Vatican Accused of ‘Selling Out’ China’s Catholics
A delegation from the Vatican recently asked Bishop Peter Zhuang Jianjian and Bishop Joseph Guo Xijin to step down and make way for two new bishops approved by the Communist Party of China. Pope Francis hopes that by giving China a role in choosing its Catholic bishops, he will be able to restore relations that ended 69 years ago when the country officially became an atheist state.
“Diplomatic ties between the Vatican and Beijing were severed after the Communist Party took power in China in 1949,” reports the New York Times. “Today, about half of the estimated 10 to 12 million Catholics in China worship in underground churches that refuse to recognize government control over the faith. The other half worship in government-managed churches run mostly by clergy members appointed by Beijing.”
Many of the Catholics who worship in secret churches feel betrayed by the Vatican’s move. Communist leaders have imprisoned, tortured and killed thousands of “underground” Chinese Catholics. Now the Vatican is ordering underground bishops, like Zhuang Jianjian and Guo Xijin, to resign and submit to bishops approved by Xi Jinping’s Communist dictatorship.
Ironically, the bishop being brought in to replace Zhuang Jianjian was excommunicated in 2011 after he was consecrated by the Chinese government without papal approval. Now the Vatican has not only reversed Joseph Huang Bingzhang’s excommunication, but has also forced Zhuang Jianjian into early retirement so Huang Bingzhang can have his job. This shows how much relations have improved between the Vatican and China’s Communist government—at the expense of Chinese Catholics.
“So, do I think that the Vatican is selling out the Catholic Church in China?” Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen asked in a January 29 letter addressed to Friends in the Media. “Yes, definitely, if they go in the direction which is obvious from all what they are doing in recent years and months. … Some expert on the Catholic Church in China is saying that it is not logical to suppose a harsher religious policy from Xi Jinping. However, we are not talking about logical thinking, but the obvious and crude reality.”
The Vatican issued a statement condemning Zen’s letter as “surprising and regrettable.” But China’s Communist regime is already cracking down on religious liberty. It has said that after February 1, the Chinese government will no longer tolerate “underground” non state-sanctioned mass attendance. All Catholics will be expected to attend mass only in churches sanctioned by the government-established Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
This means millions may be persecuted for their religious beliefs by a Communist government that Pope Francis is actively courting.
“You cannot go into negotiations with the mentality ‘we want to sign an agreement at any cost,’ then you are surrendering yourself, you are betraying yourself, you are betraying Jesus Christ,” Zen lamented in a November 2016 interview with the Guardian. “If you cannot get a good deal, an acceptable deal, then the Vatican should walk away and maybe try again later. Could the church negotiate with Hitler? Could it negotiate with Stalin? No.”
Cardinal Zen seems to be a sincere man with the best interests of China’s Catholics at heart, but it also seems he doesn’t know the history of his church as well as he should. The Roman Catholic Church actually did negotiate with Adolf Hitler and with some of the Soviet successors of Joseph Stalin.
In his book Adolf Hitler, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian John Toland describes the Concordat the Vatican signed with Hitler’s German Reich on July 20, 1933, writing, “The church agreed to keep priest and religion out of politics while Hitler, among other things, granted complete freedom to confessional schools throughout the country, a notable victory for German Catholics. His holiness welcomed Hitler’s representative, Franz von Papen, most graciously and remarked how pleased he was that the German government now had at its head a man uncompromisingly opposed to communism and Russian nihilism in all its forms.”
Hitler had been Germany’s führer for only a few months when the Concordat was signed, but he had made public his scorn for Jews and his ambition for conquering Europe. Still, the Vatican endorsed his dictatorship.
“The Vatican was so appreciative of being recognized as a full partner that it asked God to bless the Reich,” Toland continues. “On a more practical level, it ordered German bishops to swear allegiance to the National Socialist regime. The new oath concluded with these significant words: ‘In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and interest of the German Reich, I will endeavor to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it.’”
Some historians think the Nazi Party would never have come to power without the aid of the Vatican and Germany’s Catholic Center Party. As British political economist Rodney Atkinson wrote to the late Trumpet writer Ron Fraser in 2013, “Imperial politics rather than the religion of the Roman Catholic Church have been its critical characteristic.”
Even many Catholics do not grasp that Vatican City is more than the headquarters of a religion; it is a nation-state participating in political machinations involving empires.
Before World War i, the Vatican’s geopolitical partner was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But after the Habsburg dynasty lost its political power, Pope Pius xi negotiated treaties with fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in a bid to halt the spread of communism into Europe.
After the Axis powers were defeated in World War ii, Pope Pius xii struck an alliance with the United States Central Intelligence Agency to smuggle 30,000 Nazi war criminals to locations where they could continue laying the foundation for a European superstate.
Once it became apparent that the U.S. might not win the Cold War, Pope John xxiii and his successor Pope Paul vi abandoned the Vatican alliance with the cia in pursuit of a policy of peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union. By allowing proletariat priests to replace traditionalist Catholic notions of “Christ the king” with a new image of “Christ the worker,” these popes sought to create a Communist-friendly version of Catholicism.
Pope John Paul ii renewed the Vatican alliance with the U.S. during the 1980s when he saw that the Soviet Union was ready to collapse. After the ussr fell apart, John Paul ii and his successor, Benedict xvi, dedicated their papacies to creating a European superstate powerful enough to return Catholicism to the global influence it exerted in the Middle Ages.
The current pope is continuing his predecessors’ push for imperial power. He is ditching the underground Catholic Church in China in a bid for a deal with China’s government.
The Bible reveals that the end-time pope will forge some sort of agreement, or concordat, with a power in Europe. Revelation 17 describes a church that will have power over a political-military union of 10 nations, described in symbolic terminology as a “beast.”
“In the 17th chapter of Revelation we find a beast, and a woman—a great, wealthy but fallen woman—who was riding the beast,” wrote Herbert W. Armstrong in Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? “The Bible describes the symbol ‘woman’ to mean a church (see 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7; Ephesians 5:22-27). On the other hand, ‘beast’ is a symbol of a kingdom, or empire. Let us be consistent. The beast of Revelation 13 is not the woman who rode the beast—the beast is the government, and the woman is a church.”
Later in his booklet, Mr. Armstrong explained that this particular beast is the Roman Empire and that the Bible prophesied that it would be resurrected 10 times.
“The seventh head with its 10 horns, in the 17th chapter, will be, as the 17th chapter explains, the revival of the beast, the Roman Empire, ‘out of the bottomless pit’ by a ‘United States of Europe,’ or federation of 10 European nations centered within the bounds of the old Roman Empire (Revelation 17:12-18). This is actually beginning today!” he wrote.
Anyone concerned about the type of deals the pope is making with totalitarian dictatorships around the world needs to read Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?