Chinese Catholics worried about 'political scanning'

New appraisal system for religious personnel in Henan seen as an attempt to kick out uncooperative clergy
Chinese Catholics worried about 'political scanning'

Chinese clergy attend Christmas Eve Mass at a Catholic church in Beijing on Dec. 24, 2018. Catholics in Henan province are concerned that a new appraisal system will penalize those who do not obey the government. (Photo by Wang Zhao/AFP) 

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
China
April 30, 2019
Catholics in China’s Henan province are concerned that a new appraisal system for religious personnel is a front for political screening.

A Henan priest told ucanews.com that the provincial Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and Catholic Church Committee approached him during Holy Week to seek to appraise him.

A few days later, he found the newly launched annual appraisal scheme with an assessment form on WeChat. “The appraisal is ridiculous,” he said.

Rules state that the appraisal should be started each December and finished before the end of the year. All clergy with the Chinese Catholic Religious Personnel Certificate issued by the two organizations are to be appraised.

The appraisal focuses on loving the China Church, patriotism, morality, law obedience, upholding canon law, performance, and knowledge of theology and social services. Each item is worth 10-15 points in the appraisal.

If the subject gets less than 55 points or violates religious regulations, he/she will fail the appraisal and will be warned or prohibited from carrying out his/her duties.

“Only those who can pass the appraisal are suitable to be religious personnel, otherwise their church affairs will be prohibited,” a Catholic commentator who identified himself as Ma Du told ucanews.com.

He said this kind of appraisal aims to kick out religious people who do not listen to the government.

“It equals political scanning. To verify religious personnel should be the right and power of a bishop. The measure is like the government management model but not the church system,” Ma Du said. 

Henan is second only to Zhejiang in its number of Christians. The Catholic Church in Henan has nearly 300,000 faithful in 10 dioceses.

Sign up to receive UCAN Daily Full Bulletin
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
© Copyright 2019, UCANews.com All rights reserved
© Copyright 2019, Union of Catholic Asian News Limited. All rights reserved
Expect for any fair dealing permitted under the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance.
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without prior permission.