Pope Francis’ deal with communist China didn’t work, by Daily Editors
The deal Pope Francis made with communist China didn’t work.
On September 22, 2018, the Vatican released two statements about its relationship with this regime. One announced that Pope Francis had officially recognized seven bishops originally appointed by China’s atheist government.
The other was called “(c) ommunic concerning the signing of a provisional agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China on the appointment of bishops”.
“The aforementioned provisional agreement, which is the result of a gradual and reciprocal rapprochement, was reached after a long process of careful negotiations and provides for the possibility of periodic reviews of its application,” the statement said. of the Vatican. “It concerns the appointment of bishops, a matter of great importance for the life of the Church, and creates the conditions for greater collaboration at the bilateral level.
“The shared hope,” the Vatican said, “is that this agreement may foster a process of fruitful and forward-looking institutional dialogue and may contribute positively to the life of the Catholic Church in China, to the common good of the Chinese people and world peace.”
Neither the People’s Republic of China nor the Vatican has released the actual text of the agreement. The Vatican also did not specifically explain how this agreement with an atheist government would affect “the appointment of bishops” in China.
Various news outlets, however, reported that it gave the Communist PRC government effective control over who could become a Catholic bishop in China. The New York Times reported the following: “While details of the agreement have not been made public by either party and may never be officially released, a person close to the negotiations said it would allow Beijing to appoint bishops and the pope to veto unacceptable choices.”
What moral and theological qualifications does “Beijing” have to appoint Catholic bishops?
“The People’s Republic of China is an authoritarian state in which the Communist Party of China is the supreme authority,” says the State Department’s 2021 report on human rights in China. “Communist Party members occupy almost all high-level positions in the government and security apparatus.”
When Secretary of State Antony Blinken released his department’s 2021 report on international religious freedom last week, he said China was guilty of genocide.
“China continues its genocide and repression of predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other minority religious groups,” Blinken said.
“Authorities,” said the State Department’s religious freedom report, “require members of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and members of the armed forces to be atheists and prohibit them from engaging in religious practices.” .
China also requires a commitment from members of the clergy.
“The State Administration of Religious Affairs (SARA) issued new regulations, effective May 1, titled “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy,” (which) compel all clergy to pledge allegiance to the CCP and socialism. and created a database of ‘religious personnel’ to track their performance,” the report said.
“Authorities,” the report continues, “did not issue ‘clergy cards’ to persons not belonging to one of the five officially recognized patriotic religious associations, including pastors of Protestant house churches, the Catholic clergy who rejected the government’s 2018 interim agreement with the Holy See and refused to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), teachers and clergy of independent mosques and Buddhist and Taoist temples, to rabbis and religious personnel of new religious movements.”
In other words, China will not recognize a Catholic priest who does not “swear allegiance” to the Communist Party.
Is the Chinese government respecting its 2018 agreement with the Vatican?
“SARA’s ‘Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy’ did not provide for the Holy See to have a role in the selection of Catholic bishops, despite the 2018 provisional agreement between the Vatican and the government regarding the appointment of bishops” , said the State Department. report.
Meanwhile, Catholics who refused to bow to the Chinese atheist government were mistreated by that government.
“The government continued to shut down or obstruct the activities of religious groups unaffiliated with state-sanctioned religious associations, including Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and other unregistered groups,” the department said. of state.
“The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) reported that local Catholic sources said authorities abducted Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Yongjia (Wenzhou) Diocese in Zhejiang Province on October 25 and had been held incommunicado for two weeks before releasing him,” the report said.
His offence? “He was not among the bishops approved by the Vatican and recognized by the CCPA following the 2018 Sino-Vatican Provisional Agreement.”
“In April,” the report said, “UCA News reported that authorities in Zhaoxian City, Hebei Province, closed the House of the Dawn orphanage run by Catholic nuns from the Sisters of the Sun congregation. ‘Baby Jesus, accusing nuns of ‘illegal adoption practices’. .’
“Local sources said authorities actually closed the orphanage as part of a crackdown on church facilities run by the unregistered Catholic Church,” the State Department said. “The orphanage housed over 100 children, many of whom had special needs. According to UCA News, authorities have accused Christian organizations of proselytizing and converting children through their social and charitable work.”
Last month, the Chinese government arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, a retired bishop of Hong Kong, along with four others. “Zen is charged with failing to properly register a protest defense fund, after he was initially arrested under the city’s national security law,” the Daily Telegraph reported. “The group acted as a trustee of a now-defunct fund that helped pay the legal and medical bills of those arrested during democracy protests three years ago.”
Pope Francis should defend Cardinal Zen – and join him in defending the freedom of the Chinese people.
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