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Pope Francis uses Mongolia visit to try to calm China's crackdown on Christians

by Reuters Journalist

Pope Francis, on a 4-day visit to Mongolia, appears to have made comments aimed at the country’s neighbour, China.  On the first ever papal visit to the country founded by the ancient warrior leader, Genghis Khan, the pope praised the tradition of religious freedom.  He spoke to a crowd of believers, and said governments have nothing to fear from the Catholic Church because it has no political agenda.

Mongolia, which has only 1,450 Catholics and where the tiny Church has good relations with a government that has expressed appreciation for its social, health and charitable activities.  In China, a law was introduced only yesterday, which imposed further sanctions and restrictions on Christian worshippers there, in what one expert has called 'the worst crackdown in decades'.

In the address to bishops, priests, missionaries and pastoral workers, 86-yr old Francie said Jesus gave no political mandate to his apostles but told them to alleviate the sufferings of a "wounded humanity" through faith.

"The Lord Jesus, in sending his disciples into the world, did not send them to spread political theories, but to bear witness by their lives to the newness of his relationship with his Father, now “our Father”, which is the source of brotherhood with every individual and people."  He said the church should be ssustained, "only by genuine faith and by the unarmed and disarming power of the Risen Lord, and capable of alleviating the sufferings of wounded humanity.”

The Holy Father continued: “For this reason, governments and secular institutions have nothing to fear from the Church’s work of evangelization, for she has no political agenda to advance, but is sustained by the quiet power of God’s grace and a message of mercy and truth, which is meant to promote the good of all."

with additional reporting by Premier News.

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