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:

Reuters Showcase

World Cup 2015

World Cup 2015

Dhoni, bowlers shine as India book quarter-final place.  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

Rupee to depreciate marginally, yuan to rise a little.  Full Article 

Rape Accused Killed

Rape Accused Killed

Mob in Nagaland breaks into jail, lynches rape suspect.  Full Article 

Govt vs RBI

Govt vs RBI

Government faces potential clashes with RBI over who decides rates.  Full Article 

'India's Daughter'

'India's Daughter'

Society created Delhi gang rape convicts: Filmmaker Leslee Udwin.  Full Article | Related Story 

Ford Injured

Ford Injured

Actor Harrison Ford injured in small-plane crash in Los Angeles.  Full Article 

China Attack

China Attack

Knife attack wounds 9 at Chinese train station, suspect shot dead.  Full Article 

Holi Hai!

Holi Hai!

In Pictures: Festival of Colours.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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