The Vatican’s deal with China

George Weigel asks at National Review:

Did Pope Francis Just Make China Protestant?

Attempts to defend the recent provisional agreement between the Vatican and the People’s Republic of China, which was signed on September 22, have rung increasingly hollow over the past few days.

That pattern began before the ink was dry in Beijing, as Pope Francis’s secretary of state, Pietro Parolin, issued a statement claiming that now “for the first time all the bishops in China are in communion with the Bishop of Rome, with the Successor of Peter.” Really? Weren’t “all the bishops in China” in full communion with the pope before the Chinese Communists set up their front church, the Patriotic Catholic Association? Parolin also tried to justify the provisional agreement on the grounds that Pope Francis, like his immediate predecessors, “looks with particular care to the Chinese people” — a claim that, translated from Vaticanese, suggests that John Paul II and Benedict XVI would have made the same deal Francis and Parolin reportedly did. But that deal was available to John Paul II and Benedict XVI and they didn’t make it, because they knew that giving first rights of nomination over Chinese bishops to the Chinese state or the Chinese Communist Party was both a violation of the Church’s own canon law and a prescription for a puppet episcopate. More.

Reality check: A friend sent this to me, asking for my thoughts as a Catholic. Here are a couple:

Popes have been worse. If one of these guys were pope today, whistleblower Vigano might just mysteriously disappear. He is, apparently, in hiding and very nervous, but the reality is that, today, his very notoriety protects him.

Second, historically, help arises from unexpected quarters. Consider Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), a devout small-town girl from western Italy who became a significant reformer during her short life. As Pope Benedict recounts:

When the fame of her holiness spread, she became the protagonist of an intense activity of spiritual guidance for people from every walk of life: nobles and politicians, artists and ordinary people, consecrated men and women and religious, including Pope Gregory XI who was living at Avignon in that period and whom she energetically and effectively urged to return to Rome.

She travelled widely to press for the internal reform of the Church and to foster peace among the States.

In other words, she ended the scandal of the Pope living elsewhere than Rome in order to keep in good with the nobility. That would be somewhat like ending the scandal of protection of sexual lifestyles not in keeping with Catholic teaching. And remember, she was nobody.

So I plan to just wait and see what happens next.

See also: Catholic? Care much? Here are items I found helpful re the sex abuse crisis

More documents I found helpful in the Catholic sex abuse crisis Snippets, really, answering questions I had.


The question I, as a Catholic, have most dreaded