PopeWatch: A Tale of Two Communist States

In the mythology of the Left, the Vatican is the seat of reactionary forces.  The reality is quite different, with the Vatican since Vatican II usually following a policy of appeasement towards Communist regimes, with John Paul II being, usually, the major exception.  Sandro Magister looks at this policy in relation to China and Vietnam:

During the same span of late August twin news stories came out concerning relations between the Holy See and two crucial states of southeast Asia, China and Vietnam.

In China there was on August 26 the first episcopal ordination made on the basis of the accord stipulated with Beijing on September 22 2018: that of Anthony Yao Shun, ordinary of the diocese of Ji Ning, in Inner Mongolia.

And on August 28 this was followed by a second ordination: that of Stephen Xu Hongwei, bishop of Hanzhong, in the region of Shaanxi.

Curiously, the Holy See did not release the official news of their ordinations, limiting itself to confirming – in two statements from the director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni – that both the one and the other took place with the “papal mandate.”

Both of the new bishops had been elected to this role, last April, by assemblies of priests, religious, and laymen of the respective dioceses, all of them selected by the Chinese authorities, brought together at a hotel and instructed on whom to vote for.

And in both cases it was the Chinese pseudo episcopal conference, made up only of bishops officially recognized by the government, that presented the new bishops to Rome, which accepted them. The precise terms of the accord between the two sides are still secret, but it is abundantly clear that this is how it works.

With Vietnam instead there took place in Rome, on August 21 and 22, one of the periodic working meetings between the delegations from the two sides. In the final statement it was envisioned that “in the near future” a permanent residence could be established in Vietnam for the “pontifical representative” to this country, who currently resides in Singapore.

As for the life of the Vietnamese Catholic Church, with its approximately 8 million faithful out of a population that is close to 100 million, the statement limited itself to reporting the positions of the two sides, without mentioning the heavy limitations on religious liberty.


The resemblances between China and Vietnam, in their relations with the Church of Rome, are very strong. Among other things, they are the only two countries in the world in which the appointment of Catholic bishops takes place on the basis of secret accords, stipulated in recent years, that assign to the state authorities a preponderant influence in the selection of candidates.

In Vietnam episcopal appointments take place “according to a procedure agreed verbally with the government,” whose “realization is based on honor, on good faith, and on respect for the giving of one’s word, and cannot be defended legally,” as Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin declared at a conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University last February 28.

Parolin is the diplomat who in 1996, when he was undersecretary of the Holy See for relations with states, was the main author of the aforementioned “verbal” accord on the appointment of bishops.

Since then, it has been up to the Vietnamese authorities to select every new bishop from among three candidates proposed by the Holy See. And it not rarely happens that none of the three satisfies them, with the result of delaying the appointment for years and leaving the diocese vacant.

In China the Holy See is at an even bigger disadvantage, because the initial selection of the candidate is up to the Chinese authorities, with the pope getting a second shot at accepting or rejecting him, in this case putting off the appointment to a new candidate in the future who will be more acceptable to him.

Both accords therefore inevitably pave the way for the taking of office by bishops submissive to the respective regimes, each of them dominated by communist parties ideologically opposed to religious freedom.

In justification of this double capitulation of the Holy See it is maintained that this is the price for securing the Churches more breathing room in a hostile context.

In China, however, it does not at all turn out that things have improved, for the Catholic Church and for the other faiths, after the stipulation of the September 22 2018 accord.

In that same year of 2018 there went into effect a new set of “Regulations on religious affairs” that escalated even more the repression of the freedom to profess a faith, with effects that forced the Vatican authorities themselves to issue a prudent, public reaction, in a document of last June 28:

> China Violates the Accord. A Bishop Rebels

And in Vietnam it is the same. There too the atmosphere is anything but “conducive for the activities and development of the Catholic community,” as however the Vietnamese delegation went to great lengths to say at the recent meeting in Rome, according to what is written in the final statement.

Go here to read the rest.  Pope Francis in this area is carrying on a traditional bad policy, although he is carrying the appeasement farther than his predecessors, with his tolerance for odious regimes that can somehow be described as Leftists.  A typical Peronist, Pope Francis will appease any group he finds useful to achieve his goals, and that does not include groups that can be in any way considered traditionalist, either in religion or in politics.


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One Comment

  1. Looks like Heinrich IV won the Investiturstreit after all.

    (nb: He did. Until it was politically convenient to Bismarck that he lost it after all.)

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