07/20/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – A Catholic church in the Chinese province of Hebei which is not sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was demolished in late June.
On June 27, Shijiazhuang city authorities demolished the tent of the underground Loyalty Church, when its bishop Dong Baolu was hospitalized for a medical examination. He said Radio Libre Asia, “After I was admitted to the hospital on Monday June 27, they took me [it]. It’s been over ten days. »
The ICC earlier reported that Bishop Dong’s church was at risk of being demolished after local authorities visited him and learned he had no plans to join the official church. In his diocese of Zhengding, all priests have been invited to join the state-sanctioned Catholic Church.
“Most [priests] in Zhengding Diocese received [preaching] certificates and signed the agreement. I’m the only one left. Do you think they would let me pass? I am the last among more than 100 priests, they will certainly not spare me”, he told RFA.
His parishioners feared he would be taken away, so they arranged for him to be away before the alleged demolition took place. As Bishop Dong had planned, the demolition took place during his absence. The parishioners did not resist the demolition which was carried out by workers hired by the government.
He believes the reason for the church’s current situation has to do with the Sino-Vatican agreement signed in 2018. “The Sino-Vatican agreement supports the official church, not the underground church. This policy is like when someone is sleepy, you hand them a pillow, perfect! The Vatican gave [China] opportunity to deal with the underground church, now the government would be a fool if it doesn’t deal [the underground church]”, he added.
The Holy See signed a provisional agreement with China on the appointment of bishops in the fall of 2018. The agreement allows the Chinese government to appoint its own bishops without papal mandate, although the latter would have to accept the appointment.
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