“There will be no official or unofficial church when the church is united,” he said. Asked if it meant the so-called underground church would be forced to dis-appear, he said: “Don’t you want the church to be united? A church schism is not the fundamental aspiration of Catholics.”
Bishop Zhan said those Catholics who refused to join the official church were acting in their personal interests, but there was no timetable for the integration of the underground church — those who have refused to register with the government — with Beijing’s hierarchy.
“Everyone works hard and works together,” he said. The push to “Sinicise religion” — make it more culturally Chinese — was introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2015 and written into party orthodoxy in 2017. Experts see it as an attempt by the officially atheist Communist Party to bring religions under its absolute control.
“The agreement is provisional only, and we will improve it in the future,” Cardinal Filoni said after celebrating Mass in Hong Kong March 5.