The building had an upper floor for the liturgy and a lower one that housed the nuns who offered medical visits and medicines to the population of the very poor area. The parish community is composed of 2 thousand faithful. Motive for destruction uncertain.
by Bernardo Cervellera
Rome (AsiaNews) – This morning, the Qianyang (Shaanxi) government razed the only parish in the city to the ground. A bulldozer reduced the two-story building to rubble under the supervision of a group of policemen. In the video sent to AsiaNews we hear the sobs of some women, while several faithful look astonished at the destruction.
The Qianyang parish was located in a very poor area of Shaanxi and gathers around 2 thousand Catholics, all peasants. It was built with offerings from other communities in the diocese. On the upper floor the building housed the liturgy room; on the ground floor there were offices and the nuns residence. The sisters offered medical aid, medical visits and medicines to the indigent population.
The reasons for the destruction are still not known clearly.
The Diocese of Fengxiang, led until 2017 by Msgr. Luke Li Jingfeng has a special character in the Chinese church scene: it is the only diocese where neither the faithful nor the bishop are members of the Patriotic Association, although there is an Office for Religious Affairs. From 2017, the bishop has been 54 years old Msgr. Peter Li Huiyuan.
Some observers think that violence against the parish is a way to force the diocese to apply the new religious regulations and to have bishops and priests enrolled in the Patriotic Association.
Others point out that the communist cell that presides over the Qianyang government is made up of radical Maoists, for whom “religion is a fantasy that must be eradicated”.
The church of Qianyang is famous in the area: in the past, according to the faithful, some miracles have been attributed to the holy water in the parish. Since then, many have flocked to receive holy water that is used as a physical and spiritual remedy for humans and animals.
For some believers, the destruction is due to the Maoists “fear of holy water”.