Francis Vrijmoed's letter about the Church in China is full of contradictions of which he is seemingly unaware. For example, he states that "to function freely, all Catholic churches have to be state-controlled". Obviously, if they are state-controlled they are not functioning freely!
He claims that Catholics can freely attend - and with a clear conscience - the services of these "open" Catholic churches, despite the fact that the so-called Patriotic Catholic Association is not allowed to maintain any connection with the Vatican, the Pope is not allowed to appoint its bishops, and it is forbidden to teach and put into practice all the teachings of the faith.
The fact that they pray for the Pope could be looked at in a number of ways: (1) We also pray for our separated brethren. (2) It has been planned to dupe the likes of naive foreigners. (This is not to say that the prayers are not sincere and efficacious).
Does not Francis Vrijmoed know that the Catholic Church is one? How can there be two distinct Catholic Churches in China, or anywhere else for that matter? If it is not united to Rome it is not the Catholic Church.
Does he not know that faithful Catholics are routinely arrested, tortured and sentenced to "re-education camps." Wang Qing, a seminarian in Baoding Diocese, was beaten, hanged by his hands and forced to drink "filthy liquid" after he was arrested while doing a pastoral visit to a family. On last Pentecost Sunday four lay people, who helped a priest to escape arrest for saying Mass in a private home, had their homes set on fire.
These are just a couple of examples of how the Chinese Government "encourages" Catholics to join the government-approved "Patriotic Catholic Association." If he wants to know more he can visit The Church on the Cross in China on http://www.angelfire.com/tx/filial/china2.html
Lismore Heights, NSW