A group of young mainland China Catholics highlighted communion with the pope in an open letter to fellow young Catholics attending the World Youth Day celebration in Rome.
    The letter titled "Hopes and Expectations on the eve of World Youth Day -- Please tell the Pope we are forever united around him" was signed by a group of young laypersons and priests of the government-approved "open" Church in northern China.
    It was written in Chinese and sent to the Vatican news service Fides, from where it was translated into five languages and published before the World Youth Day celebrations. It was also forwarded to Pope John Paul II, the news service said.
    The Chinese said in their letter that they "will not be able to share the event with young Catholics of the rest of the world," saying this makes them sad and disappointed.
    However, the Jubilee of the Year 2000 has given them new hope and light "to overcome the evils of the past and live our Christian life in the light of our faith," the letter adds.
    The letter writers said they expect the Holy See and China to establish ties soon and to see the pope "with our eyes, to listen with our ears to his teaching, here in our land of China."
    Accepting the duty of bearing witness to Christ in their life, they said, "We want to stop those who are trying to put us on the road of betrayal of the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church."
    The young Catholics also expressed hope that the Chinese government will respect human rights and guarantee full religious freedom.
21 Aug 00

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