Chinese Communist Party orders closure of well-known Catholic orphanage in Hebei, priest writes to Pope for help

The Communist regime has ordered the closure of the Hebei Catholic “Dawn House” orphanage, which housed abandoned children with physical disabilities, forcing a large number of children with disabilities out of their familiar homes.

The Communist regime earlier ordered the closure of the Catholic “House of Dawn” orphanage in Hebei. A Chinese priest took the risk of submitting an article to the Catholic media under a pseudonym, pleading with the Pope to pay attention to the situation.

The Catholic media “Asia News” reported that the closure of the Catholic orphanages was not an isolated incident. The irony is that these Catholic orphanages have been appreciated by the Communist Party for decades.

The priest, who writes under the pseudonym “P. Wendao,” notes that under Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, the regime has a new political goal to “do everything possible to reduce the influence of the Catholic Church on Chinese society,” so that both the Church’s charitable activities and the faith life of the laity are subject to the government’s control. As a result, both the Church’s public welfare activities and the faith life of the laity have been ruthlessly suppressed by the government.

The priest said that the Chinese Communist authorities have also tightened their control over the Catholic Church on the pretext of controlling the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic, such as the Easter season earlier this month, when Catholics were eager to attend Mass but the church was closed by the government. Even the famous May pilgrimage to Our Lady of Sheshan in Shanghai was cancelled.

The priest said that the Communist authorities have also tightened the control of teachers’ and students’ beliefs, prohibiting them from participating in any religious activities from elementary school, junior high schools to universities. The goal of the policy is to achieve a “faith-free school.

The priest deplored the fact that after the signing of the agreement on the appointment of bishops in 2018, he was hopeful that the life of Chinese Catholics would become more and more normal, only to find that the situation of the Church in China has become more and more chilling, with churches being demolished in many places, minors being banned from attending church, the “Faithful” newspaper being suspended, small seminaries being closed, and churches everywhere being required to hang signs promoting Chinese Communist ideology. Poster banners promoting the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party must be displayed in churches everywhere.

The priest said that the Chinese faithful, who are being suppressed, are eager to receive the solidarity of the universal Church, but the Pope’s voice for justice has been silenced because of concerns about the Vatican-China agreement.

He said that the Chinese Church, which should have been the responsibility of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has been placed under the direct responsibility of the Holy See’s State Council, and that Church affairs have become a political issue, with everything at the service of politics.

The priest noted with sadness that the Chinese faithful are now like babies with physical disabilities in the Dawn House, the most vulnerable community, abandoned by their parents and society, suffering physical and mental pain with only a weak cry, and he wanted to ask the Holy Father of the universal Church, “Can you hear the weakest and truest voice of the Church in China?”

The Dawn House orphanage, founded in 1988, is located in Ningjin County, Hebei Province, and belongs to the Diocese of Zhao County. It is noted that the House of Dawn has an international reputation, with Canadian Catholic media traveling to film a documentary album and the organization often invited to exchange with churches in Hong Kong and other places.

In the late 1980s, a group of Hebei Catholics discovered that handicapped babies were often abandoned at local train stations and hospitals, and decided to take turns taking care of abandoned babies. About 40% are children with cerebral palsy.

In addition to the Home of the Dawn orphanage, Catholic orphanages have also been closed in the Diocese of Xian County in central and southern Hebei Province, as well as in Zhangjiakou, Zhengding County and Shaanxi Province.