CNA Staff, Apr 30, 2020 / 13:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).
As the Chinese government makes progress containing the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities have resumed action to remove crosses from buildings and crackdown on religious practice.
The latest round of enforcement actions have included the removal of crosses from buildings belonging to the state-run churches. According to a report from UCA News, priests say they are cooperating in the removal of exterior crosses in hopes that entire church buildings will not be demolished or converted into a building for secular use.
According to a parishioner in the Chinese province of Anhui named John, Chinese officials cut down the cross from the top of Our Lady of the Rosary Church on April 18. Our Lady of the Rosary belongs to the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA, the Catholic Church officially sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party and operating both in communion with Rome and under state control.
The bishops of the CPCA, who were in many cases illicitly consecrated and under official excommunication, were received into full communion with Rome as part of the Vatican’s 2018 provisional agreement with China. The full terms of the China deal were not released to the public but have been reported to include the right of state authorities to propose and veto candidates for the episcopacy in China.
John, speaking to UCA News, explained that on April 13, the leaders of Our Lady of the Rosary--which does not have a member of the clergy assigned to it, and all religious activities are organized by the laity--asked the city authorities about making repairs to the church building. Three days later, the community director of the city requested keys and access to the church, in order to remove its cross.