Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's letter, written for the Year for Priests, was published in the Vatican's Fides Service and Vatican Radio websites on Nov. 16. It was believed to be a result of the meeting of the Holy See's Commission for the Catholic Church in China in late March.
Half of the meeting was devoted to the formation of seminarians, priests and Religious.The document, dated Nov. 10, reiterates the importance of reconciliation within the Catholic community and reminded the clergy to find strength from the Eucharist. It also advised bishops to ensure adequate formation for their priests.
ordination Mass in Jilin, China (File photo)Father John Li Hongwei of Changsha, from the "open" Church community, said the letter was timely and useful in helping priests learn how to act according to the Gospel. Since Changsha diocese has had no bishop for nine years, his fellow priests have tended to work independently with little cooperation among themselves. Such lack of unity has caused many problems, he said. Father Paul Bai Chunlong of Jilin, also from the open Church community, appreciated the cardinal's reminder to bishops to pay "particular attention" to young priests working alone soon after ordination.
Commenting on the letter's emphasis on "reconciliation within the Catholic community" in China, he believes bishops from both Church communities should take the lead by contacting and accepting one other. "Three of my primary schoolmates became underground priests and we lost contact. But now we phone each other and meet up regularly," he said.
Courtesy - UCA News