1. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

  2. Lenten Mission

  3. Moscow Conference

  4. Ask Father


Catholics to be banned
from 2008 Olympics in China?

by James W. Bannister, B.A., LL.B.

There are some misguided or ill-informed people — even within the Vatican — who think that things are changing in Communist China, just as they are supposedly changing in Russia. Now that China has become “more open to the world” (e.g. by joining the World Trade Organization), they think that it has forgotten about the Marxist principles on which their State is founded.

Within recent months we have had news of the Vatican’s overtures to China. (See my articles in The Fatima Crusader No. 85 and Fatima Perspectives No. 534.) The Vatican, it seems, wants to “normalize” relations with the Communist Chinese. After many years of having to live with the Vatican-Moscow Agreement, we may now have to contend with a “Vatican-Beijing Agreement”.

The price for such an accord will undoubtedly be the acceptance into communion with Rome of the “Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association” (CPCA), the schismatic pseudo-church set up by the Communists over 50 years ago to control the activities of the Catholic faithful. This will entail the abandonment of some 8-10 million “underground Catholics” who still owe their allegiance to Rome rather than the “Communist motherland”.

Are we to believe that the Communist Chinese have really softened their attitudes to Catholics and followers of other religions? Is it possible that freedom of religion may come to China, even without the divine intervention for which those of us who believe in the Message of Fatima pray every day?

Those who think Communist China, like Russia, may somehow be on the road to conversion should be aware of a new directive issued by China’s Ministry of Public Security and reported in the Independent Catholic News on June 1st.

Beijing has issued a list of 43 categories of “unwanteds” who are to be investigated and may be barred from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. On the personae non grata list are any and all “religious groups not sanctioned by the state, including the underground Catholic and other Christian churches”. These dangerous people are in the company of “key individuals in ideological fields”, including the Dalai Lama (specifically) and the Pope (presumably). Let’s hope that the Holy Father does not wish to attend an Olympic football match or diving competition!

Also on Beijing’s “no fly list” are “individuals who instigate discontentment toward the Chinese Communist Party through the Internet,” certain types of “handicapped” people, members of the Falun Gong, Uighur Muslims from China’s northwestern Xinjiang province, and even “family members of deceased persons” killed in “riots”, as the Communists euphemistically call events such as the Tiananmen Square Massacre whose 18th anniversary is marked this week.

So much for the religious and political freedom in the “new China”. So much for the Olympic ideal of sport for its own sake, without regard to ideology.

China is the same today as it was in 1989 (the year of the Tiananmen Square Massacre) or any time since 1949, when Chairman Mao’s Communists took over mainland China. Theoretically, Chinese law guarantees a degree of religious freedom, but only to those who belong to Communist-sponsored “patriotic” religious groups, such as the CPCA.

The links which the Vatican diplomats are now seeking to restore are those broken by China soon after the Communists proclaimed their “people’s republic” in 1949. Not long after that, the Communists expelled foreign clergy and established their own “patriotic Catholic church”, which proclaims openly that it is loyal to Beijing, not the Pope.

The true Catholic Church is still outlawed. The Catholic faithful — priests and laity alike — are hunted and persecuted. According to AsiaNews, up to 50 Roman Catholic bishops and priests are in prison or otherwise prevented from carrying out their ministries in today’s Communist China. And, yes, they won’t be allowed to attend the Olympics either!