What Is This Word?
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Bishop N.T. Wright's Christmas Sermon
Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.
The new wave of arrests against underground priests is a failure, useless and childish. It only increases the number of sympathisers and vocations to the priesthood in the underground church. What is more, it pushes underground priests to seek greater co-operation with their counterparts in the official Church.
This, in short, is how Catholics see the latest arrests of underground priests in Hebei province: two priests on November 7; the Bishop of Zhengding Julius Jia Zhiguo (see photo) on November 9; six other priests on November 18.
All of them received the same treatment: “study sessions” consisting in endless hours of brainwashing to get them to join the Patriotic Association, the state-controlled organisation set up as a national Church separate from the Holy See.
The two priests arrested on November 7 were released but warned to “give up evangelising” and “go work on a farm”.
Still, hundreds of plain-clothed policemen have been sent out to monitor underground Catholic communities.
A priest from one of these communities told AsiaNews: “We shall not go back to till the soil. Times have changed and the way the government is treating the Church is childish. It only strengthens the faith and the enthusiasm of the faithful. It helps spread the Church’s influence more rapidly”.