CHINA Catholic Priest Carries Olympic Torch In Taiyuan

June 27, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Union of Catholic Asian News

Catholics from the Shanxi provincial capital have mixed feelings about a priest carrying the Olympic torch along its relay route here on June 26.

Father Paul Meng Ningyou, vicar general of Taiyuan diocese and pastor of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, was the 122nd of 208 torchbearers in Taiyuan, an important industrial city 400 kilometers southwest of Beijing.

The 45-year-old priest, who wore the torch-relay T-shirt, ran along Binhe East Road on the bank of the Fenhe, a tributary of the Yellow River.

Some local Catholics who watched the live TV broadcast of the relay told UCA News the TV anchor introduced Father Meng as a “religious personnel” of the Taiyuan Catholic cathedral who was elected a deputy of the Taiyuan People’s Congress in 2007.

The 39-kilometer relay leg proceeded smoothly that morning.

Father Meng was the only religious worker to carry the torch in Taiyuan, and the only priest known to have done so since the relay began on the mainland on May 4.

The vicar told UCA News on June 26 that he represented the five major religions -- Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism (Taoism), Islam, Protestantism -- in bearing the torch to spread the Olympic spirit of love and fraternity, which is in harmony with the teachings of religions.