Pope Knocks China on Good Friday

Catholic leader reflects on Church's 'dark hour of persecution'
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2008 8:35 PM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a Mass for the unveiling and adoration of the Cross in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Claudio Peri, Pool)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Pope Benedict took aim at China's lack of religious freedom at a Good Friday procession in Rome today, Reuters reports. "In many parts of the world, (the Church) is undergoing the dark hour of persecution," the Pope said, using words penned by a cardinal who has blasted China's policies. A Chinese woman shouldered the cross for part of the procession, which was broadcast to 39 countries.

"Coliseums have multiplied down the centuries, wherever our brothers and sisters, in different parts of the world, continue to be harshly persecuted today," wrote Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun in a forward read by the Pope. China, which has 8 to 12 million Catholics, broke ties with the Vatican broke 2 years after Beijing's 1949 Communist coup.