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The Pope sends an apparent message to China from Mongolia about Catholic goals

The Pope sends an apparent message to China from Mongolia about Catholic goals

ULAN BATOR, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Pope Francis said from Mongolia on Saturday, in words that seemed directed more at neighboring China, that governments have nothing to fear from the Catholic Church, because it does not have a political agenda .

Francis, 86, made his remarks in Mongolia, where there are only 1,450 Catholics and where the small community maintains good relations with a government that has expressed appreciation for its social, health and charitable activities.

On his first official day in Mongolia, the government feted the pope with traditional events, including a parade featuring men on horseback dressed as ancient Mongolian warriors.

In a speech addressed to bishops, priests, missionaries and pastoral agents, he said that Jesus did not give any political mandate to his apostles, but told them to alleviate the sufferings of a “wounded humanity” through faith.

“For this reason, governments and secular institutions have nothing to fear from the evangelizing work of the Church, since it does not have a political agenda to promote, but is sustained by the silent power of God’s grace and a message of mercy and truth, which is destined to promote the good of all,” he said.

Beijing has pursued a policy of “sinicization” of religion, trying to eradicate foreign influences and enforce obedience to the Communist Party. A landmark 2018 agreement between the Vatican and China on the appointment of bishops has been tenuous at best, with the Vatican complaining that Beijing has violated it multiple times.

Francis spoke at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, a small church built in the shape of a ger – a traditional round, tent-like nomadic house – that venerates a statue of the Virgin Mary found in rubbish 10 years ago.

Among the audience was Hong Kong’s top Catholic cleric, Archbishop Stephen Chow, who in April paid the first visit to the Chinese capital by a bishop from the former British colony in nearly 30 years. Chow, who will be made a cardinal by the pope this month, told reporters that he hopes the Church in Hong Kong can be a “bridge” with mainland China.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Campbell; editing in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)

Source: Ambito

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