Pope names first Chinese saints

 Thousands of Chinese gathered in St Peter's Square in Rome after Pope John Paul II named the Roman Catholic Church's first Chinese saints this weekend. But there were protests from the Chinese government, which described the ceremony as a "humiliation". Eighty-seven Chinese Catholics and 33 foreign missionaries were canonised on 1 October, the feast day of St Therese of Lisieux, patron saint of missionaries. They were killed over a four-century campaign to bring Christianity to China. Most of them died in the anti-Western, anti-Christian Boxer Rebellion 100 years ago. China still regards the rebellion as heroic resistance to imperial forces. The timing of the canonisation coincides with the 51st anniversary of communism in China, which particularly angered the Chinese government. China does not recognise the Roman Catholic church or its bishops and does not permit worship outside state approved churches. "We express our indignation at this distortion of history," Bishop Fu Tieshan of China's state-run church said in an interview shown on China Central Television's overseas service. "This is a public humiliation that we cannot accept." "This should be a subject of glory and pride for the whole Chinese people," said the Rev Anthony Chen, a China-born priest among the throngs in St Peter's Square. "It's an honour, to me." Source: Press Association

Share this story