“Made in China” for the Catholic Church – What’s Wrong With This Picture?

My husband and I were recently in New York for a few days to enjoy the Christmas trees, window displays, and decorations.  While visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I planned to buy a gift for my grand niece who will be receiving her First Communion in May.  I was shocked to see that a music box commemorating a child’s First Communion (as well as many other items) were made in China. It was a shock that the Catholic Church would choose to have its religious items made in China, a country with a dismal human rights record.   Cheap labor and costs should not be the determining factor in this situation.  I decided to write the following letter to the Archbishop of New York:

“My husband and I very much enjoyed our recent visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

However, when we visited the gift shop, I was both surprised and disappointed to find that a music box for a child’s First Communion was “made in China.”  I could not, in good conscience, purchase a First Communion music box knowing it was made in such a God-less country.

Of course I recognize that just about everything we purchase is now made in China, but I would’ve expected the Catholic Church to be a bit more concerned about the atrocious policies of China than in saving a few dollars by having its religious items made in a country which orders the murder its own children.

The Catholic Church must be aware of China’s one-child and state-mandated abortion policies.

On Christmas Day, the Denver Post included an article about a Chinese woman who found herself pregnant with a second child.  In order to evade the one-child rule, she divorced her husband and married her cousin the next day.  She hoped to take advantage of a loophole that allowed divorced parents to have a second child if their new spouse was a first-time parent.  However, she learned that the conception had to take place after the marriage and was told to abort the baby and start over again.  Rather than face the prospect of an abortion, she fled the village to avoid authorities who would’ve, no doubt, forced her to have the abortion.  She communicated with her (first) husband through a password-protected online journal which kept him apprised of her location until she reached Shanghai where she eventually gave birth to their second child.

The article also describes how violators of the one-child policy have to pay four to nine times a family’s annual income.  A physics teacher was no longer allowed to teach after his second child was born.  When he refused to pay the fine of $37,500, he was denied a household registration permit for his son, forcing him to pay three times more for kindergarten.  The father, himself, struggled to make ends meet as a freelance chess teacher.

Every clear thinking person should recognize China’s one-child and state-mandated abortion policies as horrific and unacceptable.  Under no circumstances should abortion be the answer to population control.

It pains me that abortion is legal in this country; however, it is not forced upon women by our government, and we, fortunately, do not have a state-mandated policy limiting the number of children parents may have in this country as does China.

I would respectfully ask that you examine the Church’s policy of manufacturing and importing these items from China and consider finding a manufacturer in this country.”

I received the following reply from Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York:

“While I understand your concern about the sale of products in the cathedral gift shop that are manufactured in China, I do not believe that, in doing so, the gift shop is in any sense giving its approval to the Chinese government or any of its policies that are directly contrary to the teachings of our faith.  Though the mandated abortion and one-child policies of the Chinese government are extreme, your argument could actually be extended to any nation that has legalized abortion, including the United States.”

While I appreciate the Archbishop’s response to my letter, I would respectfully disagree with his assessment.  I’m not an expert on the Chinese economic system but I have to believe that the Communist Party and its policies play an enormous role in almost every aspect of Chinese life.

At least in the United States, our government, no matter how involved in commerce it is at this point, does not limit the number of children parents may have or force its citizens to kill their babies.

As a single consumer, I find it almost impossible to buy anything that isn’t made in China.  The Catholic Church, with all its financial resources, should be able to set an example by purchasing goods elsewhere.

I still don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • nannon31

    I agree with the Cardinal and I don’t like him.

  • chief98110

    I wish that someone would read this post and send it to a USA manufacturer that could produce these items for our churches. I believe that there has to be a point where folks would pay a little more for products made in the USA.

  • Sylvia

    I thought I’d share this site for those who dont want to buy “made in China ” Catholic products.

    I buy from them often. The quality of the products are superior. I’ve bought bibles,childrens educational books, statues, rosaries , wall plaques , prayer cards, tons of stuff and love it all.The prices are about the same as other places.


    Their “good faith guarantee” is :

    Chinese Products
    We believe that by purchasing products from China we would be contributing to the things mentioned here. Because of this, we refuse to carry most statues and pretty much anything porcelain that’s made today. We have been able to find sources for products in other countries. They may cost a little more but we rest better at night knowing that our money isn’t helping to support forced abortions and the persecution of Christians in China.

  • Roger Ward

    Just to clarify: I am not anti-Cathollic Church. I actually support their efforts and feel the good they have done far outweighs the bad …. but they have been so remiss in recognizing, acknowledging and correcting the crimes perpetrated by those perverts masquerading as priests, that they have lost my confidence. There are many of the superiors in the Church who will have much to answer for, particularly including Archbishop Baloney of Los Angeles.

  • Mike Jackson

    What amazes me more than the “Made in China” was the response of the archbishop. To compare China’s compulsory abortion to those of other nations is ludicrous at best. So, what the guy really said was get used to it because China’s policy isn’t any worse than anyone else’s. (HOGWASH in my book.)
    That type of attitude by the Church hierarchy is primarily why I do not support anything beyond the local parish and have, in fact, opted to look at other doctrines. I don’t recall anything in Scripture stating “Send us your money and do what we say so you can receive salvation.”

  • pete

    There is ANOTHER obvious argument against selling Mainline China products by Church stores: THE PERSECUTION OF THE UNDERGROUND CATHOLIC CHURCH! When I think of China today I am reminded of Rev. 12 ff in which the Red Dragon desires to eat the offspring being born of the Woman! BUY FROM TAIWAN INSTEAD!

  • Roger Ward

    Michael, you know quite a bit and your comment was both reasonable and insightful. (If not the Philippines, maybe Mexico — for the same reasons.)

    Ron F, your comments are on point …. and the Catholic Church should be held to a higher standard, for just the reason you state.

    As I’m in a complimentary mood tonight, I’ll even give a minor one to Archbishop Dolan for having the courtesy to respond to you, Leona. (Now if we could get someone in the Church to acknowledge the crimes committed against the altar boys and other young men by the deviates who pass as priests.)

  • Nancye

    I collect angel figurines. I bought one at the gift shop at this monastery in Hanceville, Alabama – close to Cullman, Alabama:


    It’s called:

    Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery.

    The angel I bought is the Archangel Uriel. On the bottom of his stand it doesn’t say where he was made, so maybe he wasn’t made in China, but all of my other angel figurines are. Too bad.

    • Nancye

      If you’re ever in Alabama, you might like to take the tour.

      • Leona Salazar

        I’ve never been there, Nancye, but I LOVE Mother Angelica and watched her television show nightly until she suffered a stroke a few years ago which has prevented her from taping any new shows. She is definitely my go-to-gal for all things Catholic.

  • Ron F

    We lost the fight to avoid buying products made in China a long time ago. I still try to buy products made in the United States but it is extremely difficult. I once looked for a can opener for over 3 months to fine one that was not made in China I was not able to. Who is willing to give up on their I Phones and I Pads because of where they are made. On the other hand, I agree with Leona. The Catholic Church has more buying power than one individual. Even if buying products from China is not endorsing the government, it is closing its eyes to the government policies and abuses. The government policies allow the products to be made cheaper in China. I also hold the Catholic Church to a higher standard than I do private companies. The Catholic Chuch holds itself out as a moral authority. And comparing the policies of a country in which abortion is legal to a country that dictates how many children parents can have and mandating abortion is silly.

  • Michael

    It seems like the Church could find some other supplier, if not in the US, then maybe somewhere like the Philippines. The economy there could use the help, the people are overwhelmingly Catholic, and the government doesn’t make women abort their babies. But, what do I know?