Pope makes iniquitous deal with Xitler – Michael Sainsbury

Pope blesses Chinese pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, Vatican.

Michael SainsburyPope Francis’ position on China is that the Vatican is urging Chinese clerics to join … a unique sect of the Church under the ever-watchful eye of the CCP. … A sect where portraits of Chinese leaders like Mao Zedong—one of history’s greatest mass murderers—and Xi Jinping, the creator of the 21st century’s first gulags, are hung in houses of worship. – Michael Sainsbury

The resignation of Chinese Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin is the last thing the Vatican needs as it races to stitch up an extension of its controversial deal with the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under growing international pressure.

While the initial September 2018 deal, still secret but concerning the appointment of bishops, slipped largely under the radar outside Catholic Church and China-watching circles, its extension has garnered far more attention.

That is because of the growing pushback against China’s human rights abuses and expansionist plans, largely due to the decision of the Donald Trump administration in the US to take a stand against Beijing.

Along with mounting evidence of China’s insidious interference in democratic countries’ politics and other institutions, this has emboldened other nations to take a stand against Beijing.

The Vatican’s decision to continue its plans to draw closer to China and the ruling CCP has put it very much on the wrong side of history.

The extent of the growing international opprobrium toward China for its horrific human rights abuses in Xinjiang, where it runs self-styled “re-education camps,” was laid bare last week when 39 countries made a statement to the United Nations demanding China cease its persecution of minorities, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet. It also demanded that China halt its authoritarian incursion into Hong Kong.

“There are severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and the freedoms of movement, association and expression as well as on Uyghur culture,” the statement said. “Widespread surveillance disproportionately continues to target Uyghurs and other minorities and more reports are emerging of forced labor and forced birth control including sterilization.”

In Xinjiang, physical and sexual abuse, torture and industrial-grade religious persecution have been intimately documented by journalists, researchers and rights groups in recent years as the CCP stepped up its disgusting program of cultural genocide and inhumanity. All ignored by the Vatican.

Xinjiang is, of course, the large tip of the Chinese human rights abuse iceberg which extends to Tibet and other minorities and counts ever-increasing religious persecution, including against Catholics, among its terrors. All ignored by the Vatican.

The treatment of Bishop Guo, a lifelong loyal servant of the Catholic Church, has reflected the church of old—top-down management from Rome that appears to disregard the wishes of regular followers.

Pope Francis rails against the power of capitalism and its faithful government adherents and corporations. Yet as the chief executive of his own corporation and absolute monarch of his state, he makes deals such as the one with Beijing that is sidelining millions of the regular people he claims to protect. In the process he has given his moral authority a massive self-inflicted wound.

One of the key underlying justifications of the Vatican-China deal was that it would increase the Church’s opportunities for evangelism, yet it is now clear that the opposite is occurring.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has stated time and again that the deal is purely pastoral and not political. Yet the simple fact is that with the CCP controlling every aspect of life in China, everything in the country is by definition political. Rome has ceded what small control it has over Catholic China—the appointment of bishops to the underground church—to Beijing.

The Vatican’s problem—and it is as hidden at the moment due to the opaqueness of all things in mainland China—is the significant section of the so-called underground church that remains defiant to Rome’s wishes for it to put aside decades of persecution and bow down to the CCP-led Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

Bishop Guo’s resignation only serves to underscore the deep divisions in the Chinese Church, one that cannot be repaired by the Vatican’s secret deal. In fact, as Bishop Guo’s move makes clear, the deal is exacerbating the divide between the state-run and underground churches.

And what of the faithful who have been worshiping under Bishop Guo?

As the Vatican-China deal’s biggest critic, Cardinal Joseph Zen said last week: “Bishop Guo Xijin of Mindong, who leads the non-official community with many more members than that of his contender, obeyed the Vatican by giving up his position to the excommunicated one and becoming his auxiliary. But everyone has seen how they made his life impossible, so all he could do is to resign (news in these days).”

And what now of the other bishops, 20-30 in number, who have yet to submit to Beijing’s chilly embrace?

Cardinal Zen asked: “Is the Church in China finally united? Rapprochement between the two church communities? The normalization of church life, just because the pope gives his blessing to this miserable situation, to this victory of the enemy?”

The exquisite irony of Pope Francis’ position on China is that the Vatican is urging Chinese clerics to join what is clearly a unique sect of the Church under the ever-watchful eye of the CCP. It is a sect where bishops live in opulent houses with de-facto wives and children, all under the blessing of Rome.

A sect where minors cannot go to church, where fealty to the CCP must be given by its clerics over any other loyalty, including to Rome. A sect where portraits of Chinese leaders like Mao Zedong—one of history’s greatest mass murderers—and Xi Jinping, the creator of the 21st century’s first gulags, are hung in houses of worship.

“Is it good to have all bishops legitimate but in a church that is objectively schismatic? Is it progress? What kind of journey is it beginning?” Cardinal Zen asks.

There has been talk among ecclesial experts of the emergence of a “Chinese rite” as a way to salvage the situation as the Latin rite clearly no long applies to China’s official church.

This looks like a sensible way to go but there is one problem: it’s hard to see that the CCP would take that solution or, even if it did, allow the Latin rite to continue in the country. Either way Rome loses again.

