCANEWS has a report on the funeral of Bishop James Lin Xili of Wenzhou which took place last Saturday. (See: Members of 'open' and 'underground' communities attend bishop's funeral) Bishop Lin was ordained clandestinely and therefore a member of the "underground Church". In China, as I understand, Catholics try hard to prevent the communist government from driving a wedge between the "official" and the "underground" Church. The funeral of Bishop Lin was an example of this determined co-operation with more than 20,000 people attending - from both communities (along with 1,000 police.)

Although the funeral was held in relative freedom, there was still some petty state interference. As UCANEWS reports:
The sources also said local government officials forbade the use of the term zhujiao (bishop) on banners and wreaths, but a compromise was reached with the use of "Lin mu" (shepherd Lin). However, officials allowed the verbal use of "Lin zhujiao" during funeral Masses and other memorial services.

Authorities did not allow Bishop Lin's body to be clothed in bishop's garb, but his family members placed the zucchetto or bishop's skullcap on his head just before the cremation, sources said.
I am currently reading Fr Adrian Fortescue's fascinating book on "The Orthodox Eastern Church" and the Chinese government's interference with the Church seems strikingly similar to the way in which the Emperors of "new Rome" and, later, the Turks, interfered with the Church at Constantinople.

Another thought which struck me was the fine example of tolerance and co-operation shown by the Chinese Catholics in such difficult and highly-charged circumstances. With our relatively easy civic freedom, perhaps we could see this as a model for co-operation with the Society of St Pius X? Please don't misunderstand me: I know that the comparison is not exact and I am certainly not suggesting that either side is the equivalent of a "patriotic Church" but if the Catholics in China can work together despite such important and emotive differences, should it be so hard for us to do so?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...