China’s Catholic Parishes Rattled by Prospect of More Control From Beijing

Specter of Vatican allowing state more oversight sows uncertainty in independent congregations

LUOJIANG, China—An emerging rapprochement between the Vatican and Beijing is unsettling communities of Chinese Catholics and increasing pressure on them to join the government-backed church after decades of resistance.

There have been many Catholics in Luojiang since Spanish Dominicans came to farming villages along China’s southeast coast four centuries ago. Today most of the 84,000 Catholics in the area, including the community’s popular bishop, worship outside the state-sanctioned church.

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