And there is the rub. For all its grasping assurances that this deal leaves the Pope in charge of the appointment of bishops, it does not. Beijing is now in charge of the Chinese Church and the Vatican has been reduced from a quiet opponent of the Chinese regime to its enabler.

And for what? – UCA News, 12 October 2020

Michael Sainsbury is a freelance journalist based in Myanmar, with more than 25 years experience writing about business, religion, politics, and human rights across the Asia Pacific.

Cross removal in China


3 Responses

  1. Lightning strikes St. Peter's dome in the Vatican.

    Vatican putting two priests on trial accused of sexual abuse of altar boys – AP – The Hindu – Rome – October 13, 2020

    The trial, confirmed Monday, by the Holy See press office, marks the first known time that the Vatican has criminally prosecuted a case of sexual abuse that allegedly occurred within its walls

    Two priests are going on trial in the Vatican’s criminal tribunal this week, one accused of sexually abusing an altar boy who served at papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica, and the other accused of covering it up.

    The trial, confirmed Monday by the Holy See press office, marks the first known time that the Vatican has criminally prosecuted a case of sexual abuse that allegedly occurred within its walls.

    The proceedings starting Thursday were forced on the Holy See after victims and a whistleblower went public in 2017. Their stories undermined Pope Francis’ pledges of zero tolerance for abuse because the alleged crimes occurred in his own backyard and had gone unpunished for years.

    The case concerns the closed world of the St. Pius X youth seminary, a palazzo inside the Vatican walls just across the street from where Francis lives. The seminary serves as a residence for about a dozen boys, aged 12 to 18, who serve as altar boys at papal Masses.

    A onetime seminarian, the Rev. Gabriele Martinelli, is accused of molesting a younger seminarian when he himself was a senior altar boy at St. Pius X. The Rev. Enrico Radice was the rector of the seminary at the time, and is accused of aiding and abetting the crime.

    Neither Martinelli nor Radice has responded publicly to the accusations. The order that runs the seminary, the Opera Don Folchi, has said the allegations were mud and calumny,” though the diocese of Como where both men are now priests has removed them from ministry with minors pending an outcome of the case.

    The scandal is particularly grave because the allegations of abuse were known since at least 2012 but were covered up for years by the Vatican and the diocese of Como, until they were exposed by Italian journalists Gaetano Pecoraro and Gianluigi Nuzzi in 2017.

    They relied on the eyewitness testimony of the victim’s roommate, Kamil Jarzembowski, who was kicked out of the seminary after first reporting the abuse privately to church authorities in 2012.

    Jarzembowski has said he saw his roommate repeatedly molested by Martinelli at night when Martinelli would enter their dorm room. He has said the molestation began when both were minors and continued after Martinelli turned 18.

    Speaking Monday to The Associated Press, Jarzembowski said he was hopeful justice would finally be served.

    “I hope it’s a just trial, in front of impartial judges,” he said. I want to go into the tribunal and look them in the eye.” Jarzembowski has been called as a witness for the prosecution.

    Usually if it investigates sexual abuse at all, the Catholic Church prosecutes accused priests according to the canon law, the church’s in-house legal system that can impose a maximum penalty of defrocking.

    In this case, because the alleged crimes occurred within the confines of Vatican City, the city state’s criminal prosecutors also have jurisdiction and decided to charge the two priests and bring the case to trial.

    The first hearing Thursday is expected to be largely technical in nature. The Vatican is allowing a small pool of two reporters to attend, limiting the number because of COVID-19 restrictions.

    The diocese of Como, which ordained Martinelli a priest after initially clearing him of the allegations, now insists that it restricted his ministry after new elements emerged in 2017. The diocese says it was committed to finding the truth even recognizing possible delays or omissions committed in the past.”

    A series of bishops, including Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, said they investigated the allegations, but no one ever interviewed Jarzembowski’s roommate.

    The case is emblematic of the inherent conflicts of interest in the canon law system and the church’s refusal to require abuse be reported to impartial police. Bishops are tasked with investigating allegations of abuse, but they also invest time and money for training the accused priests and need them to fill Mass schedules and perform pastoral work.

    > Three more altar boys say they were abused by priests in the Vatican


  2. Rape in India

    Priest held for alleged sexual assault on woman in Kerala – HT Correspondent – Hindustan Times – Thiruvananthapuram – Oct 13, 2020

    The Kerala police on Tuesday arrested a Christian priest for allegedly sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman in Idukki on Monday.

    Police said the priest Reji Palakkadan, also an Ayurveda practitioner, was held following a complaint filed by the woman’s parents.

    Palakkadan was running an Ayurveda clinic in Adimali as part of the church and the woman had visited the facility for treatment on Monday, police said. In their complaint, the parents said their daughter was assaulted by the priest in the name of treatment. The accused also threatened her not to reveal the incident to anyone. But she later narrated her plight to her parents who then filed a complaint with the police.

    Circle Inspector Anil George said the accused was booked under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (assault or criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty).

    “The accused priest was known as a doctor in the area. We will also examine his educational qualifications and other details. He will be produced in the court later in the day” George said.

    The church is yet to react to the incident.


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