Chinese snub

Chinese snub

Last week, Pope Benedict took the unprecedented step of inviting four mainland Chinese bishops to the Eucharist Synod next month, including one bishop of the underground Church.

Predictably, Beijing says, “No they can’t go.”

The Communist government requires Christians to worship only in state-controlled associations, including the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which eschews any connections to the Vatican or the Pope. Many Catholics worship in illegal, underground churches, following only bishops appointed by the Pope, although the divisions are not hard and fast. Many priests and laypeople, and even bishops, are members of the patriotic association in public, and of the underground Church, in secret.

The Communist toadies of the patriotic association claimed that the invitation “show no respect” to them. Actually, the Chinese bishops initially welcomed the invitations, but after getting a phone call from their overlords in Beijing, they quickly changed their tune, saying that because the Vatican still has official ties to Taiwan… The usual stuff.

The Pope probably knew what would happen to his invitation even as he made it, although I’m sure he hoped for a different outcome. Nevertheless, it showed that the Church in China is one of this Pontiff’s top priorities, most especially securing their freedom to worship without fear or oppression.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Now if Bishop Fellay could get the Chinese Communist government to approve Pius X “schismatics,” they could avoid all those incremental steps the Vatican has laid down for them before they can be received back into the good graces of Rome.

  • Orthodox, my thoughts were the same. The communist Bishops seem a rung or two above the SSPX Bishops.

    Not sure what to make of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the claims that they are infiltrated by the real “underground” church. Or is it the other way around? Are they are being coaxed along by communist sympathizers in the Curia? 

    The message here seems to be: better a little Red book in your breast pocket than a 1961 missal.

  • Perhaps an American corporation seeking to curry favor with the Chinese overlords can “tag” the underground bishops for some subversive activity as Yahoo recently did to a Chinese citizen.

    This invitation by the Vatican is a positive sign that they are not about to throw the underground Church under the bus.