Vatican meeting on Catholic church in ChinaFriday, April 27th, 2012
A Year of Faith will be celebrated by the Catholic Church in China from October 11 2012 to November 23, 2012.
It will concentrate in a special way on the formation of lay people given the situation of the Catholic community in China. This is according to a commission to study the life of the Catholic Church in China that met at the Vatican from April 21 to 25.
The commission, established by Benedict XVI in 2007, includes superiors of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia with responsibility in this area, as well as certain representatives of the Chinese episcopate and of religious congregations. They reported in a communique that, while previous meetings have examined the formation of seminarians, consecrated persons and priests, this year the focus would be on the formation of the lay faithful.
Also this week, the statistics collected by the Study Centre of Faith in He Bei up to April 19 show that during Easter 2012, 22,104 baptisms were administered in the Catholic communities. Despite this result, "The community is fully aware of the need for further work of evangelisation," the head of the Centre told Fides.
"It is true that we have dioceses that do not focus all baptisms at Easter, according to the cycle of catechism or other solemnities of the Church but we cannot but consider that more than 22,000 baptisms at Easter, in a Catholic community like ours, Chinese, which has over 6 million members, represent only 0.33%.”
In contrast the diocese of Hong Kong, which has 360,000 faithful, there were 3,500 baptisms at Easter, equivalent to 0.97%.The Study Centre has been collecting data since 2007 and these latest statistics show that those baptised at Easter belong to 101 dioceses and 75% are adults.
In He Bei province, considered a stronghold of Chinese Catholicism, there were 4,410 newly baptised, 615 more than last year, and three-quarter adults.
Aid to the Church in need, which fights against persecution, has stated that the Church in China is growing, but it remains a minority of just over 1%. Similar to other Asian countries, the Constitution of China guarantees religious liberty, but all religious communities must be registered with the government, which controls all religious activities.
There has been tension between the Vatican and Chinese government in recent years as the government has appointed bishops without Vatican approval. This has led to an official (government) church and an underground church.
by Ann Marie Foley