National Catholic Register

Vatican

Embracing the Future with Faith and Hope

BY Jim Cosgrove

December 7-13, 1997 Issue | Posted 12/7/97 at 2:00 PM

 

China-Vatican Relations as Seen by China

In Asiaweek, Ye Xiaowen, director of the State Council's Religious Affairs Bureau in China answered questions about the persecution of religion in his country.

“His answers are unlikely to appease Beijing's critics,” the Nov. 28th dated publication points out, in what surely is an understatement.

The magazine's question, “What is the status of the Roman Catholic Church in China today?” is answered: “China has only one Catholic Church represented by the Chinese Catholic Church and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. As for those so-called bishops secretly named by the Vatican in the early 1980s behind the backs of the Chinese government, the Chinese Church, and the Association, they are illegal. The Chinese Church and the Association have made great efforts to win over those people, and some have recognized the virtue of abiding by national laws. The very few who engage in all sorts of illegal activities under the banner of Catholicism can expect to be prosecuted.”

“Do you see any reconciliation,” the magazine asked, “between the Chinese Catholic Church and the Association and those Catholics loyal to Rome?”

Ye was quoted answering, “China wishes to develop relations with the Vatican under two basic premises. First, the Chinese government as the sole legitimate government of Taiwan must be recognized. Second, religion cannot be used as a pretext for interfering in China's internal affairs. Only through improved relations on a state level can we talk further about religious questions. If the Vatican abides by these two premises, relations can progress quickly. Otherwise, they will remain difficult.”

Iran and Vatican: Same Conclusion, Different Reasons

Two millennia ago, St. Joseph fled with Mary and Jesus to Egypt as Herod massacred the innocents. After 58 tourists were massacred at the Hatshepsut Temple in Egypt, tourists will have a hard time returning to the land that the Holy Family once saw as a refuge.

MSNBC-TV News reported that the consequences of the massacre have been many: despite enhanced security, many tours are being canceled and tourists have been fleeing the area in droves.

But one unlikely consequence, according to the article was that, “The state radio of Islamic Iran and the Pope found themselves in rare agreement on Tuesday in condemning Monday's slaughter by Muslim Militants.

“But while the head of the Roman Catholic Church urged all believers to shun violence, Tehran radio focused on the potential loss of sympathy for Arab and Islamic causes.”

It quoted Tehran radio saying, “The spread of this sinister phenomenon has served the interests of domineering and profit seeking foreigners who have used the turmoil in the region to extend their influence.”