Government officials in China’s Henan province have called for the destruction of the sanctuary of Our Lady of Carmel, the AsiaNews service reports. A government decree has ruled that the Marian sanctuary, and the pilgrimages that have brought over 40,000 pilgrims there annually, are evidence of “illegal religious activity.”
The Henan government plans to raze the sanctuary, bar pilgrimages to the site, and destroy the celebrated statue of Our Lady of Carmel that is revered by Catholics there. To discourage faithful Catholics from organizing sit-ins on the site to protect the shrine, authorities have scheduled military exercises in the area.
The sanctuary was built in the first years the 20th century, has been revered by Chinese Catholics for 100 years. It was nearly destroyed during World War II, rebuilt, then ravaged again by the Red Guard movement of the 1960s. Nevertheless the shrine continues to draw Catholic pilgrims.
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