Beijing, China, Oct 26, 2018 / 13:40 pm
As part of an ongoing crackdown on religious practice in the country, Chinese authorities demolished two Catholic Marian shrines this week. The move comes just one month after the Chinese government signed an agreement with the Vatican regarding the appointment of bishops.
According to reports from AsiaNews, government authorities destroyed the Marian shrines of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows in Dongergou (Shanxi), and Our Lady of Bliss, also known as Our Lady of the Mountain, in Anlong (Guizhou).
The shrines were pilgrimage sites for both the official Chinese Catholic Church and the “underground” Catholic Church in China.
Authorities claim that the shrine in Anlong was destroyed because it lacked the necessary building permits. Local Catholics told AsiaNews that they believe the demolitions were part of the so-called “Sinicization” efforts of the Communist Party to bring the Catholic Church more in-line with the government’s understanding of Chinese culture, society and politics.
Last month, the Holy See announced that Pope Francis had signed an agreement with the Chinese government intended to normalize the situation of China’s Catholics.
The Church in China has been split between the “underground” Church, in full communion with Rome, and the state-run Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), loyal to the government and not the Vatican.