- Mar 29, 2020
In a long interview with La Civilta Cattolica, the Jesuit journal reviewed at the Vatican prior to publication, Jesuit Father Joseph Shih pleaded with outsiders to stop describing Catholicism in China as consisting of two churches, one that accepts government control and the other that doesn’t and so exists clandestinely.
A process to normalize the appointment of bishops in China, so they are confirmed by both the Vatican and the ruling Communist Party’s Catholic bodies not affiliated with the Vatican, has been at the center of negotiations for three years.
Yu Zhengsheng, one of China’s top party leaders in charge of religion gave a speech in which he made it clear that the Catholic Church in China has to prioritize being Chinese. Due to events involving some Chinese Catholic bishops, relations between China and the Vatican have cooled.
German ambassador Michael Clauss asked the Chinese government to release a Catholic bishop who has been held in confinement since his appointment last year. The incident marks yet another example of existing tensions between the Vatican and China when it comes to appointing bishops.
A vacancy left by a Chinese bishop who died without having his Vatican-appointed successor officially ordained, shows the complications of the arm-wrestle between the Vatican and the government in China when it comes to nominating bishops.
Tensions rise between the Holy See and leading Chinese Catholic authorities. One of seven members of China’s top decision-making body recently told Chinese Catholics that they need to operate “independently” of outside forces and promote socialism and patriotism through religion.