From US News and World Report:
Pope Francis has earned a reputation as a man of the people, making his mission to advocate for the poor, the downtrodden and the persecuted, particularly those of Christian faith. The Vatican’s reported deal with China, to effectively abdicate the power of the pope to select bishops to the communist state, has therefore been met with feelings of shock and even betrayal among the faithful, especially those in China itself.
The new deal, which has been in the works for more than a year, isn’t merely one of symbolic importance. Despite stringent restrictions on religious expression – and frequent crackdowns on those deemed to have stepped outside the lines drawn by the government – China is home to an estimated 70 million or so Christians, including about 12 million Catholics.
The agreement follows almost seven decades of estranged relations between the Vatican and Beijing, which severed diplomatic ties shortly after the Communists took over in 1949. China established the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association in 1957 to permit some religious activity, albeit strictly controlled by the government, including the appointment of state-approved bishops.
Most of these bishops were excommunicated by the Catholic Church for collaborating with the regime. However, a sizeable “underground” church loyal to the pope has flourished despite constant threats of imprisonment or other punishments by the Communist government.
It is against this backdrop that the new agreement has emerged. Though some details have yet to be disclosed, it would call for two of the Church’s legitimately recognized bishops (and members of the underground church) to step aside, and for the pope to sanction seven currently excommunicated bishops appointed by the Chinese government. Going forward, the state would be authorized to nominate bishops, though the pope would reportedly have veto power over their ordination.
It is easy to see, then, why so many of the faithful in China who have risked so much to remain loyal to the Church now feel betrayed. Hong Kong’s outspoken Cardinal Joseph Zen claimed that the Vatican is “selling out” Catholics in China. “A church enslaved by the government is no real Catholic Church,” Zen asserted at a news conference.
A group of leading Catholic university professors, researchers, human rights activists and lawyers, mostly from Hong Kong, has published an open letter to Catholic bishops around the world imploring them to pressure the Holy See to reconsider the proposal.
Go here to read the rest. There is only one word that fits this betrayal of our Catholic brothers and sisters in China: shameful.