Pope Betrays Chinese Catholics

Pope Betrays Chinese Catholics

[Pope Francis] is preparing …to grant the communist authorities the privilege of selecting [episcopal] candidates. And he is exiling to an island in the Pacific the highest ranking Chinese archbishop in the curia, contrary to the agreement. But in China, Cardinal Zen has already taken the lead in the rebellion by Sandro Magister 

Communist appointed bishop in 2010
Communist appointed bishop in 2010

ROME, August 14, 2016 – In China, among the one hundred and nine Catholic bishops there are eight who have been consecrated at the behest of the communist authorities and who have never received the pope’s approval, thereby incurring excommunication, a couple of them with children and lovers.

But for none other than these eight, by the end of this summer or at the latest before the end of the jubilee Francis is ready to perform a spectacular gesture: a pardon.

Francis missed another stunning gesture by just a hair’s breadth last September 26, during his journey to Cuba and the United States.

That day, his touchdown in New York on his way to Philadelphia coincided with the landing of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who was expected at the United Nations. Everything had been calculated for the two to cross paths “accidentally” at the airport and exchange a greeting. Xi was aware of this ardent desire of the pope, but in the end he let it drop and the meeting did not take place.

From that moment on, however, the secret contacts between the Vatican and Beijing underwent an acceleration. In October and then in January a delegation of six representatives of the Holy See went to the Chinese capital. And in April of this year, the two sides set up a joint working group that now seems to have come to an understanding over a point that the Vatican takes very seriously: the appointment of bishops.

Since it has been in power, in fact, the Chinese communist party has wanted to equip itself with a submissive Church separate from Rome, with bishops of its own appointment ordained without the pope’s approval, beholden to a Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association that Benedict XVI called “irreconcilable” with Catholic doctrine.

A Church of the regime, therefore, on the verge of schism with its eight excommunicated bishops, contrasted with an “underground” Church with about thirty bishops earnestly faithful to the pope, which however pays all the costs of clandestinity – oppression, surveillance, arrest, abduction.

And in the middle the vast gray zone of the remaining dozens of bishops who were ordained illegitimately but then were more or less reconciled with Rome, or were ordained with the parallel recognition of Rome and Beijing but must still remain under the iron control of the communist authorities.

The bishop of Shanghai, Thaddeus Ma Daqin, ordained in 2007 with the twofold approval of the pope and the government, has been under house arrest for four years for the simple offense of having resigned from the Patriotic Association. Two months ago he retracted, but he is still deprived of his liberty. The eighty-five-year-old Joseph Zen Zekiun (in the photo), who has more freedom of speech in Hong Kong, has called “inevitable” the suspicion that this retraction was also desired by the Vatican, just to reach an agreement at any price.

That an agreement has already been reached was confirmed in recent days by Zen’s successor in the diocese of Hong Kong, Cardinal John Tong, with an open letter released in Chinese, English, and Italian that bears all the marks of wanting to prepare the faithful to make the best of a bad lot:

> Card. Tong: Communion of the Church in China with the Universal Church

Because the solution at which Tong hints is one of those against which Cardinal Zen has already raised covering fire to the point of threatening conscientious objection:

> Card. Zen: My concerns over China-Holy See dialogue and repercussions on Chinese Church

The example that is brought up most often is that of Vietnam, where the candidate for bishop is proposed by the Vatican but the government can veto him, and then on to other candidates until the government approves one of them.

But for China, the solution of which Cardinal Tong appears to have knowledge sees the roles reversed. The candidate will be selected and proposed to the Vatican by the Chinese episcopal conference. Only that this conference is a creature of the communist party, completely at the beck and call the regime, devoid of “underground” bishops and with one of the excommunicated eight as its president.

“Let us dare to believe that Pope Francis will accept nothing that could endanger the communion of the Church in China with the universal Church,” Tong wrote.

But the pope’s pardon of the eight illegitimate bishops will certainly not suffice to reassure him, Zen, and most Chinese Catholics.  Source – Sandro Magister – And click here to read Cardinal Zen’s outspoken blog post dated 17 January, 2016


If a Communist Government may choose candidates to be bishops in the Catholic Church during a period of Vatican II “Springtime”,  what was the problem with the episcopal ordinations carried out by Archbishop Lefebvre at a time of crisis?  Why the fuss?

