Two months after the agreement between China and the Vatican was signed we modestly believe to see here a sign of God and a miracle of Xu Guanqi and Matteo Ricci. In fact just yesterday the parish newspaper of Fu An of the diocese of Mindong exclaimed with joy saying Mindong has decided to be the first one to build unity. We are impressed by the collaboration between bishops Guo of the former underground community and Bishop Zhan. Bishop Guo is remarkable in the way he shows his faithfulness and spirit of sacrifice. In fact, in the vast majority of the (90 plus) Chinese dioceses everything went on smoothly and only some minor incidents took place.
This was extraordinary. The agreement was under enormous internal and international scrutiny and many people hoped or thought it would miserably fail. The fear was so great that, as usual in these occasions, something might have actually happened.
But by all practical measures the evident determination of most of the Church in China and most of the government officials made possible, so far, to witness a greater harmony between the people of the Church and government officials for the good of China and the good of the universal Church.
However, there are problems of various nature in some dioceses in Hebei, Zhejiang, Inner Mongolia e Gansu. It is difficult and perhaps also unjust to disclose the nature of these problems because they are rooted in personal sensibilities and in decades of deep misunderstandings with the government and inside the Church.
We pray that all the Church of the world, all the Cardinals and the bishops and people of the world will pray for us and a greater harmony in the life of the Church of China.
The problems we see so far to be resolved are the following:
1. How can the bishop open a dialogue with the local government and vice versa;
2. How to help the local government to understand the new development with the Agreement.
Indeed we are moved by the historical breakthrough. We are so grateful to the Pope for having understood us and helped us by signing the Agreement. Somebody in the underground community may not be able to get through it for their past experiences. I have been talking with Bishop Wei of the underground community of Qiqihar and he said that we are with the Holy Father and we will follow him. We have no doubts and no regrets. It is a question of living out our faith. We will follow him in being open with our brothers of the other community and with the local government.
Anthony Zhu Changyou is administrator of the Diocese of Jilin.