The Chinese government is suddenly developing cold feet about the proposed agreement between China and the Vatican which is odd considering what a sell out the agreement is to the Communist government. Cardinal Zen, an 86 year old dynamo and a fierce critic of the agreement, in a recent interview gave his thoughts:
“Some are saying maybe now there are difficulties on the Chinese side, because there are people who think that they don’t need the agreement, they can control everything. Maybe there are voices in China against the eventual agreement,” said Zen.
“You see that there are many actions on the side of the government which show that they are tightening control on religion. And so it’s more difficult to understand how the Vatican can come to a deal at this moment, because obviously they are seen as collaborating with the government.”
For instance, new regulations on religious affairs were installed on February 1, under which minors are banned from entering places of worship.
“There is no reason for optimism,” said Zen. “Any agreement on the side of the Vatican may be seen as collaboration with the government to persecute our own people; that’s terrible.”
The cardinal said China’s recent amendments to the constitution, such as the removal of the presidential term limit, may also have influenced how the Vatican looked at the issue.
“Surely they should take into account also these new things – which are not encouraging any agreement. I really hope that a miracle may happen, the Pope may say we need more time to be more cautious, to consider again,” he said. “No deal is better than a bad deal. I really cannot understand how people can say bad deal is better than no deal, I don’t think it’s correct.”
Zen stressed his loyalty to the Pope. Zen travelled to Rome in January to personally give the Pope a letter from the 88-year-old persecuted Chinese Bishop Peter Zhuang Jianjian of Shantou.
Zhuang, a priest loyal to the Vatican but not recognised by China, was one of two bishops asked by the Vatican to step aside for priests excommunicated by the Vatican but accepted by Beijing.
“I told him everything. I wrote so many letters,” Zen said. “My last letter was very clear, I have the impression that the Pope now is aware of the worries in the church in China, so I don’t think I need to see him again or say more things.”
“Maybe now there are some other things which may make the Holy Father more aware that he is not receiving good information from people around him.”
Zen has been in a war of words with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who he said was considering the potential deal like a diplomat, but not from religious standpoints.
“I can understand that Pope Francis may not be well informed about the real situation in the church in China, because he comes from South America,” Zen said. “But these people like Parolin, they must know very well the situation, so I really cannot understand how are they so enthusiastic to push for a deal, so they may have a wrong objective.”
“Because from the point of view of Catholic faith, they are not going to achieve anything. Maybe they are more interested in diplomatic success. That’s very sad, because they are the collaborators of the Pope, the faith should be the first thing in their mind.”
“It’s very scary. These people – they should understand a lot of things, why do they do this? They are not naive, they are evil.”
Go here to read the rest. Part of PopeWatch, a part of which PopeWatch is not proud, could understand this sell out of Chinese Catholics if it fit into some vast Machiavellian plan to achieve some cherished goal of the powers that be at the Vatican. PopeWatch does not see this. The underground Chinese Catholic Church has proven itself quite resilient in the face of persecution, even while the Communist dynasty of China is clearly unable long term to deal with the problems of an increasingly capitalist economy governed by a Communist oligarchy. The Vatican is selling out both the Chinese Catholics and common sense simultaneously. The men behind this deal may be evil as Cardinal Zen says, they most certainly are inept bunglers.