Focus on the Truth, Cardinal Zen Urges
As China’s expanded “Administrative Measures for Religious Groups” go into effect, more churches are being closed and destroyed. “No activities can be carried out in the name of religious groups” without governmental approval, one measure states, thus making underground churches illegal. Religious groups also “must establish a learning system” to train employees about adhering to communist policies.
According to the watchdog group Bitter Winter, Catholic priests who’ve been resisting state pressure to register are being harassed and ordered not to meet. All Catholic churches have been shuttered in Fuqing, the hometown of conscientious objector Father Lin Yuntuan, whom the government considers a rebel. One priest describes how communist officials use surveillance and intimidation: “They talk with you for at least half a day each time,” he tells Bitter Winter. “By harassing you continuously, they aim to break your will in the end.”
Last fall, Cardinal Zen wrote to the world’s 223 Catholic cardinals, saying this matter “concerns not only the Church in China, but the whole Church, and we cardinals have the grave responsibility to help the Holy Father in guiding the Church.” He asked his fellow cardinals: “Can we passively witness the murder of the Church in China by those who should protect and defend her from her enemies?”
Some U.S. leaders are speaking out about ongoing oppression in China. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Catholic, retweeted McGurn’s Wall Street Journal editorial and wrote: “The Church shouldn’t ignore #China’s continuing violations of religious freedom. The Party’s abuse knows no bounds, whether Buddhist, Muslim, or Christian & we cannot be silent.”
During a speech at the U.N. General Assembly last September, President Trump said, “Eighty percent of the world’s population lives in countries where religious liberty is in significant danger or even completely outlawed. Americans will never tire in our effort to defend and promote freedom of worship and religion.”