The Church and China in the Age of Francis: A Panel Discussion


Location: 1050 Jenkins Nanovic Halls

Church China Poster3

Join the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, the University of Notre Dame Press, and the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study for a panel discussion exploring the continuing story of the Church in China and Pope Francis' efforts to resolve the longstanding dispute with its communist government. This moderator for this event is Lionel Jensen, and the featured panelists are Michel ChambonJohn LindblomJin Lu, and Megan Rogers

In 1951, the Holy See and China broke off diplomatic relations, leading to tensions and divisions within the Church there and the emergence of two communities, one “official” and subject to control by the Patriotic Association, and the other “unofficial.” Over the years the relationship between these two communities has ranged from openly contentious to cooperative. The Vatican's recent strategy for establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing raises important questions about the role of the Catholic Church in China, including the extent of state authority in Church matters, détente, charity, and convergence between the two Churches, and the fate of the millions of Catholics who identify with the underground Church.

This event is free and open to the public. 


For those interested in additional readings, our panel recommends the following readings, some of which are introductory, and some that are more specific in their approach. Citations are linked to the University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Library site where possible.


  1. Eleanor Albert, “Christianity in China,” Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder.
  2. Daniel H. Bays (2012) A New History of Christianity in China
  3. Chan Shun-hing (2012) “Changing Church and State Relations in Contemporary China: The Case of Mindong Diocese, Fujian Province
  4. Adam Chau, ed., (2014) Religion in Contemporary China: Revitalization and Innovation
  5. Joachim Gentz (2013) Understanding Chinese Religions
  6. Goossaert and Palmer (2011) "The Religious Question in Modern China"
  7. Junqiang Han, et al., (2018) “House Church: Investigating Chinese Urban Christians’ Choice of Religious Practicing Site in Wuhan, China,” Religions vol. 39, issue 4
  8. Henrietta Harrison's (2013) The Missionary's Curse and Other Tales from a Chinese Catholic Village
  9. Ian Johnson (2017) The Souls of China
  10. Karrie Koesel (2014) Religion and Authoritarianism
  11. Liao Yiwu (2011) God is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China
  12. Li Ma and Jin Li (2017) Surviving the State, Remaking the Church: A Sociological Portrait of Christians in Mainland China
  13. Richard Madsen  (1998) China's Catholics
  14. Katharina Wenzel-Teuber, “Statistics on Religions and Churches in the People’s Republic of China—Update for the Year 2016
  15. Katharina Wenzel-Teuber, “Statistics on Religions and Churches in the People’s Republic of China—Update for the Year 2018
  16. Ernest P. Young (2012) Ecclesiastical Colony: China’s Catholic Church and the French Religious Protectorate
  17. Yu Tao (2017) “The Historical Foundations of Religious Restrictions in Contemporary China," Religions vol. 8, issue 12