Several reactions have come in from the Pope’s letter to Chinese believers. Adam Minter, who has written extensively on Chinese Catholicism, filed in his thoughts a few hours after the letter was released:
I don’t want to dwell too much on the letter’s consequences; there are people far more qualified to do that, and they will. For now, I’d just like to point out that – in a small way – the letter serves as a near total and complete repudiation of the rhetoric and methods of the Cardinal Kung Foundation. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Kung Foundation is an American non-profit whose stated goal is support of China’s underground Catholics; in reality, the foundation and its leader Joseph Kung have spent the better part of the last two decades agitating for more division among China’s Catholics (a stance which the Pope’s letter implicitly recognizes as contrary to his and the late John Paul II’s intentions). I outline some of this in my recent profile of Jin Luxian in the July/August issue of the Atlantic.
In another post, there is a quote on the reactions of the outspoken Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong, who by the way is from Shanghai:
At the beginning of June the Vatican Secretary of State announced that “the Pope’s letter has been definitively approved”, a rather strange way of saying things: “the Pope’s letter approved by the Pope?” The fact, probably, is that even the finished text of the Pope’s letter, according to the Vatican way of doing things, would still pass through further checks or even corrections. Obviously, the finally approved letter is the Pope’s letter, with his signature.
In his latest and most recent comment on reactions from the Pope’s letter (filed yesterday), Adam quotes the thoughts of a Belgian priest, Fr. Jeroom Heyndrickx:
Underground bishops are encouraged to apply for recognition by civil authorities. An underground Church “is not a normal and lasting situation” for the Catholic Church, says the pope. All bishops should now unite so that Rome can finally recognize officially the already existing Chinese Bishops Conference. Till now this cannot be done because the underground bishops are not members while some other members of the conference are not appointed by Rome.
Fr. Jeroom Heyndrickx features prominently in Adam Minter’s very insightful story on Jin Luxian Bishop of Shanghai (pictured here), one which Shanghaiists interested in the subject should most definitely read. Meanwhile, the latest news is that the Pope’s letter which was uploaded to Catholic websites in China have all but disappeared in just a few hours after they first appeared.
Image of Bishop Jin Luxian installing his appointed successor Joseph Xing from 30giorni.it