.- The Press Office of the Holy See has made public a communication which honors the many bishops, priests, and faithful of China, who have, “without compromise,” maintained full communion with the Pope, “even in times when the cost is grave suffering.” The communiqué also states that Pope Benedict XVI will soon write a letter to Catholics in China.
The Vatican message follows a meeting, conducted over the 19th and 20th of January, in which several Vatican officials and Chinese bishops examined “the most grave and urgent” problems for the Church in China and offered their best solutions in light of “the fundamental principles of the Divine Constitution of the Church and of religious liberty.”
The meeting was especially necessary, the communication said, “in light of the tormented history of the Church in China and the key events of the last year” in which the Chinese government ordained several bishops without the permission of Rome in addition to the kidnapping and punishment of several bishops and priests loyal to the Successor of St. Peter.
During the meeting the prelates “took note, with profound gratitude, of the clear testimony offered by the bishops, priests, and faithful who, without compromise, have maintained their fidelity to the Chair of Peter, even in times when the cost is grave suffering.”
The press release also affirms that with “particular joy,” “it was ascertained that nearly all bishops and priests remain in communion with the Supreme Pontiff.”
Also emphasized in the meeting was the numerical growth “of the Church community which, in China also, is called to offer testimony to Christ, to look ahead with hope and to take into account, in the preaching of the Gospel, the new challenges that society faces.”
“There emerged,” the communiqué continued, “the desire to proceed on the path of a respectful and constructive dialogue with government authorities, in order to overcome past misunderstandings.”
The note ended by announcing that, the Holy Father, who remained fully informed about the progression of the meeting’s conversations, “has benevolently resolved to address a letter to Catholics in China.”