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Why Is the Vatican Still Negotiating
with Red China?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
September 11, 2017

One of the keynotes of Father Gruner’s assessment of the crisis in the Church from the Fatima perspective was his exposure and condemnation of the disastrous post-Vatican II policy of Ostpolitik (the politics of the East), according to which the Vatican, acting through its Secretary of State, would conciliate and compromise with communist dictatorships, reversing the Church’s condemnation of communism and her staunch opposition to the tyranny of communist regimes oppressing the Church.

Even during the Second Vatican Council, that emerging policy resulted in the Council’s infamous failure to condemn or even mention the evils of Soviet communism in the very document which, ludicrously enough, called for “scrutinizing the signs of the times.” In return for this act of betrayal, which Jean Madiran rightly described as “ecclesiastical treason,” the Kremlin agreed to permit two Russian Orthodox bishops, puppets of the Soviet state, to attend the Council as John XXIII had so ardently desired.

Father Gruner never ceased to condemn the error of Ostpolitik because he could see that the policy had persisted and is still in operation today. Thus, the Vatican Secretariat of State continues its absurd negotiations with Beijing over how to share control over the Church with a communist government.

In his column on this endless farce, Sandro Magister notes that the Vatican’s own publishing house has engaged in what appears to be an effort to give the appearance of regularity to the bishops consecrated without papal mandate and installed as puppets of Beijing in its pseudo-Church, the Catholic Patriotic Association. The Vatican has published the biographies of these schismatic prelates in the same book as the biographies of “75 bishops in China who have died between 2004 and today, all of them crushed by years or decades of imprisonment, forced labor, reeducation camps, house arrest, policemen constantly tagging along.”

The idea behind this book, apparently, is to convey the impression that the puppet bishops and the persecuted bishops of the true Catholic Church in China, which is still forced to operate underground, are on equal footing. They are all just Catholic bishops, you see, although some have been treated badly by the government. Yet the Vatican’s own publicity stunt has made it clear, to quote Magister, that “[i]f this is the treatment that the communist regime inflicts on the Chinese bishops in the field, it is clear that all of this must cease before the Vatican could agree to sign an accord with the Beijing authorities on the appointment of future bishops.”

Magister itemizes some of the more recent examples of Beijing’s brutality toward the true Catholic bishops of China:

  • “John Gao Kexian of the diocese of Yantai, who was learned to have passed away after all traces of him had been lost following his abduction by the police in 1999.
  • “John Han Dingxiang of the diocese of Yongnian, imprisoned for twenty years, released but then again disappeared in 2006, whose death was communicated to his relatives after he had been cremated and buried in an unrevealed location.
  • “John Yang Shudao of the diocese of Fuzhou, who died after spending twenty-six years in prison and the rest ‘almost always under house arrest and strict surveillance.’”
  • “Joseph Fan Zhingliang, who died in 2014 after ‘always having exercised his ministry underground,’ and his successor Thaddeus Ma Daqin, under arrest since 2012 for having resigned from the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association – in obedience to Rome [before Francis], which judges membership in it as ‘incompatible’ with the Catholic faith – and not set free since then in spite of his retraction of the resignation last year.
  • “the abduction and detention in an undisclosed location of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of the diocese of Wenzhou, whose release the German embassy in China and then the Holy See itself publicly requested last June 26, without receiving any response.”

Yet, despite the evident futility of negotiating for the freedom of the Church with godless tyrants, “negotiation is underway between the two sides, with meetings every three months alternating between Rome and Beijing,” writes Magister. And this despite the fact that, as he notes, “the Chinese episcopal conference, which would be responsible for selecting the candidates [for bishop], is currently made up only of the bishops officially recognized by Beijing, without the thirty or so ‘underground’ bishops who instead are recognized only by Rome; and there is no way to convince the Chinese authorities to include these as well.” Moreover, of the “seven ‘official’ bishops who the regime claims have also been recognized by the Holy See… three have been publicly excommunicated and a couple have lovers and children.”

“In the face of all this,” Magister concludes, “the optimism that Pope Francis shows every time he touches on the question of China can be explained only as an exercise of Realpolitik [i.e. Ostpolitik] pushed to the extreme.” Proving once again that Father Gruner’s diagnosis of the evil of Ostpolitik was not alarmism, but rather a sober assessment of the reality of our situation, which has only worsened under this pontificate.

Only Russia’s consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can bring an end to the insanity of negotiating God’s rights with God’s enemies.