Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Pope's Letter to the Chinese

This has been another important piece of news in the Church today - a letter Pope Benedict has written to the Chinese.

I'm really glad Fr. Z has been focusing on this issue for the last few months because it has had me thinking often of Catholics and Christians in China, where ordinary Catholic things we take for granted can bring on much hardship for them. Those who don't die a physical martydrom, endure a living martyrdom where "dying to self" goes to a level most of us in the west cannot fathom. Our hearts and prayers go out our Chinese brothers and sisters, and all suffering Christians in the world.

Archbishop Chaput had this to say in an outstanding article published this May entitled, Religious Tolerance and the Common Good. Mid-article he points out:

When I visited China two years ago for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, two things struck me. The first was the incredible growth of the Christian faith in that country. And the second was the remarkably skillful and subtle persecution of religion carried out by the authorities. The world can be a very difficult place for people who truly seek the face of God. A country like North Korea has nearly wiped religious believers out of the population. It’s a gangster state without even a pretense of freedom and the rule of law. In Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, Christians have faced discrimination and persecution for centuries, and it hasn’t stopped. It’s happening right now, today, while I’m speaking.

We have it easy here. We can go to Mass when and if we feel like it - at any parish at all. Sometimes we are inclined to hide our Catholicism for secular reasons while people in other parts of the world are dying for their faith, or suffering in ways we don't fully realize.

Here is the letter (choose your language at the bottom)

Here are Fr. Z's initial thoughts, with more to come, I'm sure. Perhaps I'll just edit this post with further commentaries from Fr. Z and others that are relevant.

Some background may be found among the posts by Sandro Magister over at The Chiesa

Edit: The American Papist has his bases covered with several links and he is going to read it over the weekend. Hmmmmm ...... it must be a slow weekend for Tom!!! We'll look for his reaction, as well.

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