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Pope Francis' Deal With Communist China Did Not Work

Terence P. Jeffrey on

The deal Pope Francis made with Communist China did not work.

On Sept. 22, 2018, the Vatican released two statements about its dealings with this regime. One announced that Pope Francis had officially recognized seven bishops initially appointed by China's atheist government.

The other was called a "(c)ommunique concerning the signing of a Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China on the appointment of Bishops."

"The above-mentioned Provisional Agreement, which is the fruit of a gradual and reciprocal rapprochement, has been agreed following a long process of careful negotiation and foresees the possibility of periodic reviews of its application," said the Vatican's statement. "It concerns the nomination of Bishops, a question of great importance for the life of the Church, and creates the conditions for greater collaboration at the bilateral level.

"The shared hope," said the Vatican, "is that this agreement may favour a fruitful and forward-looking process of institutional dialogue and may contribute positively to the life of the Catholic Church in China, to the common good of the Chinese people and to peace in the world."

Neither the People's Republic of China nor the Vatican released the actual text of the deal. Nor did the Vatican specifically explain how this deal with an atheist government would affect "the nomination of bishops" in China.

 

Various news organizations, however, indicated it gave the communist government of the PRC effective control over who could become a Catholic bishop in China. The New York Times reported the following: "Although details of the deal were not made public by either side and may never be officially released, a person close to the negotiations said it would allow Beijing to nominate bishops and the pope to veto unacceptable choices."

What moral and theological qualifications does "Beijing" have to nominate Catholic bishops?

"The People's Republic of China is an authoritarian state in which the Chinese Communist Party is the paramount authority," says the State Department's 2021 report on human rights in China. "Communist Party members hold almost all top government and security apparatus positions."

When Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week released his department's 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, he stated that China is guilty of genocide.

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