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Human Rights & Social Issues

Pope tells Asia’s communist nations not to fear Christians


Pope Francis delivers an address during a meeting at the Spirituality Center in Kkottongnae in Eumseong August 16, 2014.

Pope Francis delivers an address during a meeting at the Spirituality Center in Kkottongnae in Eumseong August 16, 2014.

Pope Francis, in remarks clearly intended for communist-ruled countries such as China, North Korea and Vietnam, said on Sunday that Asian governments should not fear Christians as they did not want to “come as conquerors” but be integral parts of local cultures.

Francis made his comments, some of them unscripted, in an address to about 70 bishops from 35 Asian countries gathered in the town of Haeme, south of Seoul, on the next-to-last day of his trip to South Korea.

He told them the Church was committed to dialogue with everyone, saying: “In this spirit of openness to others, I earnestly hope that those countries of your continent with whom the Holy See does not yet enjoy a full relationship, may not hesitate to further a dialogue for the benefit of all.”

Francis then added, in unscripted remarks, that he was talking of “not just political dialogue but also fraternal”. He added that “Christians do not come as conquerors” who erase national and cultural identities but wanted to “walk together”.

The pope’s words were applicable to several nations in Asia where the Church is associated with colonialism, particularly China, which has had no formal relations since shortly after the Communist Party took power in 1949.

“It’s an offer, an openness, a readiness to engage in dialogue for the well-being of the Church and the people in these different lands,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters. “Good Catholics can also be good citizens. The authorities do not have to fear the Holy See as something that exercises power in their land. It is religious.”

The Catholic Church in China is divided into two communities: an “official” Church known as the “Patriotic Association” answerable to the Communist Party, and an underground Church that swears allegiance only to the pope in Rome.

A TURNED-DOWN INVITE

They also apply to isolated North Korea, where religious freedom is constitutionally guaranteed provided it does not undermine the state, but outside of a small handful of government-controlled places of worship, no open religious activity is allowed.

North Korea turned down an invitation from the South Korean Catholic church for members of its state-run Korean Catholic Association to attend a papal mass on Monday in Seoul, citing as a reason joint U.S.-South Korean military drills due to begin the same day.

The Vatican’s relations with Vietnam have improved significantly in recent years, though the two still do not have full diplomatic ties.

Francis told the bishops the Church should not aim to grow by aggressive conversion efforts, but by what he called “attraction”.

When Francis travelled from Rome to Seoul on Thursday, his plane was allowed to cross Chinese air space. It was the first time a pope had been allowed to fly over China on Asian tours. His predecessor John Paul II had to avoid Chinese airspace.

During his flight, Francis sent an unprecedented message of goodwill to China, where the Church is keen to establish a greater presence, telling President Xi Jinping he was praying for peace and well-being for all Chinese people.

CHINA ‘NOTES’ THE POSITION

China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday said it had “noted” the Pope’s position, and repeated its position that Beijing was sincere about wanting to improve relations with the Vatican.

“We are willing to keep working hard with the Vatican to carry out constructive dialogue and push for the improvement of bilateral ties,” the ministry said in a statement faxed to Reuters. [ID:nL4N0QK18C}

In its statement, Beijing did not address the issue of Chinese barred from attending a youth event in Korea.

About half of more than 100 Chinese who had planned to attend Sunday’s Asian Youth Day event were unable to do so due to “a complicated situation inside China”, an official with the local organiser of the pope’s visit told reporters on Thursday.

The main point of contention between Beijing and the Vatican is which side should have the final say in the appointment of bishops.

The Vatican has been sending olive branches to China for years, but a major stumbling block is the Holy See’s continued recognition of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.

In the afternoon, Francis said a Mass on a soggy field for thousands of people to close a gathering of Catholic youth from all over Asia. He urged them to care for the poor and the broken-hearted and listen to “the cry of so many people in our anonymous cities”.

Before leaving Seoul for Haemi, the pope fulfilled a promise he made the day after he arrived – to baptise the father of a victim of the Sewol ferry disaster, in which more than 300 people, most of them school children, were killed in April.

Lee Ho-Jin had been preparing to convert and asked the pope to perform the rite himself. It was carried out in the chapel of the Vatican embassy in Seoul on Sunday morning, a spokesman said. Lee decided to take the name Francis as his Christian name in honour of the pope, a spokesman said.

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Source: Reuters “Pope tells Asia’s communist nations not to fear Christians”
 
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About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

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