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Pope prays for China's 'opportunists'

Prayers can remove 'the temptation to follow a path independent of Peter'

Pope Benedict XVI at a May 18 general audience asks the universal Church to pray for Catholics in China Pope Benedict XVI at a May 18 general audience asks the universal Church to pray for Catholics in China
  • ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong
  • May 18, 2011
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The pope, during the first of a series of talks on prayer to more than 10,000 Catholics gathered in St. Peter’s Square today, asked the Blessed Mary to strengthen those who are “ensnared by the allure of opportunism” in the Church of China.

Pope Benedict XVI reminded all Catholics that they have a duty to pray for the China Church on May 24, the world prayer day for Catholics in the country.

Their prayers can ensure the China Church “remains one, holy and Catholic, faithful and steadfast in doctrine and in ecclesial discipline,” and “their [Chinese Catholics'] wish to remain in the one universal Church will prove stronger than the temptation to follow a path independent of Peter,” he said.

The universal Church knows that some Chinese bishops suffer and find themselves under pressure in the exercise of their episcopal ministry, the pope noted.

Pope Benedict's comments come ahead of a series of episcopal ordinations expected to take place in coming months. The first will be that of Father Lu Peisen of Yanzhou on May 20. While Father Lu has a papal mandate, some candidates have not been approved by the Vatican.

A Church source who wanted to remain anonymous said that the Beijing government is pushing to elect, ordain or legitimise bishops from candidates who are not suitable for various reasons, such as an inadequate moral life, corrupt administration or are people involved into politics and illegitimate ordination.

Some do not recognize bishops who were legitimately ordained, and even profane their tombs, the source said.

The late Bishop Peter Li Hongye’s tombstone was destroyed recently. “It is very sad what is happening in Luoyang and it is a strong attack on our Church,” the source said.

The mission intention of the pope for May is also dedicated to China, praying that the Lord may help the Church there “persevere in fidelity to the Gospel and grow in unity."

Responding to the world prayer day, CathNews China, a Chinese language sister website of ucanews.com, is also running a light-a-candle campaign to encourage readers to pray for this intention.

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