RELIGIOUS STUDY TOUR TO
The US Catholic China Bureau and Seton Hall University
International Institute for Clergy Formation have decided to cancel the
China Religious Study Tour that was planned for October of this year.
Since the beginning of the
Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican and China were engaged in
conversations, in the hope of solving their difference of opinions and
achieving some rapprochement. High on the agenda was the question of the
election of Catholic priests to the episcopate in China. We, at the
USCCB, were truly hoping that an agreement might be reached by China and
the Holy See.
Unfortunately, this was not to happen. First, in November 2010, there
was police pressure on 8 bishops in communion with the Pope to
consecrate as bishop a Chinese priest who had not been approved by the
Holy See. This was followed by the same pressure tactics to force the
Chinese bishops to attend the December 7-9, 2010 National Assembly of Catholic
Representatives. This NACR is the umbrella organization set by the
Chinese Government over the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association
(CCPA) and the Chinese Bishop Assembly (CBA), both organizations
unapproved by the Holy See.
These events put a temporary stop on the conversations going on between
China and the Vatican, and invite both sides to reassess the situation.
Obviously, it is not the best time for us to organize now a friendly
Religious Study Tour in China. So we have decided to postpone it "sine
die". Yet, it is a good time for us all to answer the call of the Pope
on May 24 to pray for China and for the Church in China.
Our focus will be on the Chinese people, local catholic
communities, and places of cultural and religious
significance associated with the history of
Christianity in China. Renowned tourist attractions and
other highlights included.