Vatican City

Pope appeals for Chinese Catholics' freedom from fear

Pontiff asks Virgin Mary to 'sustain' community

Pope appeals for Chinese Catholics' freedom from fear

Vatican City, May 22 - China's Catholic community was remembered by Pope Francis at Wednesday's general audience in St Peter's square, who appealed to the Virgin Mary to "sustain them". "Let them live daily lives practicing their faith...without being afraid to speak of Jesus," the pontiff said. A large underground congregation of Catholics in China swears ultimate loyalty to the pope while only the Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA), the state-controlled version of the Catholic church, is recognized by Beijing. Tensions have been long-running between the Chinese government and the Vatican over the Holy See's refusal to recognize the CPA, and vice-versa. In March following Pope Francis' election, China congratulated the pontiff and asked that the new leader of the Catholic church take a "flexible and pragmatic" approach in his relations with Beijing.

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