Our sympathy must go to the Catholics doing their best to keep the Faith in the (real) Catholic  Church in China, forced to operate underground due to the ongoing persecution of priests and faithful, and now betrayed, it seems, by the Pope himself. 

Am I missing something? Is there any justification for this apparent betrayal? 

Comments (19)

  • Athanasius

    It wouldn’t be the first time a Pope has betrayed the faithful in order to court the favour of Communists. Paul VI did exactly this with the much-persecuted Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary. In 1973 Paul VI lifted the excommunications on the Communists who had made the Cardinal’s life a veritable misery for decades, including imprisonment. He then stripped the Cardinal of his office as Primate of Hungary and all titles associated with it and left the See vacant for two years until the Cardinal finally died in exile. All this for Vatican II’s “Aggiornamento”.

    And to think that Pius XII ordered that no deals where ever to be made with Communists, who are notorious deceivers. Paul VI trampled on that holy Pope’s memory, as Francis seems set to do now. And the poor Chinese faithful will be hung out to dry in the process, we need make no mistake about that. Such is the price the Church pays when worldly political Popes are elected.

    August 16, 2016 at 11:50 pm
    • editor

      Well said, Athanasius.

      I remember being very moved on reading the obituary published in the London Times, on the death of the Chinese Cardinal Kung some years ago. I tried, unsuccessfully, to locate a copy, just now – however I found this biographical piece instead:

      Cardinal Kung was the Catholic Bishop of Shanghai, and the Apostolic Administrator of Souchou and Nanking since 1950, a post he held until his death. He was ordained a priest almost 70 years ago on May 28, 1930, and consecrated a Bishop 50 years ago – the first native Chinese Bishop of Shanghai – on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, October 7, 1949, after the communists had already taken over China. Cardinal Kung was created a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in pectore(in the heart of the Pope, without announcement to anyone in the world including Cardinal Kung) 20 years ago in 1979 at the age of 78, when the Cardinal was serving a life sentence in isolation in China. Living in the heart of Pope John Paul II for 12 years, Cardinal Kung was finally proclaimed a cardinal to the world on June 28, 1991 by Pope John Paul II. At the time of Cardinal’s death, Cardinal Kung was the oldest Cardinal.

      The story of Cardinal Kung is the story of a faithful shepherd and of a hero. Cardinal Kung was a man who refused to renounce God and his Church despite the consequences of a life sentence from the Chinese communist government. The months before his arrest in 1955, the then Bishop Kung stood by his clergy and faithful of China in spite of many offers of safe passage out of China. He was a man who inspired millions of his countrymen to follow his example of fidelity to the Catholic faith and who preserved the Catholic Church in a communist country for the past 50 years. He was a man who became a symbol for world leaders in all countries in their fight for religious freedom. No account of religious persecutions or of any human rights violations in China is complete without a few words about His Eminence Cardinal Kung.

      Bishop Kung had been Bishop of Shanghai and Apostolic Administrator of two other dioceses for only five years before he was arrested by the Chinese government. In just 5 short years, Bishop Kung became one of the most feared enemies of the Chinese Communists – a man who commanded both the attention and devotion of the country’s then three million Catholics and the highest respect of his brother bishops in China, and inspired thousands to offer their lives up to God. In defiance of the communist created and sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, Bishop Kung personally supervised the Legion of Mary, a religious organization of the laity dedicated to the veneration of the Blessed Mother Mary. As the result, many members of the Legion of Mary chose to risk arrest in the name of their God, of their Church and of their bishop. Hundreds of Legion of Mary members, including many students, were arrested and sentenced to 10, 15, or 20 years or more of hard labour.

      In the midst of persecutions, Bishop Kung declared 1952 the Marian Year in Shanghai. During that year, there was to be uninterrupted 24 hours-daily recitation of the rosary in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which toured all the parishes of Shanghai. The Holy Statue finally arrived at Christ the King Church where a major arrest of the priests had just taken place only a month ago. Bishop Kung visited that church and personally led the rosary while hundreds of the armed police looked on. At the end of the rosary, leading the congregation, Bishop Kung prayed: “Holy Mother, we do not ask you for a miracle. We do not beg you to stop the persecutions. But we beg you to support us who are very weak.”

