A Parish in China Takes Action to Save Its Church from Destruction

Source: FSSPX News

In Wangcun, in the province of Shanxi, in northeastern China, hundreds of Chinese Catholics are trying to save their church from destruction. They have been gathered around the building with the clergy since August 29, facing bulldozers and police forces.

The church was built about a hundred years ago and was supposed to be restored with the permission of the local authorities. But earlier this summer, the district committee of the Communist Party, along with the government of the district, decreed that the entire sector was to be demolished in order to officially install a square “to improve the life of the neighborhood”. On his blog, Yves Daoudal writes that “some think that after destroying the church, the authorities actually plan to sell the land that is worth a fortune because it is situated near the Changzhi airport”.

The faithful and the clergy took action immediately and did not hesitate to come in crowds and stand together, literally, in order to keep the machines of destruction from doing their work. Public authorities were forced to suspend the decision to demolish, although they have not yet given up.

The situation on site remains tense. Yves Daoudal tells that “some thugs began to attack the faithful violently at the order of the authorities...some shouting ‘Kill the priests first!’” Several people were injured and several cars were destroyed. All access has been blocked by the police in order to keep more Catholics from coming.

The bishop of Changzhi, Bishop Peter Ding Lingbin, was able to meet with the local authorities and ask them to stop the violence and make compensation to those who have been injured or lost their cars. The prelate openly declared that this is “religious repression and discrimination against Catholics”.

In Changzhi, in a local population of almost 3.5 million, there are over 50,000 Catholics, served by 47 priests. The diocese has over 60 churches and chapels.