Pope and China in historic deal on bishops


Currently, Catholics in China face the choice of attending state-sanctioned churches approved by Beijing or worshipping in underground congregations that have sworn allegiance to the Vatican.
The “provisional agreement” was signed in Beijing by China’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Wang Chao, and the Vatican undersecretary for state relations, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri.
It is thought in future bishops will be proposed by the Chinese authorities and then approved by the Pope, the BBC’s James Reynolds reports from Rome.


Hmm. I don’t see why China gets to be an exception to how the rest of the world’s Catholic hierarchy is structured.


This is not a good idea. II shouldn’t even be happening.


What good can come from a communist government picking bishops?

With this situation happening, it reminds me of the episcopal consecrations by Archbp. Lefebvre in Econe.


It’s a great way to get some really left leaning bishops in. At least the Vatican are being honest . Who knows they might even be open to religion and capitalism
We won’t know unless we try.


The answer may lie in the post above yours.

This is to remove the pressure on ordinary Chinese Catholics who have to risk their freedom to attend mass. Now they can attend mass in state sanctioned churches and still fulfill their mass obligation. They don’t have to risk prison in order to attend a valid mass.

It’s tough enough being a Catholic in the PRC.


As I understand it the Chinese who attend the underground (not state sanctioned) masses and were loyal to the Vatican see this as a betrayal by Francis and the Vatican.

Francis and the Vatican have given athiests the authority to select bishops for the Church according to the interests of the communist/athiest state.

Very strange.


To amplify your point, Chinese Catholics have chosen the underground Catholic Church for a good reason. It is because they want to be faithful to Rome—not the Chinese government. They know the difference because they have lived through it and are adamant in their decision be loyal to Rome. They have chosen persecution and martyrdom for a reason. The involvement of Chinese government will only hurt the Church and Chinese Catholics in China.

In the past, Chinese Catholics relied on Rome to give them bishops and priests so that they could trust and know their teachings are authentically catholic. Now, how would they know amidst the involvement of the government? By the way, China will not honor their commitment on their end of this agreement—they never did on any other previous agreements or promises.

Don’t be naive… The Chinese government wants to control the Catholic Church in China and anyone who are faithful to Rome. This is a bad decision by Rome and is a slap in the face for Chinese Catholics who have been persecuted and martyred in China for centuries. I ache for the Chinese Catholics who feel that Rome is abandoning them. In truth, they are the real losers in this agreement. They stand to suffer the most long after the people who sign this agreement passed away. Cardinal Zen absolutely opposes this move—and he is right. Rome must and should have heaved the advice of good Cardinal as he has lived through it.


I am offering the reason I gave above as a conjecture. I am not privy to the talks between the PRC and the Vatican. Chances are my conjecture will be wrong. I do not think the Vatican agreed to recognize these bishops to slap the faces of faithful Chinese Catholics. I very much doubt that this is their intention even if that may be the result of their decision.

Of course the Chinese government wants to control the Church in China. I did not say otherwise.


One doesn t " choose" persecution or martyrdom. It happens. And if there is an option to fulfill our mission, even Jesus did not allow to be thrown down a cliff and walked past the people.
I am not that privy of the situation in China,nor it pertains to me,but the notion that one " chooses" martyrdom when our Church is indicating a different path is bizarre to say the least. It isn t healthy thinking to be looking for martyrdom per se when the Church cares for ones lives.
We aren t born for the shadows but for the light.
And we have a mission.


Your instincts are good, refreshingly so. This has been discussed on another thread:

I spent sometime trying to figure this all out, very complicated. Sufguce to say no one on this forum who has posted has near enough information to make the judgements many of them have.


Well, needless to say, Rome’s judgements are questionable of late, to put it very kindly. Their capitulation now to the Chinese government doesn’t add any credence to their trustworthiness. To the contrary, it has the effect of detracting from it further.


I agree. And i trust the Vatican’s decision process in this issue. No solution would be perfect when it comes to China.


Chinese Catholics have had to make a choice. Either: (1) Attend the Patriotic Church (loyal to the Chinese government), and the government would do nothing to them; or (2) Attend the underground Catholic Church (loyal to Rome), and faced persecution and martyrdom. Those who chose the underground Church chose an illegal church that the Chinese government forbids. In doing so, they went against the Chinese government and faced the brutal consequences that came with it. Underground priests and bishops have been put to jail. Some died in captivity.

You should learn more about what underground Catholics have gone through and suffered for centuries in China. You would then see for yourself that, by attending the underground Church, they actually chose persecution/martyrdom. Persecution and martyrdom come to fruition in many forms. One of which is via choice. Among many examples: Christ could have saved His life had he chosen to deny that he was the Son of God; St. Thomas More could have saved his life had he chosen to go along with King Henry VIII about adultery; The singing Carmelites could have saved their lives had they chosen to renounce the Catholic faith; etc…

Lastly, I will leave you with the last Beatitude:
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for my sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

How can I trust the Pope

That much is very true, no solution will be perfect. The more I dig into this, the more I am convinced that none of us understand the situation of the Catholic Church in China. And the more I am convinced that those who are making categorical statements that the Church is betraying true Catholics of China, is capitulating to the Chinese government, etc are doing so with little or no understanding of the facts of the situation. It is very complicated. We need to pray for the Chinese Catholics and quit using their tragic situation as another reason to bash the Holy Father.


But Cardinal Zen is himself scandalized, he believes that this is a serious mistake. The Chinese Zen Cardinal , is very well placed to know the consequence of the Vatican’s choice.
And curiously this agreement comes at a time when the Chinese communist regime is organizing a repression against religions.


This won’t end well.


Some sort of action needs to be taken against China. Their human rights abuses are absurd for a supposedly “first world” country.


The Pope is in an unenviable position.

I still remember the look of shock on his face when he was nominated Pope.

I think the Pope has more insight than we do into the suffering and troubles Catholics are undergoing in China and the Middle East. He does talk to the Bishops who can tell him what is going on, whereas we here in the West rely on the media who for the most are largely unsympathetic to the plight of Christians in the aforementioned regions of the world.

Pope Francis just cannot ignore the plight of part of his flock but also knows full well that he must proceed carefully because lives can be lost because of his decisions.

As I said before, he is in an unenviable position. I pray for his intentions before I pray the rosary.


What about Chinese Catholics? Do they or do they not deserve shepherds like us?

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