      Knowing that he and his priests would soon be arrested, Bishop Kung trained hundreds of catechists to pass on the Catholic faith in the diocese to future generations.

      The heroic efforts of these catechists, their martyrdom and that of many faithful and clergy contributed to the vibrant underground Catholic Church in China today. Bishop Kung’s place in the hearts of his parishioners was very well summed up by the Shanghai youth group in a 1953 New Year youth rally when they said: “Bishop Kung, in darkness, you light up our path. You guide us on our treacherous journey. You sustain our faith and the traditions of the Church. You are the foundation rock of our Church in Shanghai.”

      On September 8, 1955, the press around the world reported in shock the overnight arrest of Bishop Kung along with more than 200 priests and Church leaders in Shanghai. Months after his arrest, he was taken out to a mob “struggle session” in the old Dog Racing stadium in Shanghai. Thousands were ordered to attend and to hear the Bishop’s public confession of his “crimes.” With his hands tied behind his back, wearing a Chinese pyjama suit, the 5-foot tall bishop was pushed forward to the microphone to confess. To the shock of the security police, they heard a righteous loud cry of “Long live Christ the King, Long live the Pope” from the Bishop. The crowd responded immediately, “Long live Christ the King, Long live Bishop Kung”. Bishop Kung was quickly dragged away to the police car and disappeared from the world until he was brought to trial in 1960. Bishop Kung was sentenced to life imprisonment.

      The night before he was brought to trial, the Chief Prosecutor asked once again for his cooperation to lead the independent church movement and to establish the Chinese Patriotic Association. His answer was: “I am a Catholic Bishop. If I denounce the Holy Father, not only would I not be a Bishop, I would not even be a Catholic. You can cut off my head, but you can never take away my duties.”

      Compare the Catholic mind and soul of Cardinal Kung (and Cardinal Zen) to the (insert adjective) thinking of Papa Francis and you come up with the following phrase…. no comparison.

      August 17, 2016 at 12:24 am
    • Josephine


      That’s truly shocking about what Paul VI did to Cardinal Mindszenty. I think most of us has been asleep during all this turmoil in the Church. Vatican II has a lot to answer for, as do all those involved in it at the time, and pushing it now. God forgive them.

      August 18, 2016 at 9:01 pm
  • Athanasius


    Yes, Cardinal Kung was a very brave prelate of the Church, a martyr for the truth. I think it safe to say he will now be enjoying the eternal blissful reward for his fidelity. We just don’t see those kinds of Churchmen any more. As Archbishop Lefebvre once wrote: “Once they sacrificed their lives for the truth. Now they sacrifice the truth”.

    August 17, 2016 at 12:46 am
    • editor


      I remember that in the London Times obituary, they revealed that when Bishop Kung was taken to the stadium, he was told that he didn’t even have to say that he renounced papal authority, he just had to nod his head when questioned. That’s when he said “If I denounce the Holy Father… I would not only be a Catholic” etc.

      He is, as you say, a very brave prelate and a martyr for the truth. The London Times obituary, by the way, was absolutely amazing, given that it was, er, the London Times!

      August 17, 2016 at 11:15 am
  • Laura

    One Peter Five is also covering this. There is a short comment that hits home: “Pope Judas”. How very sad.

    August 17, 2016 at 11:10 am
    • editor


      Will study the One Peter Five article later – I’m sure it will be very good. Right now, things to do, people to see, appointments to keep!

      August 17, 2016 at 11:17 am
  • Frankier

    I visited Knock three or four years ago and was privileged to attend a Mass concelebrated by Cardinal Zen who was in Ireland for the Eucharistic Congress being held in Dublin.

    I didn’t know who he was at the time and read up on him when I got home. The reason he attracted my attention was because he kept rocking back and forth all during Mass.
    I suppose it must be from some sort of reaction to his sufferings.

    I was impressed by the fact that he was the only member of the Church Hierarchy to have taken the opportunity to visit Knock while in Ireland.

    I was sorry to have missed the chance to receive Holy Communion from him as he was accompanied by the ” extraordinaries” from whom I refuse to receive.

