You Shouldn’t Say that Benedict
Agrees with the China Accord
TIA responds:J F.,
You probably are referring to an article in which Vatican Secretary of State Card. Pietro Parolin defends the renewal of the 2018 Vatican Accord with Communist China, which gives the right to choose bishops to the State for the government controled Chinese Patriotic Association (CPA) and abandons the Underground Church loyal to Rome. The renewal was announced on October 22, 2020, and Card. Parolin defended the action by affirming the approval of Benedict XVI.
We should initially clarify that no one really knows what is in this Accord signed two years ago, since the details have never been published. We have seen neither text nor signatures of Vatican or Communist officials. The same happened with regard to the announced renewal of that Accord: The text of the document was kept secret.
With this general absence of documents and signature, why should anyone ask for the signature of Benedict giving his approval? It makes no sense: if it existed, it would be kept secret.
What we know - the results of the Accord
What we all know with certainty are the results of the 2018 Accord, which have been so disastrous for the Underground Church in China. These consequences have been exposed in articles posted on the TIA website on a regular basis for some years and report the following:
- The agreement recognized all the illegitimate CPA bishops appointed by the government, including some who are married with children, and asked for the resignation of several Underground Church bishops; (here and here)
- An increased persecution of the Underground Church: Daily its Bishops and priests were arrested to receive indoctrination to join the CPA; (here and here)
- Surveillence cameras were installed in all religious buildings, crucifixes and statues were replaced by the national flag, shrines and churches were destroyed, access to Mass forbidden to minors. (here, here,
here and here)
- Even the Scriptures were "rewritten," changed in various passages to favor the communist ideology and agenda. For example, in Chap. 8 of John, an adulterous woman is brought before Christ, who disperses the crowd and tells the woman "Go and sin no more." In China's new communist version, Christ disperses the crowd but He tells the woman the law of the State must be obeyed - and He proceeds to stone the woman.
After criticizing the Vatican-China Accord, Pompeo met Parolin in Rome on October 1, 2020
In fact, the persecution of Catholics has increased so much that even US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently made objections to its renewal. Pompeo urged Francis, as head of the Catholic Church, NOT to sign the renewal and to join the US in denouncing China's crackdown on religious and ethnics minorities, principally Catholics among them.
Now, if Pompeo can see and address the problem, why can't Benedict XVI? Yet these last two years he has not made the least protest in face of the increasing persecution of the Underground Church made by the tyrannical Chinese government. Qui tacet consentire videtur (who remains silent consents) seems to apply here.
Stubborn pro-Benedict conservatives & traditionalists
Card. Parolin, stung by the entrance of the US Secretary of State into the fray, set about defending the indefensible Vatican-China Accord at a conference on "Another China: Time of Crisis, Time of Change" in Milan.
Parolin in Milan defending the Accord
In fact, Parolin rightly pointed out something TIA has been saying (here and here) for years: that all the Popes since Pius XII have been pursuing the path of dialogue with Communist China. It is difficult for me to understand why Catholics refuse to see these compromises that have been made for years favoring Communist China and ignoring the Underground Church.
It is very credible that Benedict XVI approves the Accord since he was the Pope who released the disastrous Letter to the Chinese Catholics in 2002 (here, here and here). With that Letter, the die was cast for the Underground Church to disappear, since Benedict revoked the privilege of the Underground Church to have new bishops independent of the government.
Without this privilege the Underground Bishops are simply doomed to die out with time. For the first time, also, Benedict publicly told Underground Catholics they should consider the "two" churches as one church, and assist if necessary at Masses in the CPA churches. The Letter included a plea for the Underground Church to register with the civil government and asked its priests to concelebrate at CPA Masses.
Always in accord
So then, regarding the claim of Benedict's acquiescence to the Accord, we have two facts:
- The signature of Benedict on his
Letter to the Church in China, proof that Benedict was the one who prepared the path for the Vatican-China deal arranged by Francis;
- His silence in face of Card. Parolin's claim of support. It would be a simple matter for the Pope Emeritus to express his disagreement - something he did not fear to do in a recent biography co-signed with Card. Sarah that suggested he had contradictory positions with the present Pope on priestly celibacy.
But no protest from Benedict XVI has been forthcoming about the China Accord since the first signing two years ago. As with all the actions and heresies of Francis, Benedict is silent. The only official comments he makes are ones of complete support for the actions of Francis.
We hope that these commentaries answer your objection.
TIA correspondence desk
Posted November 10 2020