For Love of My People I Will Not Remain Silent

On the Situation of the Church in China

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The relationship of China, a major world power, with the greatest secular world power--the United States of America--and with the most universal global spiritual power--the Catholic Church--is in a state of flux. President Trump and Pope Francis are major protagonists in this dramatic period. Vocal supporters and critics of both abound. And though what is happening in China now has an impact worldwide, it is hard for the non-specialist to grasp what is underway, and its significance for the future. There are two Catholic communities in China: the so-called "underground" or unofficial Church and the official, Chinese government-controlled Patriotic Church. Cardinal Joseph Zen is one of the most knowledgeable and credible witnesses to what is happening in China, especially on the relationship between these two communities. He is a courageous defender of the underground Church, but also has intimate knowledge of the official Church. He taught in several of the seminaries of the official Church. It has been recognized--and Pope Francis himself has confirmed--that the historic 2007 letter of Pope Benedict XVI "TO THE BISHOPS, PRIESTS, CONSECRATED PERSONS AND LAY FAITHFUL OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA" remains the magna carta of the Catholic Church in China. On the 10th anniversary of this letter, June of 2017, Cardinal Zen gave a series of eight lectures on the origin of the letter, the drafting process, and the content of the final text. In doing so, he gives an enlightening overview of the recent history of the Church in China and a clear description of the delicate relationship between the two Catholic communities. In these lectures, Cardinal Zen also explains in detail what he considers is now threatening the fundamental principles of the letter--and therefore 'his people'. As the title indicates, for the love of his people, he will not remain silent.

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