Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympics and the Church

China and the Vatican have struggled to work comfortably together. As such, I have become curious to know how China hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics would work from the eye of the Vatican and the Church.

According to the website for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (http://www.usccb.org/), Pope Benedict said: "I deeply hope that it [this year's Olympics] will offer the international community a valid example of co-existence among people of the most diverse backgrounds with respect for their common dignity."

Catholic News Service (http://www.catholicnews.com/) reported on their website that, according to their source UCA News (an Asian church news agency), Beijing invited two Catholic bishops from outside China-proper to the opening Olympic ceremony; those two bishops were Bishop John Tong Hon (Coadjutor of Hong Kong) and Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng (Bishop of Macau). Both of these areas are now special administrative regions of China.

CNS further reports that China did not invite an official representative of the Holy See.

This author was unable to find documentation of the current "situation on the ground" for Catholic olympians in China. Please comment in response to this post on information of which you are aware.

In terms of current ability of Catholics to practice, one independent website (www.Catholic.net) is reporting that there was an increase in arrests of underground Catholics leading up to the Olympics.

Catholic News Agency is reporting on their website (www.CatholicNewsAgency.com) that Bishop Peter Fang Jianping, Co-adjutor of the Diocese of Tangshan, was chosen to be one of the final torchbearers leading up to the start of the Olympics in Beijing.

Please permit this author to editorialize by writing that while this is a very welcome sign from the government of China, it should be noted that Bishop Jianping was ordained a bishop in 2000 without the approval of the Holy See, though the Vatican did legitimize his status as a bishop in 2002.

Let us pray for the continued growth of the Church in China. Let us also pray for their health and safety.

Take care, -Jeremy

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