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China’s seminaries told to strengthen political education

HONG KONG (UCAN): Wang Zuo’an, deputy director of the Central United Front Work Department told a December 18 symposium, held by the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, that no foreign religious organisation or foreign powers would be able to endanger national interests through control and manipulation of the Chinese Catholic Church.
The symposium commemorated the 60th anniversary of ‘self-elected and self-ordained’ bishops in China. More than a hundred bishops, priests and nuns, as well as lay people, attended the event held at a hotel next to a Catholic church in Jiangsu province.
Wang pushed the party line that principles of independence, autonomy and self-administration had to be observed, jargon for non-acceptance of any Vatican meddling.
The United Front has direct control over the state-run organisations of all five officially recognised religions including the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Chinese Bishop’s Conference.
Wang said official principles would ensure that the Catholic leadership would be in the hands of those who “love the country and the Church.”
He said, “Therefore, the seminaries should strengthen ideological and political education, set up a supervision system and speed up the compilation of teaching materials to improve the quality of teachers and schools.” 
Finally, Wang reminded participants that it is necessary to win over “underground forces” to the pro-government Patriotic Association.
The symposium was held eight days after a Vatican delegation, headed by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, oversaw the installation of formerly illicitly bishops into dioceses that were long-run by bishops of the unofficial Church community (Sunday Examiner, 23 December 2018).

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