An Open Letter to Catholics Living in the Free World

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When you go to church, do you ever think that your brothers and sisters in Christ are not able to enjoy such luxury in China?

Many of our bishops, priests and lay leaders are languishing in jail. Some bishops are confined under house arrest. And the lay faithful cannot find a place to attend Mass on Sundays.

After the Communist party took over in 1949, the Chinese government established the so-called “Catholic Patriotic Church,” and compelled Catholic believers to attend Mass at parishes controlled by this “official” Church. However, the “Catholic Patriotic Church” is not in communion with the Pope, and denies the leadership of Vatican. Actually, the “Catholic Patriotic Church” is not the Roman Catholic Church at all.

We praise God that the Roman Catholic Church in China (now known as the “Underground Church”) has not been annihilated. On the contrary, she is growing quickly. The number of authentic Catholics is now 20 million — much larger than the three million faithful attached to the Catholic Church before 1949. Though she has been persecuted for 53 years, and though our bishops and priests are regularly sent to jail, placed under house arrest, hounded and punished, the Roman Catholic Church in China is much stronger than before.

Hundreds of years ago, your ancestors brought the Gospel to China. Most of the missionaries who came here spent the rest of their lives in China, and some of them even became martyrs for their beloved Roman Catholic Church. We must report that the energy and the blood of your ancestors has not been wasted. They became the seeds of belief. Now we can confidently tell you that these seeds have yielded a rich harvest!

Our bishops and priests are the successful fruits of your ancestors' sacrifices. They have become our new heroes. They know that if they choose to cooperate with the government and pretend to break off relations with Holy See — just as some of the clergy of the “Patriotic Church” have done — they can avoid further persecution and suffering. But they choose loyalty and honesty instead. They choose to be ready to offer their lives at any time for their beloved Roman Catholic Church in China — just as your ancestors chose.

Their choice gives great enthusiasm to the believers who follow them. Chinese Roman Catholic Laymen has been born as a product of this enthusiasm, as a community formed by Catholic believers in China who come together to try to gain the freedom of religious belief. We shall do our best to ask the government to change its policy toward the Roman Catholic Church in China — to give our bishops and priests their freedom; to allow our clergy the full freedom to evangelize; to give believers the opportunity to have a normal religious life; to enable us to worship God in the way the Roman Catholic Church teaches us.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please help us to fulfill our goal. Roman Catholics, don't think that we are foreigners. We belong to the same Kingdom of Heaven as you do! We are all God's people. We receive the same Eucharist. And in the end, we will return to the same home: Heaven. Roman Catholics, it is time for us to team up and work together for basic human rights! Please give us your hand. Please pray for us. Please show your generosity and contribute your donation to us.

We need to exert a greater influence on the society of China, and can only do so with your financial and prayer support. We have teamed up with Catholic Exchange to spread the word throughout China via their wonderful website — which we hope will soon feature our Chinese language translations of their key content, including the powerful Catholic Scripture Studies. So please make a generous donation to Catholic Exchange today and help us help your Catholic brothers and sisters in China!

May God bless you all,

Chinese Roman Catholic Laymen

April 2003

Responding to Our Brothers' Needs: A Special Appeal from Catholic Exchange

Dear Friends of Catholic Exchange:

This supplication from a Chinese brother in Beijing — whom we are not at liberty to name for reasons of his safety — has deeply touched our hearts. We pray that you likewise are moved to respond to his group's request for aid. To that end, we have arranged to assist Chinese Roman Catholic Laymen in two ways. The first is by collecting donations for them on our Donations page.

The second is by hosting a Chinese language section on our website to make faith-strengthening Catholic material available to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters in China, who have precious little catechetical material available to them. This will include Chinese translations of our unique and enriching Catholic Scripture Studies program. Your donations on behalf of Chinese Roman Catholic Laymen will support them in providing this translation service for their countrymen.

We thank you for your generous support, “for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God” (2 Corinthians 9:12).

Sincerely in Christ,

Tom Allen

Editor & President

Catholic Exchange

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