…not really, but look at the China-Vatican deal this way:
For the last five hundred years the Catholic Church in England was subjected to persecution. After the tyranny of King Henry VIII and his wicked daughter Elizabeth, the churches and monasteries were stripped of their wealth, Catholics were fined, imprisoned, tortured and killed. The true church was driven underground and the faithful Catholics endured terrible hardships. For four hundred years they were not permitted to build churches, educate their children in the faith or hold public office.
In the meantime, the English regime set up its own “Patriotic National Church” called “The Church of England. The monarch became the head of the church and in every way the bishops and clergy aped Catholicism. Their liturgy seemed Catholic, they claimed the apostolic succession and posed in Catholic spirituality. All the power of the English establishment was behind them. Their bishops sat in the House of Lords. Their top schools, colleges and universities were dominated by the national patriotic Catholic church called “The Church of England.”
After four hundred years the true Catholic Church was gradually and grudgingly permitted. Catholics came out from hiding. They were permitted to build schools, churches and monasteries again. They were granted the freedom to have their own hierarchy, dioceses and Catholic parochial system, but it was clear that they were still second class citizens. The heir to the throne could not marry a Catholic or be a Catholic. The English aristocracy still looked down their noses at Catholics as “foreigners”. The persecution was mild, but it was still real, and the Church of England–the national, patriotic Church of the English was still the dominant, wealthy and powerful church in the land.
But under Pope Francis a new concordat was established. The artificial bishops of the English National Patriotic Church were embraced and welcomed into the Catholic Church. Their excommunications were lifted. The Archbishop of Canterbury was recognized as the true leader of the Catholic Church in England. Catholic bishops were forced to accept the bishops from the English National Patriotic Church, and all dissent from the deal cut between the Vatican and the English authorities was suppressed. The underground Catholic Church would eventually be absorbed into the National Patriotic Church of England. New bishops would be appointed by the English monarch and rubber stamped by the Vatican. The alternative Catholic Church in England would be united with the National Patriotic Church of England.
Has this happened?
No, but for “England” read “China” and you will see how the Vatican has sold out to the Chinese regime.
Is the comparison between China and England stretched? Not at all. If you listen to my church history podcast Characters of the Reformation you will understand how the revolution under King Henry VIII and Elizabeth I was every bit as destructive and vicious as the cultural revolution in China under the communists. The English Catholics-like the Chinese Catholics suffered terrible deprivations and persecutions.
The Vatican’s treaty with the Chinese is a shameful slap in the face to true, faithful Catholics. It says to them, your martyrs died in vain. Your sufferings were a waste of time.
If you want to read about the details of the deal go here.
In the 1990’s they wrote slanderous books about Pope Pius XII calling him “Hitler’s Pope”.
Will Francis go down in history as “Mao’s Pope?”
Father – What’s happening in China is worse than your theoretical English example in one important way. King Henry VIII and his successors (as well as the Anglican bishops) were by and large believing Christians, even if they were corrupt. While Henry was (by the end of his life especially) a vile man, he was always noted for his presumably sincere piety. The Chinese communists are not like this at all. They are officially atheists. They have no faith in Jesus Christ. I do not know how much this applies to the Chinese bishops, but in order to be a member of the communist party you have to be an avowed atheist. Once upon a time Christians were eaten alive by lions for refusing to burn even a pinch of incense to Cesar. Now we have bishops who are official atheists. Ignatius of Antioch pray for us!
Unless there is something in the agreement that has not been made public, I agree with Mr. Dziedzic that if the new bishops are members in good standing in the Chinese communist party they by definition have to be atheists. Query – How does one have an atheist Catholic bishop?
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Ah, but let us not forget that rulers who chose Bishops often get more than they bargained for, isn’t that true of Becket, Romero and the case of Queen Victoria – Cardinal Newman? Amazing all of you who have such great concern about the situation in China but turn a Blind Eye to Vietnam, how is it you call yourselves Catholics but worry more about what John McCain said before his death about our friends and allies in Vietnam than what the Church in Vietnam is suffering though. You do know there are Vietnamese in Prison today simply because they are Catholics don’t you? Maybe it’s because the subject of Vietnamese Communists persecuting Catholics is never brought up on the House floor, Republicans or Democrats 1st, Americans 2nd, Catholics a distant 3rd and only when it’s convenient. Joe Biden, Marco Rubio and how many other Politicians?