Pope Francis has earned People’s reputation as a man for making his mission to advocate for the poor, the underprivileged and the persecuted, especially those of the Christian faith. Along with China allegedly by the Vatican to effectively revoke the power of the pope to elect a bishop to the communist state, it was therefore met with shock and even treachery among the faithful Is, especially in China.
new Deal, Which has been in operation for more than a year, is not only one of symbolic importance. Despite stringent restrictions on religious expression – and repeated reprimands about those who step outside the lines drawn by the government – there are about 70 million or Christians in China, including about 12 million Catholics.
The agreement is about the nearly seven decades of relations between the Vatican and Beijing that severed diplomatic relations shortly after the Communists took power in 1949. China established the Chinese Patriot Catholic Association in 1957 to allow certain religious activities, although strictly controlled by the government. The appointment of state approved bishops is also included.
Most of these bishops were excommunicated by the Catholic Church for cooperating with the regime. However, the loyal “underground” church loyal to the pope has thrived despite continued threats of imprisonment or other punishment by the loyal communist government.
It is against this backdrop that the new agreement has emerged. While some details remain to be revealed, it will ask the two legitimately recognized bishops of the church (and members of the underground church) to step aside, and for the pope to approve the seven currently excommunicated bishops appointed by the Chinese government. for. Going further, the state would be authorized to nominate bishops, although the Pope would allegedly have veto power over his ordination.
It is easy to see, then, why there are so many loyalists in China who have taken so much risk to remain loyal to the Church that now feel betrayed. Hong Kong vocal cardinal Joseph Zen claimed the Vatican was selling “Catholics” in China. “A church is any real Catholic church enslaved by the government,” Zen asserted at a press conference.
A group of professors, researchers, human rights activists and lawyers from predominantly Hong Kong’s Catholic University have published an open letter to Catholic bishops around the world, accusing them of pressuring them to reconsider the holy offer.
“The Communist Party in China, led by Xi Jinping, has repeatedly destroyed crosses and churches, and the Patriotic Association lays its heavy hand on the church,” the letter states. “Xi has also clarified that the party will consolidate its control over religions. Therefore, there is no possibility that the church can enjoy its independence.”
Indeed, in recent years China’s government has stepped up its persecution of religious expression, launching a campaign to remove crosses from church buildings and demolish thousands of churches. Last month it destroyed the Golden Lampstand Church, a megachurch home for 50,000 worshipers in Shanxi Province.
On 1 February, further restrictions on religious freedom came into force, requiring mandatory registration and local government approval of homes of worship and religious schools, and reporting of religious teachers, staff and online religious activity to local authorities.
Summing up comments made for a conference on religion in April 2016, Xinhua News Agency, the state’s official press agency, reported that religious groups “must follow the lead” [Communist Party of China], And support socialist system and socialism with Chinese characteristics. “
“In other words,” Chinese immigrant Helen Raley writes Federalist, “The Chinese government will tolerate any religion if it puts the Chinese government before God.”
This is why the communist government sees the development of Christianity as a threat. To maintain its control, the state must demand devotion to government above all, particularly above distorted and subversive notions of devotion to faith, family, or personal liberty.
The Vatican’s eagerness to confuse the Chinese state and thereby have better access to many Catholics living under Beijing’s rule is understandable. Unfortunately, the new settlement would betray Chinese Catholics who, through their underground worship, continually risk their lives to remain true to the Church, while enabling a repressive Chinese government to extend its religious breakdown Makes – all this with the presence of official approval by Francis.
Whatever its purpose, it will hardly be a prudent job of a leader to defend the persecuted people.