The Vatican’s negotiations with China have not just done little to empower Catholics in the country, but actively imperiled Catholic clergy. The Vatican must do all within its power to save those victims of its mistakes.
For over five years, the Vatican and Chinese Communist Party negotiated back and forth to hammer out an agreement about the appointment and validity of Catholic Bishops in Communist China. Since 1957, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) created and imposed a faux Catholic Patriotic Church with its own seminaries, priests, churches and bishops chosen by the party. Today, Chinese Catholics are divided between this two-tiered system: the underground Church, faithful to the Vatican and Magisterium, and the Patriotic Church of the CCP. Pope Francis’ Vatican waded into this political and religious maelstrom. Francis was way over his head.
It is painfully obvious that the give and take resulted in more, rather than less, religious persecution for Catholics and Christians in China. The Vatican gave everything away and got nothing in return; the Communists Chinese took everything and gave nothing. They not only secured apostolic power from the Holy See – they finagled papal silence over the dastardly deeds of the CCP. No wonder the details of the pact are still kept secret!
Nowhere is this clearer than in the cases of two religious prisoners, Catholics taken away for challenging the fraudulent CCP Catholic “church.”
Bishops Su Zhimin and Cui Tai are imprisoned for upholding the Catholic faith. For this, the Vatican ignores them. Incredibly, the Vatican urges all underground Catholic priests to join the Patriotic Church, a tool of the brutal and atheistic communist party. In filings with the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Religious Freedom, Save the Persecuted Christians Coalition demanded the return of these two faithful Catholic Bishops who are in unlawful custody and detention by the CCP.
Bishop Su Zhimin has been missing since his illegal arrest and detention by the CCP on October 7, 1996. Here is the link to the story of his religious persecution at the hands of the Chinese Communists. Bishop Augustine Cui Tai of Xuanhua in Hebei Province disappeared in February 2018 and is believed to be in government custody. At the time of his disappearance, the bishop was staying at his sister’s house when government forces arrested him. Bishop Cui Tai is in deteriorating health and should be released immediately.
Since 1993, Bishop Cui Tai has been repeatedly subjected to detention, house arrest, or sent to labor camps by the authorities for preaching or holding “illegal religious assemblies.” His crime, like that of Bishop Su Zhimin, is that he refuses to join the Communist founded Patriotic Catholic Church.
The U.N. and the Vatican should demand the release of 88-year-old Bishop James Su Zhimin of Baoding from the Chinese Communist Party.
Why hasn’t the Vatican secured their release? Why didn’t the Vatican demand their release during its five-year negotiations with the CCP as a sign of good faith on the part of the Chinese?
It has been seven long years since the Francis Vatican undertook negotiations with China over the religious freedom of Chinese Catholic bishops. In June 2013, Francis tapped and dispatched his close friend and notorious serial child sexual predator, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to initiate discussions with the Chinese communist government. McCarrick enjoyed close friendships with high-level Communist officials. The choice of McCarrick as negotiator tainted and corrupted this pact from the very beginning.
Jorge Bergoglio was desperate to land a deal with the Chinese. A deal, any deal, would elevate Bergoglio’s global position with the powerful CCP. A deal with the Chinese would be the pinnacle of his pontificate.
Naturally, the Chinese smelled blood.
As a result of those dealings, faithful priests of the Underground Catholic Church, who refuses to join the Patriotic Church is now terrorized by the CCP, chased out of his parish, harassed, arrested, detained and/or imprisoned.
The Vatican failed miserably at the art of the deal. The cost of that failure is paid by countless religious freedom prisoners languishing in Chinese prisons and labor camps.
Elizabeth Yore is an international child rights attorney and member of the Save the Persecuted Christians coalition.