The Chinese government continues to imprison Catholic clergy – including bishops – who refuse to support the Communist Party, according to a new report out of the province of Jiangxi.
According to UCA News, priests in the Diocese of Yujiang who refuse to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association have been placed under house arrest as of September 1. These priests have been forbidden from “engaging in any religious activity in the capacity of clergy” as part of their punishment.
For decades, the Church in China had been split between the “underground” Church, in full communion with Rome, and the state-run Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), which was not. The communist government appointed bishops for the CPCA.
In September 2018, news was released of a provisional agreement between Beijing and Vatican officials, intended to unify the underground Church and the CPCA. While the terms of the agreement have been kept confidential, it reportedly allows the CPCA to choose a slate of nominees for bishop, from which the pope would then select in making his appointment.
Following that agreement, previously underground clergy were encouraged to join the state church, which involves affirming Communist Party authority over ecclesial affairs. Many underground clergy have refused to do so, citing doctrinal conflicts between Church teaching and CPCA rules. The Vatican has recognized that some clergy may choose not to join the CPCA for reasons of conscience.
Read more at Catholic News Agency