Chinese Church VoicesChurch and State

A Bishop Protests

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As the cross demolition campaign in Zhejiang Province continues (despite earlier reports of an order to bring it to a close), Protestant and Catholic believers are beginning to push back. Last week a small group of Catholics staged a demonstration outside of the government offices in Wenzhou, calling on the government to halt the campaign.

On Saturday, July 25, the Gospel Times published a short article about the incident. It is translated below in full. 

On Monday, July 27, The Guardian published a piece about the incident as well.

Wenzhou Bishop Protests the Cross Demolition Campaign

On the afternoon of July 24, the Catholic Bishop of Wenzhou, several priests, and nearly 30 people gathered in front of the Wenzhou City Government offices to protest the continued cross demolitions (that the campaign has not ceased).

According to reports, the gathering was led Bishop Zhu Weifang of the Catholic Diocese of Wenzhou, who was ordained in December of 2011 and is recognized by the government.

A year ago, on July 30, Bishop Zhu Weifang had sent a pastoral letter to the parishioners in the Wenzhou Diocese stating that the cross demolition campaign had hurt the religious and spiritual feelings of the parishioners.

The pastoral letter that he wrote last year said, "Although the elderly in my church have experienced more severe and ferocious storms than this, this demolition campaign still leaves me dismayed, perplexed and puzzled.

He said that he and many others have remained silent, patiently believing "that this fierce wind will soon cease to blow."

A year ago he had rather mixed feelings, but now says, “today the demolition campaign continues and implementation has even deepened. There is potential for it to get out of control."

Earlier this month the Zhejiang Catholic Group "One Church One Unity" put out a public statement condemning the cross demolitions and pointing out that the campaign "has aroused great dissatisfaction and indignation on the part of the majority of Catholics," and that it is "contrary to the General Secretary's call for the rule of law," and that it is "contrary to the building of a harmonious society."

Original article: 天主教温州教区神父在市政府前抗议反对强拆十字架 (Gospel Times)
Image credit: Xishiku Church, by Joann Pittman, via Flickr.

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