Vatican sell-out of Church to Communist China


A Catholic priest celebrates a mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
on Sunday in Hong Kong. PHILIP FONG AFP

The official Catholic Church of China expresses
its loyalty to the Communist Party

24th Sept.

"We will follow the path of adaptation to the socialist society," says the institution, a day after the agreement between Beijing and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops

The official Chinese Catholic Church has expressed support for the historic agreement announced Saturday between China and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops. But, above all, in a statement released Sunday, has declared his loyalty to the Communist Party of China.

"The Catholic Patriotic Association and the Catholic Conference of Bishops in China sincerely support" the agreement, indicates the statement included on the agency's website. The pact, whose details have not been disclosed, allows the Vatican to recognize seven bishops appointed by Peking; In turn, China accepts that the Pope has decision-making power over the appointment of prelates in the more than 140 dioceses of its territory.

The Chinese Catholic community, of about 12 million faithful, is divided between the clandestine church, those who only accept papal authority, and the "patriotic church," subject to state surveillance.

In Sunday's communiqué, the Patriotic Church expresses the "deep love for its homeland" and reiterates the commitment to "follow the path of adapting to the socialist society, and under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, collaborate with all nationalities of the country to achieve the greatness of the Chinese nation. " At the same time, he hopes "that relations between China and the Vatican continue to improve".

The agreement has been welcomed with a division of opinions in China. While some consider that it leaves the faithful of the clandestine parishes in a difficult position, others express the hope that it will serve to gradually unite the two communities. Although the official media insist that the pact has a very majority support. "The critics are only a very noisy minority," the National Times newspaper, a nationalist one, quoted a Vatican bishop as saying.

The announcement of this Saturday comes when China, which only recognizes five beliefs - Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism - is once again hardening its control over religious practices.

A series of regulations that came into force in March of this year stipulates that worship can only be held in places registered with the authorities; they also impose restrictions on religious education for minors. Earlier this month, the government in Beijing has submitted a bill that requires organizations that want to disseminate religious content to receive a license from the authorities of their respective provinces. These organizations will not be able to broadcast live content or broadcast their religious information over the internet - whether video, text or audio - outside of their own platforms.

The bill also bans opposition to the Communist Party of China, activities that incite subversion or promote extremism.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has also welcomed the agreement. "China and the Vatican will continue to maintain their communications and promote the process of improvement between both parties," he said in a succinct statement.

Objective China: Beijing and the Vatican seek an approach