Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has launched a prayer campaign calling on all the feminine cloistered monasteries in Italy to pray that the soon-to-be released letter from Pope Benedict XVI to Catholics in China will be well-received and that they will be able to enjoy religious freedom.
Cardinal Dias said the Pope’s letter is intended to “express his paternal closeness and offer some guidance related to the life of the Church and the work of evangelization” in China. He noted that Catholics in China are divided between those in the “official” church recognized by Beijing, and those in the underground Church faithful to the Holy Father, which he said is “cause for much suffering and confusion among pastors and the faithful.”
“All Catholics are united in the profession of the one faith and in their unwavering loyalty to the successor of Peter,” the cardinal said. “For this reason, many of them suffer terrible persecutions and have died for the cause of Christ and His Church,” he said in conclusion.