Chinese Priest Says Government’s Mass Closure of Catholic Orphanages for Disabled Children Violates 2018 Vatican Agreement

The Chinese government is shutting down Catholic orphanages that have been appreciated for decades even by members of the Communist Party. The latest shutdown was reported yesterday when the House of Dawn in Zhaoxian was closed.

The Pope and the universal Church are urged to speak out in defence of orphans, as well as mentally and physically disabled children, who are now being sent to state facilities. In addition to the harm done to these children, suppressing the visibility of religion and the works of the Church harms the latter as well.

By looking at the orphanages that are shut down, Fr Wendao, a priest from northern China with several degrees and long internships abroad, also looks at the enthusiasm sparked by the China-Vatican Interim Agreement.

Recently, there is much concern about the closure of Catholic Church-run children’s homes. The latest to be shut down are the St Joseph’s Disabled Infant Home in Renqiu, Xianxian (Diocese of Cangzhou), and the Liming (Dawn) Home in the Diocese of Zhaoxian, both in Hebei province. Other places are Catholic-run orphanages in Zhangjiakou and Zhengding, both in Hebei. The same happened two years ago to an orphanage in Baoji, Shaanxi province, run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

These disabled children’s homes were respected and deeply loved by many Chinese; many caring people visited and served there, bearing good fruits of love to the Church and society. People learnt to care and respect God’s “little ones”.

I still remember that years ago, when I was forced to take sessions and become “reformed” at the Central Institute for Socialism, one professor shared her views after visiting Catholic orphanages for disabled children in Hebei.

She said those homes for children were well managed by the Catholic Church and solved some social problems. Abandoned children could be cared for.

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SOURCE: Asia News, P. Wendao

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