China's seminaries should 'strengthen political education'

Official from the Central United Front Work Department tells open-church Catholics to win over 'underground forces'
China's seminaries should 'strengthen political education'

Inside the symposium to commemorate of the 60th anniversary of ‘self-elected, self-ordained of bishops in China’ on Dec. 18. (Photo supplied) reporter, Hong Kong
December 24, 2018
A high level Chinese official has reminded Catholics at a symposium that foreign intervention is not allowed into affairs of the Catholic Church in China while adding that seminaries should strengthen ideological education.

Wang Zuoan, deputy director of the Central United Front Work Department (UFWD) attended a symposium held by the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association on Dec. 18.

During a speech, Wang stressed that principles of independence, autonomy and self-administration had to be observed, jargon for non-acceptance of any Vatican meddling.

The UFWD has direct control over the state-run organizations of all five official religions including the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Chinese Bishop's Conference.

More than a hundred bishops, priests and nuns, as well as lay church members, attended the event held at a hotel next to a Catholic church in Jiangsu province.


Wang Zuoan, deputy director of the Central United Front Work Department (center), with symposium attendees. (Photo supplied)


Wang said official principles would ensure that the Catholic leadership would be in the hands of those who "love the country and the church."

He stressed that no foreign religious organization or foreign powers would be able to endanger national interests through control and manipulation of the Chinese Catholic Church.

"Therefore, the seminaries should strengthen ideological and political education, set up a supervision system and speed up the compilation of teaching materials to improve the quality of teachers and schools," he said.

Finally, Wang reminded participants that it is necessary to win over "underground forces" to the pro-government church patriotic association.

The symposium commemorated the 60th anniversary of 'self-elected and self-ordained' bishops in China.

Clergy and lay people from across China attended the symposium held at Nanjing Golden Eagle International Hotel. (Photo supplied)

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The symposium was held eight days after a Vatican delegation headed by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli oversaw the placement of government-backed formerly illicit bishops into dioceses that were long-run by underground bishops.

The meeting with the Vatican delegation followed the reaching of a provisional agreement in September covering the appointment of new bishops.

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