IOANNIS: I'm very sorry for the confusion in the Chinese Catholic Church now. I loved the Catholic Church and learned much there that I am very grateful for. Over the past fifty years, the Roman Catholics were horribly oppressed. Many people who would not join the autonomous Chinese Catholic Church set up by the government were killed for their loyalty to the pope. Now, people are confused because they see the Vatican trying to rebuild the relationship between Rome and the Chinese government, and the Vatican seems to be willing to give in on principles that before they held very strictly.

For example, fifty years ago, Pope Pius XII was absolutely against communism and he decreed that Chinese Catholic Christians could not send their children to public schools, they could not read the newspapers or listen to the radio, they couldn't take a job in the government, and people were killed for obeying this. But now the Vatican is saying, "We have to find a way to forgive each other, to rebuild the relationship," and people are wondering what the sacrifice was for.

The other great Catholic problem, as I mentioned earlier, is liturgical reform, which only reached us a decade ago and has caused great confusion in China. In Chinese seminaries now, professors invited from abroad often teach a soulless modern theology. I was in seminary and I know firsthand who is forming these Catholic priests. When they go to work in parishes, they often end up undermining the faith. Many times I have seen young priests laugh at local piety to the Virgin Mary, at things like this — but this piety to the Virgin Mary is fundamental to the local churches.

So now, many Catholics are asking themselves, "We have suffered so much for our faith, and now we have to ask what exactly ecclesiastical authority means if they are sending priests who are laughing at our beliefs, who are making changes that we don't understand? The Vatican now faces a more serious challenge in China than during the Cultural Revolution. Then, people had a simple, fervent loyalty to the Vatican; they died for the pope and for Catholicism. Now, they are challenged by the Catholic Church itself.