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The China-Vatican Betrayal - 5

Vatican-China Conference Endorses
Communist Ideology

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
My friend Jan was wondering what was happening on the Vatican-Beijing scene. She knew about the 2018 Deal – renewed 3 times since then – that gave the communist controlled Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) the right to choose its bishops, with the Pope’s approval of the candidates.

chinese catholics old

Only older persons praying in the CPA church - no youth allowed

She did not know about the new regulations in China that allow Catholic priests to minister only in government-recognized places of worship. Nor did she realize that minors under the age of 18 are not allowed to enter – a sure-fire way to slowly erase the face of the Church in China…

Jan had heard the Vatican had recently sponsored a major conference in the Urban Pontifical University in Rome and she wondered if it had perhaps recognized or helped the Underground Catholic Church, which seems to have disappeared from the news.

I am sorry to tell my eternally optimistic friend Jan that no, it most certainly did not. In fact, the Conference worsened the situation for faithful Catholics in China and made further concessions to the communist controlled CPA.

Conference in Rome

On May 21, 2024, the Vatican did sponsor a major international Rome-China Conference commemorating the legacy of the 1924 Council of Shanghai, the first plenary council held in China in communion with Rome to promote an indigenous Chinese clergy and hierarchy. In fact, this so-called “commemoration” was just an pretext to show that Pope Francis remains committed to make every compromise to the Communist Chinese Regime.


Card. Tagle promoting the China-Rome conference

Present at the meeting on the Vatican side were the heavy hitters Card. Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and Card. Luis Antonio Tagle, head of the Dicastery for Evangelization. Both are high-profile progressivists and favorites of Francis.

The China side notably included star player Bishop Joseph Shen Bin of Shanghai, chairman of the government-controlled Chinese Catholic Bishops Conference, which is officially not recognized by the Vatican. In effect this means he was representing the Chinese Communist Government and not the Catholic Church.

Bishop Shen Bin is even more controversial because last year Chinese authorities – violating their agreement with Rome – assigned him to the post of Archbishop of Shanghai without checking with the Pope. There was no formal protest as there should have been. Rather, Francis accepted the Chinese slap in the face and responded with an almost immediate ratification of the government’s choice.

Shen Bin’s presence as a key speaker at the Rome Conference can be seen as a further affirmation that the Holy See supports the Chinese regime's decision to act unilaterally on the appointment of Bishops.

Bishop Shen Bin demands, the Vatican listens

Bishop Shen Bin was strong. He demanded that the Catholic Church in China continue its program of “Sinicization,’ which is essentially ‘Communization.’ The term, invented by China’s leader Xi Jinping in 2016, means Catholicism in China must follow the country’s “core socialist values” and follow the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party.

pope francis china

He reads his introduction next to a modernist statue of a woman in sleeveless & body-revealing apparel

Let me note here that, ironically, that it would seem that the only “ideology” permitted and even embraced by Pope Francis is Communism. As traditionalists know he constantly raves against any “ideologies” in the Catholic Church. In fact, in a CBS 60 Minutes interview broadcast the same week as the Conference, he proclaimed: “All ideology is bad, whether it is from the right, the center, or the left.”

He is hypocritical because he clearly supports the communist ideology. In fact, Francis opened the Rome Conference with a video message in which he recognized that the Church in communist China must “increasingly have a Chinese face,” and thus align itself to the communist ideology.

In their addresses, both Card. Parolin, a key architect of the 2018 agreement, and Card. Tagle reaffirmed that the Catholic Church poses no threat to Beijing’s control of the Church and even went so far as to humbly admit the “errors” of the past made by Western missionaries in their valiant conversion efforts.

shen bin cardinal palotin

A firm Shen Bin, left, with an acquiescing Card. Parolin 

Tagle emphasized the role of dialogue to attain universal fraternity, mentioning specifically the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity as an example (which you can read about here and here), along with Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti (analyzed by Atila Guimaraes here, here, here and here).

It is nothing less than a confirmation of Rome’s agreement to place the Catholic Faith on the same level as the creeds of the false religions. Or, rather, as Guimaraes notes, “It is the dream of a Universal Republic or a One World Order subserviently assisted by a Pan-Religion in which all religious convictions must melt and merge together.”

That Tagle should present these two examples clearly demonstrates the Vatican’s position at the China-Rome conference.

Both Tagle and Parolin effectively endorsed the demands set out by Bishop Shen Bin’s insistence on the “Sinicization” of the Catholic Church in China. “The policy of religious freedom implemented by the Chinese government has no interest in changing the Catholic Faith but only hopes that the Catholic clergy and faithful will defend the interests of the Chinese people and free themselves from the control of foreign powers,” Shen Bin said in his speech.

pope francis china

A Pope who accepts no ideology except Communism

I invite you, my dear Jan, to consider the ludicrousness of Shen Bin’s words. How can the government not change the Catholic Faith if it insists upon freeing itself from any “control” by foreign powers, which in this case means the Pope in Rome? How can a person be part of the Catholic Church unless he acknowledges the See of Peter? To deny the primacy of the Pope is heresy; today the Chinese communists call it “Sinicization,” and a smiling Vatican goes along with the game…

None of the speakers at the Rome Conference dared to speak critically of the violation of human rights or religious freedom in China. This, despite official reports by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom that reveal increasing persecutions and deteriorating conditions for religious freedom.

The Cardinals did made one meek request on the part of the Vatican, a solicitation for “a stable presence” in China, implying a possible office in Beijing. They did not dare to propose an embassy or apostolic nunciature, just an office… It is the Vatican who begs and the communists who deliberate and decide …

The new crackdown on the Underground Church

Of course, the results of this Conference will worsen the condition of the Underground Church in China, which although greatly reduced still survives and valiantly resists the compromises with Communism.

underground church

Faithful Catholics in the Underground Church are facing increasing persecution

The Cardinals at the Rome Conference could have brought up the disappearance recently of two Chinese Catholic priests of the Underground Church in the Hebei Province who have been reported “missing” since April 2024. The priest were detained because they refused to sign documents accepting the authority of the state-sanctioned CPA. Their whereabouts remain unknown.

Among many other such detentions, there is the case of Bishop Ma Daqin, former Bishop of Shanghai who has been under house arrest since he left the ranks of the CPA. The Chinese government unilaterally appointed a new CPA bishop of Shanghai in April 2023. This was not only a violation of the 2018 Beijing-Rome agreement, but a failure to protest the house arrest of a faithful Catholic Bishop.


A ladder the Taining County police set up to arrest an Underground Church priest

Detention and arrest is fast becoming the fate of all the resisters, who are forced further underground.

Perhaps the worst catastrophe in this whole unholy mess, of which this recent Conference is just another link in the chain of concessions and betrayals, is the lack of concern on the part of the clergy and faithful. I include here the traditionalists, who have remained almost completely silent on the tremendous betrayal of the heroic Underground Church in China that started with the disastrous Letter to the Chinese Catholics that Benedict XVI released on June 30, 2007.

In that letter Benedict XVI invited the members of the Underground Church to assist at the Masses of the communist approved CPA. He also stripped the Underground Bishops of their faculties to ordain new bishops and priests. But of course these directives have led to more and more shameful concessions, which came to fore at the May 2024 Vatican/China Conference we analyzed today.


Parolin gives up, Shen Bin smiles


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted June 3, 2024

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