Vatican     MISSIONARIES WARN ON CANONISATION PLANS
The Vatican's decision to canonise 120 Catholics martyred in China challenges Beijing to expand religious freedom and could raise tensions, the Vatican's Fides missionary news service said on Saturday.
   Fides warned that the 1 October canonisation could be seen in Beijing as "interference in the internal affairs of China."
   "The canonisation of the Chinese martyrs is a challenge to the courage of the Beijing government," Fides said in a statement.
   The Vatican named as future saints 120 European and Chinese Catholics who died during China's 1900 anti-Western Boxer Rebellion and at other times in the church's evangeli2ation in China.
   Catholic organizations accuse China of taking Catholics into custody and blowing up churches in an intensified campaign against Catholics loyal to the Vatican.
   Other observers point to the adverse reaction of the Vietnamese Communist government over the canonisation of 117 martyrs in 1988
   On Friday, the Holy Father presided at a consistory to agree on canonisations. Cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints assembled to express their judgement on the candidates.
   Coinciding with the meeting, the Pope approved the canonisation of Katharine Drexel, the Philadelphia socialite who took a vow of poverty and devoted her fortune to helping poor blacks and American Indians. Drexel, who died in 1955, will be canonised 1 October.
   Meanwhile Spanish radio reported that the Congregation has supported the first moves towards the beatification of the renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, who designed Barcelona's Sagrada Familia cathedral. Gaudi was a fervant Catholic and a famous recluse.
   
AP (1),
AP (2),
BBC,
Tablet
   
12/3/00

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