By: Neil Connor, shijiazhuang
Father Dong Baolu’s flock were gathered outdoors beside a row of foul-smelling lavatories. They
had no choice but to worship in this furtive way, as China does not recognise these so-called “house churches”.
Even so, the congregation stayed for two hours, singing hymns and clasping their hands in prayer.
China and the Vatican may now be edging towards a thaw that could see Beijing recognising the illegal church, but only on terms that many local Catholics would condemn as a betrayal.
“It’s possible that Rome may betray us,” said Fr Dong, before he said Mass in the city of Shijiazhuang in Hebei province. “If this happens, I will resign. I won’t join a Church which is controlled by the Communist Party.
“We are suffering like Jesus on the cross. We fight for religious freedom and follow the Gospel – but we are not supported by either Rome or China.” [FULL STORY]