Pope recognizes illicitly ordained Chinese bishops (CNA)


Papal Ostpolitik ? I’m not sure what to make of today’s news from the Vatican. It looks suspiciously like the kind of deal that Cardinal Casaroli, president of the Pontifical Commission for Russia under Paul VI in the seventies and then John Paul II’s first Secretary of State in the eighties, was seeking, but failed to achieve, with the Soviet Union.


As I have pointed out before, the Church, in order to continue her mission to the best extent possible, even under a tyrannical givernment, has made these types of agreements in the past. They are never perfect, as you are dealing with an antagonistic government, and the history of their success is somewhat of a mixed bag.

Under Polish communist government, the Vatican gave veto power over selection of Bishops to the communist government. In 1963, it took seven tries before the Polish communists finally accepted a name out forward by the Vatican: Karol Wojtyla. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways.

I think the criticisms over the current deal with China are unfair. One cannot assume all of the Chinese who have been members of the Patriotic Catholic Church are bad Catholics. It would be easier, and more beneficial, if they had no religion at all. It is likely, the vast majority of them are sincere Catholics who have worshipped in that church because they simply have no viable alternative in their location or in their personal situation. The Church working to bring them into the fold us a good thing. But something has to give in any negotiation. The end result cannot be perfect, you are dealing with communists.

In addition, the Chinese government is cracking down on many religions, so any expansion of the underground Catholic Church is likely difficult in the future. Therefore, the time may right to reach an accord.


What are all of those red flags people are holding as the Pope greets them?

I would rather they be holding Vatican City flags- are they showing some kind of allegiance to the Chinese government? If so this seems like kind of a “North Korea” thing to do.


Really? It is not uncommon at all for groups from particular countries to wave their country’s flags in Rome at such functions. Its a way of letting the Pope know where they are from. I don’t like the Chinese flag either, but from their standpoint, this is pretty much what the rest of the world does.


Cardinal Zen has criticized the deal.


The Church did essentially the same thing with Napoleon’s secular government in 1801. In that case, like this, you had schismatic “constitutional bishops” (ie state bishops) appointed by Napoleon who had displaced the “emigre bishops” as they were called (like the Chinese underground bishops, except they had to flee France rather than go underground). Ultimately, Rome accepted the constitutional bishops and going forward had to have mutually agreed upon bishops between Rome and Napoleon (proposed by Napoleon, formally appointed by Rome) who would have to take an oath of loyalty to the French government. In the end, it worked–the Church outlasted the regime and to this day there is no schismatic state Church in France. We’ll see how this one plays out.


Veto power is not at all the same thing as allowing a communist government to directly appoint bishops. The CCP does not possess apostolic succession and therefore lacks the competence to ordain anyone. This deal is obscene.


I know that. It gives me pause. I still think we have to wait and see before we say it’s a bad deal


According to this 2011 article by lastampa , one of the newly recognized bishops, Bp. Paul Shiyin, is reported to have fathered a child with a concubine. Let us hope that this report is erroneous…and if it is not, let us pray that the other bishops are more willing to respect the teaching of the Church they have just been reconciled with.


Veto power is actually pretty strong. The communist leader of Poland in 1963 was determined that John Paul II would be Bishop of Krakow, because he thought he could easily drive a wedge between him and the Archbishop of Warsaw. He was quoted as saying, I will veto every name until they give me Wojtyla. Apparently the Vatican was worried about that same outcome, as he was their seventh choice.

Also, according to the interview of the Secretary of State I read yesterday, a list of candidates will be submitted by the Bishops and government of China, and the selection would be made by the Pope. I don’t think that is much worse than veto power.



Conflicting reports about how bishops are to be named. This NR article describes a process that’s different than I read from Vatican SofS yesterday.

As to the concordant of 1933 being a mistake, even that is debatable. For sure the Nazis didn’t abide by it, but what would have been the result without it? Either way, the entire German nation was heading for catastrophe. You can certainly understand why the church did it.


There might not be a state schismatic Church in France, but have you seen how many of the French people have fallen away from their Catholic faith? We KNOW how this deal with China will play out…loss of faith. Christ specifically taught against trying to serve 2 masters.


I saw some mainstream press articles out there, so this is getting wider coverage for those curious about it.


These bishops do have apostolic succession. They have valid orders, but were illicitly ordained.


How do we know this?


Valid orders is what establishes apostolic succession.


I know… that’s why I told him that they do have apostolic succession.


Sorry, completely misread your post. I need to go have a cup of coffee


I’m drinking some coffee right now before getting ready for Mass :blush:

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