Pope laments China state pressure on Catholics

ROME Wed May 18, 2011 6:22pm IST

Pope Benedict XVI blesses as he leads his Weekly General Audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican May 18, 2011. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Pope Benedict XVI blesses as he leads his Weekly General Audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican May 18, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

Related Topics

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said China's communist authorities were putting pressure on faithful who want to remain loyal to the Vatican and he hoped the Chinese church could survive attempts to divide it from Rome.

He called on Wednesday for all Catholics to pray for the faithful in China, who are not allowed to recognise the pope's authority but forced to be members of a state-backed Church.

"We know that among our brother bishops, there are some that suffer and are under pressure," the pope said at his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square. "By praying we can ensure that the Church in China remains one, holy and Catholic."

The pope has previously denounced restrictions on religious freedom in China and encouraged Catholics there to persevere.

China says it protects religious freedom, but does not recognise the authority of the pope and refuses to establish formal relations with the Vatican until the Holy See -- the Church's governing body -- severs ties with Taiwan, which China considers a renegade territory.

China's 8 to 12 million Catholics are divided between the state-sanctioned church that names bishops without the Vatican's approval and an underground church wary of government ties.

China forced several bishops and priests loyal to the pope to attend a meeting of the state-backed church last year, rankling the Vatican.

Last November, the Vatican condemned the ordination without papal permission of a Chinese bishop, calling it a "painful wound" hampering dialogue between the Holy See and Beijing.

It has urged bishops in China to not themselves be manipulated by the government.

(Reporting by Catherine Hornby; editing by Mark Heinrich)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Islamic State Threat

Reuters Showcase

Day of Mourning

Day of Mourning

Malaysia mourns as bodies of MH17 victims finally come home.  Full Article 

Iraq's Air Force

Iraq's Air Force

Amid U.S. air strikes, Iraq struggles to build own air force.  Full Article 

History In Pictures

History In Pictures

First pictures of Taj Mahal to ‘Hairy family of Burma’: subcontinent photos from 1850-1910.  Full Article 

Tough Policies

Tough Policies

Australia defends detention of child asylum seekers.  Full Article 

Tensions Ease

Tensions Ease

National Guard begins pullout from riot-weary Ferguson, Missouri.  Full Article 

Nervous  Calm

Nervous Calm

Amid outward calm, climate of fear cements Thai military rule.  Full Article 

Containing Ebola

Containing Ebola

Liberia quarantines remote villages at the epicenter of the virus.  Slideshow 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage