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The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

I’m about to head to China for a volunteer year.  Should I be worried about practicing religion there?

Neela Kale Answers:

While the Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of religious worship, government restrictions hamper some actual religious practices. Officially, only state-recognized religious institutions are allowed to exist, and repression of non-recognized groups – such as the Falun Gong movement – can be severe. Foreigners who congregate in houses of worship specifically for foreigners, on the other hand, are not subject to the same restrictions.

A friend of mine who was a lapsed Catholic actually came back to the Church while he was in China for a volunteer year. So I wouldn’t worry too much! If you’re a practicing Catholic, you should know that political and historical divisions do exist in the Catholic Church in China, stemming from the communist government’s restrictions on institutions with perceived foreign loyalties (such as the Catholic Church, because of its ties to the Pope in Rome). But the Church perseveres and thrives. In some areas tension exists between Catholic groups recognized by the government and those that are not; in other areas Catholics on the ground do not even perceive a difference between these groups. Ordinary Catholics are generally able to celebrate the sacraments and practice their religion freely.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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  • Gus in Shanghai

    In Shanghai, there has been a thriving community of Catholic foreign residents since the late ’90s. It began with a single English mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Julu Road — today, there are 8 weekly English masses in 4 churches: St Ignatius Cathedral, St Francis Xavier’s Church, St Peter’s Church, and Sacred Heart of Jesus in Pudong. There are Roman Catholic masses in Korean (every Sunday) as well as French and German (every other Sunday). You can learn more at our websites: http://www.internationalparish.org

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