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China church split 'biggest challenge to faith, hope'

Division among Chinese Catholic communities the result of government manipulation, Cardinal Zen says

Published: June 07, 2016 07:57 AM GMT

Updated: June 07, 2016 08:05 AM GMT

China church split 'biggest challenge to faith, hope'

The enormous obstacles placed in the way of unification for the splintered church communities in China are the greatest challenge to both faith and hope for Catholic people on the mainland, a reflection and prayer meeting was told in Hong Kong

The Holy Spirit Study Centre and the Justice and Peace Commission organized the May 22 meeting as part of a worldwide Day of Prayer for China.

The former bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, described the divide between official church communities, registered by the government, and the unregistered, or unofficial communities, as being the result of deliberate government manipulation, according to the Sunday Examiner, the Hong Kong Diocese's Catholic newspaper.

Cardinal Zen said the political situation created by the government under which the church is forced to operate is the root cause of the division among the Catholic people.

Father Sergio Ticozzi from the Pontifical Institute for Missions described this as a factor external to the church, rather than a problem of its own making.

He pointed out that there is no clear way in which this problem can be addressed, other than praying that people can remain loyal and never lose their spirit of hope or trust in faith.

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