Church in China growing despite persecution

Aid to the Church in Need has issued a report saying the Catholic Church in China is growing despite communist persecution and repression.

Reporting on the impressions of a delegation from Aid to the Church in Need which visited China, the organization based in Germany said, “Since the Cultural Revolution, in many regions of China there is no shortage of vocations, and the major and minor seminaries, as well as monasteries and convents, are not empty.  And that, despite the fact that young people know how difficult it is to live the Catholic faith in China.”

Aid to the Church recalled that “since the communists assumed power in China in 1949, the local Church has suffered persecution.  Because of the issue of whether or not the ordination of bishops should only be carried out by the Chinese Church, without the interference of Rome, disagreements between Catholics arose at the end of the 1950’s.  Those who refused to obey government authorities began what is called the underground Church.”

 “The one-child policy, imposed by Deng Xiao-Ping, led, especially in the cities, to a chronic lack of children.  Those who had more than one child were exposed to harsh punishments, and this continues today.  In some communities abortions took place.  But, despite the one-child policy, the number of vocations is growing among young people in some dioceses,” the organization said.

The report also cited the testimony of a priest in China who said, “When I was young, I wanted to be a martyr,” adding that “during the Cultural Revolution of the 70’s, many priests were imprisoned, among them, myself.  I wanted to be a priest and to pray in jail until death.”

“Now he is 40 years old.  With God at his side, he encourages thousands of people to do great works:  together they built churches, hospitals, orphanages and schools.  His vocation has been an example for many young people,” the report said.

Experts from Aid to the Church confirm “the Church in China is growing.”  “Today, the dividing line between ‘official’ and ‘underground’ parishes is blurring.  China has around 12 million Catholics, representing about one percent of the country’s total population,” the report concluded.

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