Examining Shen Bin’s Speech at the Pontifical Urban University Conference

Examining Shen Bin’s Speech at the Pontifical Urban University Conference

During a conference held at the Pontifical Urban University overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica, Chinese bishop Shen Bin delivered a 15-minute speech in Chinese to a packed auditorium.

In his address, he provided a unique perspective on the 1924 Council of Shanghai, diverging from the views expressed by the Pope.

Shen Bin argued that the council did not immediately bring about a significant change within the Church in China.

He highlighted that by the time of the 1949 Communist Revolution, only 29 out of China’s 137 dioceses had Chinese bishops, with just three out of 20 archbishops being Chinese.

The Need for Sinicization in the Church in China

Shen Bin, who has held prominent positions in the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, emphasized the importance of sinicization in the Church in China.

He defended Beijing’s record on religious freedom, asserting that the government’s policy aims to safeguard the interests of the Chinese people and promote independence from foreign influences.

According to Shen Bin, the Church in China must align itself with the principles of sinicization, adapting to the cultural and societal context of contemporary China.

Conference Highlights and Organizers

The conference, titled “100 Years Since the ‘Concilium Sinense’: Between History and the Present,” was conducted in both Chinese and Italian at the Great Hall of the Pontifical Urban University.

Organized by the Pastoral Commission for China and Agenzia Fides, the event featured notable speakers including Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

Vatican’s Perspective on Relations with China

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, speaking on the sidelines of the conference, expressed the Holy See’s desire to enhance and deepen its contacts in China.

He emphasized the Vatican’s longstanding hope for a stable presence in China, even if it initially takes a different form than a papal representation or an apostolic nunciature.


Shen Bin’s speech at the Pontifical Urban University conference sheds light on the complexities surrounding the Church in China and its relationship with the government.

His perspective, which diverges from mainstream Catholic doctrine, underscores the need for dialogue and understanding in navigating the intricate dynamics between religion and politics in China.

As the Vatican continues its efforts to engage with China, events like these serve as crucial platforms for fostering mutual understanding and cooperation.


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