Sunday, March 4, 2018

Perspective: Pope plays nice with China's puppeteers | The Lowell Sun Editorial


According to Vatican observers, Francis believes his conciliatory action to the Chinese government will relieve pressure on the country's Catholics and bring new liberties to those who practice the faith.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | Int'l Desk
Source/Credit: The Lowell Sun
By Editorial | March 4, 2018

Pope Francis has shown he is willing to break new ground -- and embrace new allies -- as the vicar of the Roman Catholic Church.

He's withstood sharp criticism for cultivating relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, which has close ties to the Kremlin, while successfully ending a 1,000-year schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. He's also received rebukes from persecuted Middle Eastern Christians for reaching out to Muslims and defending Islam as a peaceful religion. In both instances, the pope has gained positive worldwide publicity and elevated his prowess as a realistic, inspirational diplomat -- someone willing to make tradeoffs in order to improve Catholic Church relations with other faiths.

But has Francis gone too far with his recent bow to Communist China?

Some say he's sold out the Catholic Church to the Communists.

In trying to re-set ties with Beijing's Communist government -- and gain more liberty for the Underground Catholic Church -- Francis recently agreed to replace two Chinese bishops loyal to Rome with appointees from President Xi Jinping's regime. In all, the pope is lifting the excommunications of seven Communist-appointed prelates and giving them control of their dioceses.

The pope's decision that has brought cries of betrayal from the estimated 12 million Chinese Catholics, who've been harassed and imprisoned in the past for defying the government's tight hold on religious practice.
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The bishops approved by the Beijing-backed Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association are accused of toeing the Communist party line. In fact, they've often supported a Catholic Church free of Vatican influence.

Why let these fraudulent bishops in the fold?

According to Vatican observers, Francis believes his conciliatory action to the Chinese government will relieve pressure on the country's Catholics and bring new liberties to those who practice the faith.

Also, Francis believes it is important that the government recognize the pope as the one and only leader of the Catholic Church -- which the Chinese leadership acknowledges in the new agreement.

The pontiff obviously believes he can trust Jinping's bureaucratic acolytes. We respectfully disagree. This regime has gained seven new spies in the church pews. Why would parishioners -- in fear of the Communist regime -- break bread with them?

Also, Francis leaves the fate of 30 Catholic bishops in limbo. These are Vatican-appointed prelates whom the Chinese government has failed to recognize and thus aren't allowed to lead a diocese.

The Holy See has its work cut out for it with this "breakthrough" alliance with China. Pope Francis is a remarkable, patient man with great powers of persuasion. But in dealing with this atheist regime whose forte is intimidation and muscle, Francis might need a miracle.



Read original post here: Perspective: Pope plays nice with China's puppeteers | The Lowell Sun Editorial


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