A Catholic bishop and his rural Chinese parish worry about a deal between Beijing and the Vatican

Source: The Washington Post

Catholics from nearby villages pray and chant in Bobei Catholic Church in Guangdong province, China, on the morning of March 4, 2018. (Yan Cong/For The Washington Post)

 The bishop can’t really talk about religion right now.

His unofficial church is caught in a fight over the future of the Roman Catholic faith here, a struggle for control between the Vatican and the Communist Party that will determine the fate of the estimated 10 million Catholics in China and shape the legacy of Pope Francis.

Bishop Zhuang Jianjian, 88, under watch and already in trouble, knows it is not safe to speak out. But he can still deliver a sermon.

Just before 7 a.m. on a recent Sunday, he walked to the front of a small, white church in the green hills of Guangdong province and told the story of how God tested Abraham and Abraham kept faith.

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