Rome, Oct. 14 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican no longer needs to appoint bishops to serve the "underground" Catholic Church in China, because the "official" Church is moving toward full union with Rome, according to the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica.
Articles published in Civilta Cattolica are approved in advance by the Vatican Secretariat of State. Thus an article that will appear in the October 15 issue of the magazine, by Father Hans Waldenfels, presumably reflects the thinking of top Vatican officials.
Read the complete article No more need for an "underground" Chinese Church? from Catholic World News. Note, a subscription is required to read the entire article.
The piece cited in the CWN article lists a lot of examples of a detente between the Catholic Church and the CPA. But let's be clear on this, even if the Secretariat of State doesn't necessarily want to be clear.
The People's Republic of China is a post-communist oligarchy. Its technocrat elite may be willing to make nice with the Vatican for the moment if that means the dropping of recognition from Taiwan, but if the Catholic Church enters the elite's sights as a threat to the Party, I see no reason for them to not crack down.
The majority of Chinese are not Christians. They've not batted an eye about Tibet. They've not batted an eye about Falun Gong. They sure haven't up to this point been protesting in the streets over the presecution of Christians. The students of 1989 are long gone and today's students and middle class are more concerned with getting ahead in the middle class than with political dissent.
There have been a lot of reports lately about protests growing more frequent over issues such as government corruption and democracy. The Holy See is hitching itself to the wrong side of Chinese society.
Since the election of Pope Benedict, it has been noted that John Paul II was the anti-communist Pope and that his time had come and gone. John Paul's enemy was not communism, but tyranny. What would he say about all these comments coming from the Holy See about melding the state organ of a tyrannical government with the 'Roman' Catholic Church in China?