A senior leader of the state-sanctioned Catholic Church in China has called on Catholics to support and advance the communist government’s controversial “sinicisation of religion” policy. Source: UCA News.
Chinese Catholics need to support the state’s sinicisation of religion for the survival and development of the Church, Bishop Joseph Shen Bin of Shanghai, chairman of the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC), said in an interview, ChinaAid reported last week.
Academically, sinicisation of religion refers to the indigenisation of religious faith, practice and ritual in Chinese culture and society, according to the Lausanne Movement.
However, the sinicisation promoted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a profoundly political ideology that aims to impose strict rules on societies and institutions based on the core values of socialism, autonomy, and supporting the party leadership.
“Sinicisation is a directional issue: a signpost and a direction to adapt to the socialist society, as well as an inherent rule and a fundamental requirement for the survival and development of the Catholic Church in China itself,” Bishop Shen told state news agency, China News Service, in October.
“Sinicisation is not to change religious beliefs, but to better adapt and integrate into society; starting from serving the country for the big picture, to serving the Church’s mission of pastoral evangelisation, and to firmly push forward with sinicisation,” he was quoted as saying.
Observers say Bishop Shen’s statement on sinicisation was “political in nature, aligning with the government’s official political declaration.”
Bishop Shen, 53, has long been known for his allegiance to the CCP leadership. He is among high-ranking Church leaders who promote the “love the country and the Church” policy.
In April, he was unilaterally transferred to Shanghai Diocese, a move the Vatican decried as a violation of the 2018 Sino-Vatican Agreement.
Pope Francis later approved the transfer and his installation as the bishop of China’s largest Diocese.