So this is what I was writing to a friend who was living in China. I wrote this to him 3 years ago.
I'm putting this on this blog so I can read it later when I get a chance because my writing is not doing so hot right now. Plus, I thought all of you would dig it. :) Enjoy!
The majority of persons will not stand up for what they believe in if it contradicts the government (if the government indeed has right to control their lives or demean them in any way). Therefore, why take that risk and make life less desirable? It's unreasonable! But one of the difficulties in the Catholic Church in China (from what I was taught) is that most of the bishops and priests aren't in line with the Holy Father (they weren't ordained by the Roman Catholic Church), therefore they are unable to give the right sacraments and are unable to preach the teachings correctly. I think this is the main concern of the Holy Father and the Holy See. There are few clerigy in China that are actually in line with the Pope and this is the problem.
So to give them a higher level of formation (a more integral formation) --the ones who are actually in line with the Holy Father--would allow them to better direct the lay members they are involved with. To better educate the lay members means to live Christ's love more fully and correctly outside the Church. It's a domino effect I think. Get to the priests first and they'll get to the faithful and the faithful will get to the non-Catholics and the "fallen-away Catholics".
But really, I totally see what you mean. Why give them better formation, more rounded formation, if they are already doing the best they can do?? I guess it's wanting to give them more options of spreading the Word of God. I don't think Rome is okay with sitting back and thinking they couldn't do better...which is understandable and creditable.
And you're absolutely right. Everyone SHOULD have the right to voice their opinion...but that's not how it is in some countries; which makes it hard to follow Christ and His Church because you're being forced to follow the government instead and keep shut about anything other than. I think the Catholic Church just wants to make things a little easier for people to believe and follow...but ultimately will never get there in this life. ;) I guess the Holy Father just wants to tend to his sheep as a loving shepard should do. [He also writes to the Chinese Catholics. There's one letter he wrote to the Chinese Catholics on the Vatican website: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/special_features/chinese/index.htm
I haven't read it since then ('07) so I can't comment on it.]
And that's why we are still having martyrs to this day because there are a few that will stand up for what they believe in and are killed because they will not denounce their faith (in extreme situations.) I wish I had that kind of courage and conviction but I fail many times--and I'm not even in a country that would make me denounce my faith in order to live!!! It's definitely easier said than done. I can talk about how we should do this and that all day long but will turn around and do the opposite. We're weak but we should at least try to be strong as Christ did when he took the crucifixion...and as all the martyrs do when they will not denounce Christ as their Saviour and Lord. (Or as the nuns who were raped and murdered in India just for being nuns this last semester.) It's a cruel world which gives us all the more reason to stand up and give testimony for what is love and right--for what is God.
Bet you weren't expecting an essay on what I thought. :) Haha!! But I wasn't expecting such a great response! I love the way you think! And it's so nice to talk to you about these kinds of things. And of course I can say what I have but I'm not the one living in China. I've got it extremely easy--overly easy--here in TX. Don't know if I'd be able to stand my ground in any other country...especially China. Can you even wear a crucifix around your neck? I'm clueless to how the reality is over there. So because of this my little essay has no ground or credible thought. But it was fun anyway! ;) There's not a lot of people that would speak to me about this...and definitely nobody I know could educate me on the Catholic Church in China but you...not that I need to know, but you're fun to talk to, ol' buddy!
Aha, well said. But a martyr isn't named by the Church if they are flaunting their beliefs or faith...or even the name of their faith. A martyr is someone who by chance was in a situation where they would have to denounce God as their Lord to please another sinner. It goes back to when Jesus wouldn't denounce Himself for the sake of others' gratification. (I'm really not saying anything you don't already know--just trying to enlighten what a true martyr is so you can see the glory in it) He was crucified because He didn't lie about the Truth. No body sane wants to die especially if it's by a word from our own mouth. We would be inclined to lie in order to save our lives. That's what makes martyrs extraordinary.
The Church wouldn't name someone a martyr if they flaunted their faith and was killed this way...no, not at all. Those people must have some screws lose or be mentally ill because that's not sane or normal behavior by any means. But if a person lived as faithful as they could daily and strived to be like Christ and were humble...and they so happened to be murdered by -not PROnouncing as a crazy person would- but by not DEnouncing it, then they most likely will be named a martyr of Christ by the Church.
I hope that the economy crisis will open the hearts, minds, and eyes of North America to live like they do in China--as content and happy with little; to not live comfortably (the dream of America) but to live simply so that others may simply live. Wouldn't that be a dream? ;) I don't blame you if you find that pleasing because it's how we should live. Eat it up. We don't learn and grow if we don't experience and we don't experience if we don't live, right? ;)