China is a communist nation therefore the Catholic Church must be realistic and seek a stance of mutual tolerance with the government, said a former teacher at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.
“I’m an optimist, above all because I believe in God. God is the Lord of human history. Whatever way human history proceeds, it never becomes unconnected from the salvific plan of God,” said Jesuit Father Joseph Shih (90), who returned to Shanghai 10 years ago after teaching at the Catholic university for over three decades.
In an interview published in La Civilta Cattolica, Fr Shih pleaded with outsiders to stop describing Catholicism in China as consisting of two Churches, one that accepts government control and the other that doesn’t and so exists clandestinely.
“Catholics who live in China are aware of these definitions, but they know how to distinguish between the religious politics of the government and their own Faith,” he said. “For them, in China there is only one Church: the one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”
“The Chinese government is communist. This is something that won’t change for a long time,” he said, adding that to exist the Church in China must have some kind of relationship with the government