Beijing, China, Dec 3, 2019 / 16:30 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A Chinese bishop has said that Catholics in the country must put their loyalty to the state before the faith. Bishop John Fang Xingyao made the statement during a Communist Party sponsored meeting in Beijing last week held to discuss concerning religion in China.
“Love for the homeland must be greater than the love for the Church and the law of the country is above canon law,” said Bishop Fang said Nov. 26 at the Political Consultative Conference on Religions according to reports from Asia News.
Bishop Fang is the head of the Diocese of Linyi, on the east coast of China in the province of Shandong.
In addition to serving as the bishop of Linyi, Fang is also president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the state-sponsored Catholic group which existed in schism with Rome until the conclusion of the controversial Vatican-China agreement struck last year. That agreement gave communist officials a say in the appointment of Catholic bishops and the right to enforce “sinicization” on local Catholic practice.
Fang also serves as vice-president of the Council of Chinese Bishops and sits on the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCCP). Fang was first appointed a bishop by the Chinese government in 1994.