25 Apr 2016 Articles Comments (2)

In His Image and Likeness: How I Evangelize Atheists

In my April 6 post, “The Clothes Have No Emperor,"I offered one illustration of how I evangelize those who doubt or deny the existence of God. In upcom…

Read more

09 Sep 2015 News USA Comments (1)

A call to joy, mercy and hope – LA's three new bishops ordained

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles ordained three new auxiliary bishops on Thursday, including the prominent internet evangelist Father Robert Barron. The …

Read more

16 Nov 2015 Europe News Comments (1)

Paris terrorist attacks Victims mourned at Notre Dame Mass, Watch the Video

The Victims of the Friday terrorist attacks in Paris are being mourned for three days now, nationally in Paris. In Notre Dame, one of the biggest and oldest Cat…

Read more

04 Jun 2015 Articles Q&A No comments

Does The Church Believe in Yoga, Zen, Tai Chi, Chakra e.t.c

Issue: Should Christians look to non-Christian methods of meditation to draw closer to God? What are the more popular non-Christian methods of today? Can the Ch…

Read more

22 Sep 2015 Europe News No comments

Have compassion on the migrant, European Christian leaders urge

The presidents of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) met on September 1…

Read more

17 Sep 2016 Americas News USA Vatican No comments

St. Thomas More relics coming to U.S. for the FIRST TIME

Centuries-old relics and artifacts of St. Thomas More will be coming to the U.S. for the first time in an exhibit that curators hope will evangelize today's fai…

Read more

23 Jun 2016 Articles Comments (4)

Does the Catholic Church Condemn Homosexuals?

OBJECTOR: I’m straight, but I have a lot of gay friends, and they tell me that Christians look down on them as if they are not worthy of human respect. An…

Read more

30 Jul 2016 Articles Comments (1)

Early Teachings on Infant Baptism

Although many Protestant traditions baptize babies, Baptists—and "Bible churches" in the Baptist tradition—insist that baptism is only for those who have come t…

Read more

21 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (1)

Apart from God's saving works, no one can be saved. So how can atheists be saved just by acting charitably?

Full Question Someone told me that atheists could be saved if they acted charitably, but I said that apart from God's saving works, man cannot save himself…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Religious vocations decrease in China following Government restrictions

Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are concerned about the growing decline

Catholic female religious orders have expanded rapidly in China over the past decade, but are now facing restrictions and a decrease in vocations, religious sisters from various parts of China have said.

“Religious sisters are highly important here – they do most of the missionary work in parishes, as well as providing educational and medical help," said Sister Teresa Yu, a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“But the government is now demanding licenses, so conditions have become more difficult. Some of our clinics and homes have had to close, and we fear more curbs will follow, while people are less willing to see their children enter religious orders because of the (government’s) one-child policy."

Sister Yu and other Chinese sisters spoke to Catholic News Service in mid-September, during a European Catholic China colloquium, co-organised by Germany’s Catholic China-Zentrum, which fosters encounter and exchanges between cultures and religions in the West and in China, and the Polish Catholic Church’s Sinicum institute.

The colloquium brought together Catholics from China, clergy and scholars from the United States and a dozen European countries.

Sister Yu told Catholic News Service that nuns run catechism and Bible study classes in most Chinese parishes, as well as help the sick, homeless and elderly, but were frequently impeded by “unnecessary restrictions."

Another nun told CNS that religious sisters were allowed to run summer schools for children in her native Hebei province, but were barred from similar work in other provinces.

“The extent of religious freedom very much depends on the region – while we can generally conduct activity inside church premises, we face problems as soon as we step outside," said Holy Spirit Sister Hyacinta Zhang Yunling.

“But we’re also lacking recruits and novices, especially in rural communities where economic conditions are hardest. While some Catholic families don’t fully understand the church’s teaching on the religious life, their Chinese neighbors can also be unhappy when a local woman wishes to become a nun," she said.

China’s Catholic Church, estimated unofficially at 14 million members, has around 100 dioceses with 104 bishops, of whom 35 are not recognised as bishops by the Chinese government.

The country is also home to around 4,000 priests, with 860 seminarians.

Although male religious orders are banned in China, diocesan female orders are permitted under strict control and currently number more than 5,000 members, roughly the same as before the 1949 communist revolution.

Church sources said China’s religious orders of women run 120 clinics, 30 homes for the aged, 20 kindergartens, six orphanages and 14 family care centers, as well as units for drug rehabilitation, AIDS and leprosy.

Sister Yu said women’s congregations had “sprouted like bamboo in the springtime" since official policies were liberalised in the 1980s and had helped confront the “psychological emptiness" felt by many Chinese.

However, their material dependence on local dioceses caused difficulties, Sister Yu said, while disputes between Catholics and China’s regime-approved Catholic Patriotic Association had “enormously reduced the power of evangelisation."

“Most congregations just woke up and started walking, their feet on thin ground, having only a vague understanding of their charisms, unable to make ends meet, and without any formal clear-cut model to follow," she said. “For people who’ve professed religious vows, such a China with its rapidly developing economy, its dominance of material values, its hedonistic mentality, consumerism and vast spiritual emptiness brings a great deal of tension and trial."

Sister Yu said continuing restrictions on religious life posed particular problems for younger nuns, who longed to be allowed to wear their habits in public without being apprehended by police. She added that older nuns needed the fellowship of convent communities, but were usually forced to live separately in parishes with private families.

“Although ordinary people generally respect the work of Catholic nuns, we still have very few opportunities to get out, evangelise and interact with society," she told CNS.

“Legally, we can do nothing without a license, and if we try to act outside church confines, we’ll always be taking a risk. So we’re hoping and praying for religious freedom — so that, through the consecrated life, we can provide a light of holiness in today’s challenging environment of secularism and materialism."

Fears of new religious curbs have grown since local officials began tearing down crosses in Zhejiang province in 2014. Catholic sources said several churches had also been bulldozed and numerous Christians, including Protestant pastors, arrested for opposing the moves.

Father Paul Han of the Shijiazhuang-based Jinde Charities told CNS religious orders could be particularly vulnerable in a new crackdown since many nuns lacked proper training and formation. He said some Chinese dioceses and religious orders and church organisations outside the country were working to combat this.

by Jonathan Luxmoore


Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories