The Chinese Communist government is apparently accelerating the process of sinicization of the Catholic Church to implement in spirit and in action the policies of the Communist Party of China (CCP) put forward by President Xi Jinping.
Two recent events in Shandong and Hebei provinces organized by the state-controlled Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC) and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) highlighted the will of religious leaders to put the CCP’s sinization policy into practice.
In its academic sense, the sinization of religion refers to the indigenization of religious faith, practice and ritual in Chinese culture and society, according to the Lausanne Movement.
However, in reality, the sinization is based on a deeply political ideology which aims to impose strict rules on societies and institutions based on the core values of socialism, autonomy and support for the leadership of the CCP.
On September 24, Catholics from two churches in Zibo City, Shandong Province, attended an event titled “One Hundred Sermons” which aimed to explain President Xi’s instructions on religious activities, promoting sinization. in the Church and how to adapt to socialist society. , according to a report posted on the BCCCC website.
Some 30 church members and priests attended the program at Zhangdian Church in Zibo where Bishop Joseph Yang Yongqiang, Vatican approved bishop and vice president of the BCCCC, delivered a speech.
The priest concluded his speech by calling on Chinese Catholicism to carry on the legacy of pioneer leaders like Bishop Zong Huaide
Father Wang Yutong, Deputy Director and General Secretary of the Zibo Catholic Patriotic Association, gave a presentation entitled “Personal Experience of Sinicizing the Church” based on his 30 years of experience in parish management, evangelization and daily activities through the association.
The priest concluded his speech by calling on Chinese Catholicism to carry on the legacy of pioneer leaders like Bishop Zong Huaide and to follow the principles of “one direction, one road, one flag” – to adhere to the sinization of religion, the path of independence and a self-governing church; and the flag of patriotism and love for religion.
The presentation was applauded by the audience. Bishop Yang congratulated Father Wang on his inspiring speech and urged church members and priests to adhere to the “one direction, one road and one flag” principles.
Meanwhile, 18 key CCPA members from various provinces and cities visited Xibaipo Village, a prominent Communist revolutionary site in Shijiazhuang City in Hebei Province from September 27-29.
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The educational tour was based on the theme “Take the Red Footprints and Inherit the Red Spirit” which aimed to cultivate feelings of love for the Chinese Communist Party, patriotism and socialism as part of the sinization of Catholicism.
Xibaipo village is considered a sacred site for the CCP as it was once the seat of the Party Central Committee from which Mao Zedong, the founding father of Communist China, fought three major battles in Liaoshen, Huaihai and Pingjin against nationalist forces.
The CCPA delegation visited former sites of the Central Committee, the United Front Labor Department, the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission. They also visited the war room used by communist revolutionaries such as Mao Zedong, Zhu De and Zhou Enlai, and the Xibaipo Memorial Hall.
A guide accompanied the group, who also viewed historical exhibits while listening intently to the heroic deeds of the revolutionary martyrs and their great achievements leading to “the birth of a new China.”
The group also visited Catholic organizations in Hebei including Catholic Theological Seminary, Xinde Charitable Foundation and Xinde Society and had a meeting with Bishop Franics An Shuxin of Baoding as well as exchange meetings with priests. and parishioners.
China is officially an atheistic republic but it recognizes the legal entity of five religions: Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Islam and Taoism. For years, authorities have strictly controlled state-sanctioned religious groups and persecuted those who join unregistered and unrecognized groups such as the Church of Almighty God, Falun Gong, and even underground Catholics who refuse to join state-approved organizations or pledge allegiance to the CCP. .
The American Christian group Open Doors ranks China 17th among 50 countries where Christians face serious forms of persecution.
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