A reader sent me a link to a letter by Joseph Kung of the Cardinal Kung Foundation. He is very happy with the Pope’s letter to China which has answered so many questions for Catholics living in China.
While the Pontiff urges Catholics in China to practice love and unity, and to unite under the Successor of Peter, he declares that the Catholic Patriotic Association’s declared independence of the Holy See is incompatible with Catholic doctrine. This clears many questions. The Pontiff does not recognize the Patriotic Bishops Conference because it fails to include the clandestine bishops and includes other illegitimate bishops. Pope Benedict pointed out that legitimized bishops need to provide unequivocal and increasing signs of full communion with the Successor of Peter. With great love, he longs for other illegitimate bishops to enter into communion with the Successor of Peter with the necessary conditions to be established.
One underground bishop in China wrote that he is extremely happy in reading this letter from the Pope because God has used this opportunity to affirm that what they had done in the past was correct. They are aware of many difficulties ahead. But, in order to be loyal and obedient to our Lord and His representative on earth, they are prepared to “make the Church fruitful with the shedding of their blood” as Pope Benedict XVI has said.
This is a landmark document providing broad guidelines for the bishops and Catholics to move forward. It also recognizes the great difficulty that still exists in China today. His Holiness has spoken as the Successor of Peter. The clandestine bishops are most grateful to the Pope. They renewed their loyalty and obedience to Pope Benedict XVI by promising to carefully study the letter so that they can implement the Holy Father’s wishes.