Underground Church
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Underground Church

The term underground church (Chinese: ?; pinyin: dìxià jiàohuì) is used to refer to Chinese Catholic churches in the People's Republic of China which have chosen not to associate with the state-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, they are also called loyal church (Chinese: ?; pinyin: zhongzhen jiàohuì). Underground churches came into existence in the 1950s, after the communist party's establishment of the People's Republic of China, due to the severing of ties between Chinese Catholics and the Holy See.[1]

There continues to be tensions between underground churches and "open churches" which have joined the state-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (Chinese: ; pinyin: Zh?ngguó Ti?nzh?jiào Àiguó Huì).[2]


The description of an "underground church" reflects language that was made popular during the Cold War, when these churches came about. Underground churches are also sometimes referred to as "Vatican loyalists" because they have attempted to remain loyal to the Pope and the Holy See. There is no established organization structure of underground churches, though they tend to be clustered around a number of Vatican-ordained bishops.[3] However, underground churches would in 1989 form the Bishops Conference of Mainland China (Chinese: ?; pinyin: Ti?nzh?jiào Zh?ngguó Dàlù Zh?jiào Tuán) as separate from the state-sanctioned Bishops Conference of Catholic Church in China (Chinese: ; pinyin: Zh?ngguó Ti?nzh?jiào Zh?jiào Tuán), which was established in 1980.[3]

Chinese Catholics associated with underground churches are often seen in contrast with the Chinese Catholics associated with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, often termed "open churches" (Chinese: ?; pinyin: dìshàng jiàohuì; lit. 'above ground church'), which are officially independent of the Holy See.[1][4]

Protestant churches in China which have not jointed the state-sanctioned Protestant church, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, are generally termed house churches rather than underground churches.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b Bays, Daniel (2012). A New History of Christianity in China. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 192-193.
  2. ^ Rocca, Francis X. (November 18, 2013). "Do not abandon Catholics in China, Cardinal tells Church". www.catholicherald.co.uk. Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b Leung, Beatrice; Liu, William T. (2004). Chinese Catholic Church in Conflict: 1949-2001. Boca Raton, Florida: Universal Publishers. pp. 91-96, 143-153. ISBN 978-1581125146.
  4. ^ a b Lee, Joseph Tse-Hei (March 2007). "Christianity in Contemporary China: An Update". Journal of Church and State. 49 (2): 278-279. doi:10.1093/jcs/49.2.277. ISSN 0021-969X.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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