Kinesiske biskoper med Paven i India "i tankene og hjertet"

ROME ( - The Catholic Bishops of Communist China were not in New Delhi to welcome the Pope to Asia on Friday, but Cardinal Gong Pin Mei, 98, exiled Archbishop of Shanghai, now in the United States, wanted to send the Holy Father a message for the occasion.

In the letter, also addressed to Cardinal Jan Schotte, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, the elderly cardinal, who spent thirty years of his life in Chinese prisons, wrote: "On behalf of all the underground Bishops and all the brothers and sisters in China loyal to the Church, I thank Your Holiness for consigning to us the document Ecclesia in Asia. Due to circumstances not depending on themselves, the Chinese Bishops loyal to Rome were unable either to attend the Synod, or to be with you now in India. But, overjoyed for this concluding document of the Synod, we are confident it will be of the greatest importance for all the peoples of Asia."

During the 1998 Synod meeting in Rome, for the whole month of work, two empty seats were eloquent reminders of the two Chinese Bishops invited, but absent -- Beijing refused the Bishops permits to travel to Rome. Bishop Mattia Duan Yinmin of Wanxian and his auxiliary Bishop Joseph Xu Zhixuan, did however manage to sent a fax message to Cardinal Schotte, assuring their "spiritual" presence.

As the Pope travelled to India, Fides spoke on the phone to 86-year-old Bishop Joseph Xu Zhixuan who said: "We wish His Holiness a safe journey, we are praying for his mission, that it may be fulfilled for the greater glory of God, in the light of the Gospel. The Pope is always in our thoughts and at this moment we would like to be Indians, who are more fortunate than us. We almost envy them because they have been allowed to welcome the Pope to their country."

Bishop Mattia Duan Yinmin, 91, now the only remaining bishop in China appointed by a pope, is in poor health. In an interview two weeks ago with UCA News, the bishop said: "I will probably never meet Pope John Paul II in this life. But we are in contact: from time to time we exchange fax messages in Latin. For the 50th anniversary of my ordination as bishop (October 18) the Pope sent me his greetings and asked after my health. I replied with a similar message."

CWN - Catholic World News

av Webmaster publisert 09.11.1999, sist endret 09.11.1999 - 12:02