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Sunday, October 01, 2000, updated at 20:10(GMT+8)

Chinese Bishop Criticizes Vatican Canonization in National Day Celebration

Chinese Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan attended a National Day celebration early Sunday morning and held a special mass commemorating the 51st anniversary of the founding of New China.

Fu, chairman of the China Catholic Patriotic Association, criticized the canonization later today of foreign missionaries and their henchmen in China, who committed notorious crimes in China.

The ceremony to glorify those "saints" is "intolerable" by Chinese Catholics, Fu said after the flag-raising ceremony of the national flag at the Tiananmen Square early this morning.

More than 120 Catholic bishops, priests, monks and nuns joined 200,000 Beijing residents in observing the flag-raising ceremony.

Some of the priests present today have witnessed the growth of Chinese Catholicism over the past 50 years, while some are younger, being born in 1980s.

"We are here with a special purpose to celebrate the growth of the Chinese Catholic church over the past 5 decades which has been free from control and interference from foreign forces," Fu said.

"Choosing this date to canonize the so-called 'saints' is an open insult and humiliation against the Chinese Catholic adherents," he said, noting that "today is a great holiday and marks the liberation of the Chinese nation from imperial and colonial invasion and pillage."

This "canonization" is against stringent religious procedures, in disregard to the sovereignty of Chinese Catholic church, he said.

He stressed that the Chinese Catholic church is indignant at such "distortion and tampering" of history because some of the foreign missionaries to be canonized by the Holy See were accomplices of imperialists in their aggression against China, and perpetrated severe crimes against the Chinese people.

The Vatican has adopted a hostile policy toward China since 1949 and caused immeasurable losses to the growth of Catholicism in the country, the bishop said, noting that the Vatican must repent for the wrongdoing it committed against the Chinese people in history.

"The sacred Catholic church has been taken advantage of by imperialists and colonialists in history to cause tremendous trauma to the Chinese people," the bishop stressed.

"But the Chinese Catholics have over the past 50 years regained the confidence of the Chinese people for our consistent adherence to the policy of self-administration of religious affairs," Fu said.

After the Tiananmen celebration, Bishop Fu held mass at the Beijing South Cathedral at Xuanwumen as a thanksgiving for the establishment of New China 51 years ago and to pray for happiness for the Chinese people and prosperity for the Chinese nation.

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Chinese Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan attended Sunday's National Day celebration at Tiananmen Square and held a special mass in the Beijing South cathedral commemorating the 51st anniversary of the founding of New China.

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