    August 17, 2016 at 2:01 pm
    • Athanasius


      It’s a great pity Cardinal Zen did not take the opportunity to dismiss those “extraordinaries” as a public example of his disapproval of the abuse they represent. That would have been an act braver than any he had hitherto performed under Communist persecution; to stand against the episcopal enemies within by upholding Church teaching on the Blessed Sacrament – who should handle it and how it should be received. I would like to think he was at least interiorly disturbed by the abuse he was witnessing. At least the Communists don’t claim to have the faith when they treat Our Lord with contempt.

      August 17, 2016 at 5:50 pm
  • RCA Victor

    I just checked “not surprised” on the home page poll. I did that because I’m still reading Malachi Martin’s The Jesuits, and discovering that Jorge Bergolgio is really just a throwback to the Liberation Theology apostasy in Latin America that started (or became visible) in the 1960s. In other words, he is an anachronism, a disciple of a failed ideology (hardly a theology) that is just a reformulation of Marxism. Marxism adapted to Catholic minds.

    And just like those apostate Jesuits (“apostate Jesuits” – now there’s a redundancy) in Latin America, Bergoglio has cast his lot with the Communists – which is only natural, since he is a Marxist. Clearly, in his diseased mind, capitalism is the only evil to be fought on this earth, and communism is the best weapon for that purpose.

    I daresay that by the time Pope Francis is through making his “mess,” the entire Church will be down in the catacombs – fleeing from HIM!

    August 17, 2016 at 3:03 pm
    • Laura

      I daresay that by the time Pope Francis is through making his “mess,” the entire Church will be down in the catacombs – fleeing from HIM!

      LOL! Sadly, very true, but you have to see the funny side sometimes!

      August 19, 2016 at 1:49 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    That would be terrible if Pope Francis lets the Chinese government choose bishops. It’s unbelievable!

    If only we had a Cardinal Kung alive today. That would be wonderful!

    August 18, 2016 at 1:08 pm
  • Josephine

    It beggars belief that any pope would betray Catholics into the hands of Communists. Sheer madness.

    I remember reading about Cardinal Kung – a real saint. I was thinking the same about Cardinal Zen until I thought about the matter of him accepting the Extraordinary Ministers. What a pity.

    August 18, 2016 at 8:59 pm
  • spudeater

    I won’t be surprised if within a couple of years of the end of this pontificate (allow me to bask in that thought for a couple of seconds…) a Vatican insider reveals to an intrepid investigative reporter that every week without fail, probably on a Monday morning, Pope Francis would convene with his cabal of closest confidantes and address them as follows: “OK, hombres! Is this one of those weeks where we undermine another tenet of the Catholic Faith or is it a week for demoralising/insulting/ abandoning one of those groups within the Church who take this religion business a bit too seriously?” Week commencing 15th August 2016 will prove to be firmly in the latter category.

    I’d even say that the seemingly endless stream of dispiriting, modernist teaching and actions emanating from the See of Peter, of which this is a particularly disturbing example, is worse than Chinese water torture.

    August 18, 2016 at 9:08 pm
    • Laura


      It is really very dispiriting to suffer “the seemingly endless stream of dispiriting, modernist teaching and actions emanating from the See of Peter”. I really could not agree more. It’s very depressing, actually.

      I keep wondering how long it is likely to last, this pontificate. The Pope has said he would consider resigning and though I’m against that in principle, I’m afraid I would like him to resign, asap.

      Somehow, though, I think he likes the limelight and won’t do it. I also hope and pray that he won’t betray the Chinese Catholics. That would be absolutely incomprehensible – even by his standards.

      August 19, 2016 at 1:52 pm
      • RCA Victor


        Paul VI did the same thing, and Francis is Paul VI to the nth degree…(see Athanasius’ leadoff post).

        August 19, 2016 at 2:17 pm
      • Laura

        RCA Victor,

        I saw that but forgot it when posting my comment about Francis. I am stunned, to think I thought Paul VI was a good pope at the time. Talk about “useful idiot”. I was one myself , praising him to the skies – LOL!

        August 19, 2016 at 4:09 pm
      • RCA Victor


        I wasn’t even in the Church then, but if I had been I probably would have gone right along with the revolution, and thought the same about Paul VI!

        August 19, 2016 at 10:38 pm
  • Michaela

    That would be a shocking dereliction of duty if Pope Francis allows the Government in China to appoint Bishops. What a slap in the face to all those persecuted for the faith by the Chinese Communists for years now.

    August 19, 2016 at 10:31 pm

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