- Mar 29, 2020
Pope Francis is in constant contact with Vatican officials dealing with issues surrounding China, and it is “surprising” that others in the Church are stating the contrary, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Vatican press office.
A recent suggestion by Cardinal Joseph Zen that the Vatican risks “selling out” the Church in China by placating Beijing’s desire for government-approved bishops raises the question of why the Vatican seems so eager for a deal with China in the first place.
Former Hong Kong bishop Cardinal Joseph Zen is warning that an alleged Vatican request to underground bishops to resign in favor of bishops belonging to the state-run Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association would “be giving the blessing on the new strengthened schismatic Church.”
Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou has been released by Chinese authorities after being detained for more than seven months.
Although the mainstream press loves to posit a fundamental difference between Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, this week the case for continuity between the two pontiffs also got a boost in two different quarters. The bottom line, actually, is probably that Benedict and Francis are alike in some ways and different in others, and a review of papal history would suggest it’s pretty much always been thus.
While the Chinese government technically recognizes Catholicism as one of five religions in the country, it does not recognize many Church leaders appointed by the Vatican, driving many among the Catholic Church leadership and laity underground. Since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, he has sought to tighten the government’s control over religious organizations.