A new set of regulations is affecting Catholic funerals in a number of Chinese districts, such as Zhejiang in eastern China. These regulations target not only the underground Church, but also the version of the Catholic Church controlled by the Communist government.
The regulations prohibit priests from conducting funerals outside areas prescribed for religious worship, such as in private homes. Additionally, no more than 10 family members are allowed to read Scripture or sing hymns in a “low voice”. The punishment for breaching these regulations could be very severe – UCA News, a Catholic media outfit in Asia, reports that this could include closing the church and annulling the certificate needed by the priest to legally carry out his work.
The Communist authorities claim that the regulations seek to get rid of “bad funeral customs” and claim that the regulations replace these with “a scientific, civilized and economical way of funerals.” This move shows that even the government-controlled “official” Catholic Church in China is not safe from the anti-Christian persecution now ravaging the country.