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The Catholic Church in China now has 83 newly baptized members in Shanghai. On November 26, the feast of Christ the King, Bishop Joseph Shen Bin conferred the sacraments of initiation on them at Shanghai Cathedral, reports the Fides news agency.
“The fulfillment of the Commandment of Love indicated by Christ and the exercise of this commandment in truth and concreteness is essential for salvation,” the Shanghai bishop said during his homily. “And the most effective way to salvation is the recognition of the Kingship of Christ in faith.”
Bishop Shen Bin had been transferred as bishop of Shanghai by the Communist government in April 2023, when he was initially installed as head of the diocese of Haimen, without the approval of the Holy See. A few months later, in July 2023, Pope Francis ratified this unilateral appointment, in turn naming him Bishop of Shanghai “for the good of the diocese and the exercise of pastoral ministry.”
China’s suffering Church
Some 2,000 faithful were present to renew their baptismal promises in communion with the newly baptized. On the Solemnity of Christ the King, Catholics gathered in their dioceses to take part in a variety of pastoral initiatives to unite their communities.
In Beijing, for example, the faithful of the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel were presented with certificates and prizes by their parish priest for their participation in parish activities, such as daily Bible reading in groups. At Beijing’s cathedral, catechumens received a copy of the Our Father from Fr. Pei Dong, head of the catechism course. He expressed the wish that “everyone learns the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer par excellence and the precious treasure of the Church, by heart.”
In China, Catholics are subject to a great number of restrictions on the practice of their faith. Under constant surveillance by the authorities, they face multiple acts of repression by the government, which wants to force the alignment of religions with Chinese culture (“Sinicization”) and the Communist regime.
In addition to arbitrary arrests and detentions, more and more churches are being arbitrarily closed or even destroyed. China is in 16th place on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of countries that persecute Christians.