"Renaissance" of official Chinese Catholic churches creates conflicts
While continuing to crack down on underground house churches, China has in recent years seen a resurgence of faith and a relaxation in government policy toward registered groups, The New York Times reported yesterday.
The article focuses on the "remarkable renaissance" in Catholicism in the country. According to a Chinese Catholic charity, hundreds of Catholic churches have been built in one province alone in recent years. The article reads:
It is a striking burst of religious activity in a country where freedom to worship varies significantly from place to place, depending on the often begrudging tolerance of local officials, the negotiating skills of parish priests and their willingness to abide by government rules on registration and practice.
The growth of "official" Catholic churches, however, has created conflicts with underground churches. The registered churches reportedly give the Communist Party authority in the church and can receive foreign donations.
"Even as this kind of money is coming in, the persecution of underground Catholics is ongoing and getting worse — all 50 of the underground bishops are now under arrest, under surveillance or on the run," Joseph Kung, head of the Cardinal Kung Foundation told the Times. "You are either a good Catholic or not quite a good Catholic, like the people in the 'patriotic' church."
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