Pope to Write a Letter to Chinese Catholics [EPR/2007/01/20]
The Holy See Press Office today
released the following communique at the close of a meeting held in
the Vatican from January 19 to 20, on the situation of the Catholic
Church in China.
"Pope Benedict XVI, in the desire to deepen his knowledge of the
situation of the Catholic Church in China, called a special meeting
which took place in the Vatican Apostolic Palace on January 19 and 20, 2007.
"The meeting was presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio
Bertone S.D.B., and attended by representatives of the Chinese
episcopate (Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) and by the people who, for
the Holy See, follow the Chinese question most closely. The
wide-ranging and intricate debate was characterized by a frank and
"In the light of the troubled history of the Church in China and
of the principal events of recent years, consideration was given to
the most serious and urgent ecclesial problems. Problems which call
for adequate solutions based on the fundamental principles of the
Church's divine constitution and religious freedom. The inspiring
witness of the bishops, priests and lay faithful was recognized with
profound appreciation; without giving way to compromise they have
maintained their loyalty to the See of Peter, sometimes at the cost
of grave suffering. It was noted with particular joy that today
almost all of the bishops and priests are in communion with the
"There has, moreover, been a surprising numerical growth of the
ecclesial community which, in China as elsewhere, is called to bear
witness to Christ, to look ahead with hope and, in announcing the
Gospel, to measure itself against the new challenges that society is facing.
"From the multiplicity of the participants' contributions, what
emerged was the will to continue along the path of respectful and
constructive dialogue with the governing authorities, in order to
overcome the misunderstandings of the past. The hope was also
expressed that a normalization of relations at all levels could be
achieved so as to facilitate a peaceful and fruitful life of faith in
the Church, and to work together for the good of the Chinese people
and for peace in the world.
"The Holy Father, who was fully informed of the proposals reached
in the course of the meeting, has benevolently decided to address a
Letter to Catholics in China."