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Pope Francis looks at a painting of the Great Wall of China during his weekly general audience on May 1 (CNS/Vatican Media)

The Lord has safeguarded the faith of the people of God in China, Pope Francis said in a video message to people taking part in an international conference in Rome yesterday. Source: CNS.

“And the faith of God’s people has been the compass that has shown the way” to Christians in China throughout history and until today, he said.

“Those who follow Jesus love peace, and find themselves together with all those who work for peace, in a time in which we see inhuman forces at work that seem to want to accelerate the end of the world.” 

The Pope’s video message was played at the beginning of a one-day conference marking the 100th anniversary of the first and, so far, only Council of the Chinese Catholic Church. The conference was organised by the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome together with Fides, a Vatican news agency, and the Pastoral Commission for China. 

The council, referred to as the “Concilium Sinense”, was held in Shanghai in 1924 and was attended, for the most part, by foreign-born bishops, vicars general, religious and priests who went to China as missionaries, according to a report by Fides.

Archbishop Celso Costantini, the then-apostolic delegate in China, led the council with the aim of revitalising the Church’s mission in China in light of Pope Benedict XV’s recognition that faith in Christ “does not belong exclusively to a certain nation”.

Archbishop Costantini “simply repeated that the mission of the Church was to ‘evangelise, not colonise’,” Pope Francis said in his video message. 

Those gathered at the council recognised that “Christ’s proclamation of salvation can only reach every human community and every single person if it speaks in their ‘mother tongue”, he said.

Bishop Joseph Shen Bin of Shanghai spoke at the conference. 

“We will continue to build the Church in China into a holy and Catholic Church that conforms to God’s will, accepts China’s excellent traditional cultural heritage, and is appreciated by Chinese society today,” he said.


Pope says faith in China has been safeguarded by God (By Carol Glatz, CNS)


Vatican makes fresh overture to China, reaffirms that Catholic Church is no threat to sovereignty (AP)