民主選舉主教?

關於中梵談判的內容,被蒙在鼓裡的我們祇能提心吊膽地在新聞裡找一點綫索。前一陣得知任命主教由地上主教團,也就是由政府提名。本人在上篇文章裡提出了一些理由,證明那是不能接受的。

最近又有新聞說新主教是由神職人員選出來的。如果這屬實的話,看起來教廷準備接受現在地上教會的做法,把它合法化,也就是先有選舉,選舉的結果由主教團通過。不過將來的做法比目下所行的民主選舉會好一些,因為至今所行的民主選舉不祇有神職人員,也有修女、教友參與,也不知道照什麼比例。那末將來把選舉的權限於神職人員,使選舉這辦法可以接受了嗎?

讓我們逐步來分析:

(一)首先在國內能有真選舉嗎?人們不是說國內選舉的特點是所有選舉的結果都預先知道的嗎?政府已控制教會的運作,操縱選舉絕不是什麼難題。

(二)全球天主教裡由選舉提名主教的做法已絕無僅有,而是某教區「紅衣神父」傳下來的特權,他們在教區內是德高望重的一群。

(三)如果採用選舉方法,問題會多不勝數:選舉者和被選者的年齡、資格,監票人,什麼多數選出、怎麼解決僵局……都需要詳細準確規定。

(四)但更大的問題是:選舉就是把任命主教的事限制在一個教區裡。有些教區祇有五、六個神父;有些教區先天不足,不易找出稱職的人選;在別的教區裡卻可能有很多、更稱職的人選。如果由教廷提名那末全國的人選可以全國公用。事實上就算在意大利,每個教區都有不少出色的神父,仍然有南方的神職人員去北方做主教,北方的去南方做主教,是慣常發生的事。

(五) 中國人特別緊張「面子」。如果教廷經諮詢而任命主教,大家都容易接受從上而來的安排。但如果有選舉,那末神父兄弟之間就會有分派,落選的人會感到失面,會介意「原來兄弟們看得起他,看不起我」。一位本來熱心工作的神父,會從此退避三舍,變為消極份子。

(六)講到國內選舉主教的實況,我還需要答覆最近提出的一些意見(見「天主教在綫」網上2016-11-01「在數十年的疏遠後,中梵考慮任命主教立場協議」,那篇文章的評論,第十一樓2016-11-02)

慣看「天主教在綫」的網友都知道是怎麼樣的一個人,他不是「我們的」人,但他神通廣大,資料豐富,這次逼得我不能不來講穿他那似是而非的評論。

他大概說的是:「如果梵蒂岡讓國內地上教會用選舉方法來提命主教看來是讓步,其實是它在大贏,因為事實上政府會授意選舉團,選出教宗早已秘密認可的主教人選,根本是假選舉。」

我首先要同意的是:政府多次這樣做了,原因是政府也不敢過分侵犯地上神職和教友的愛教感,如果教宗批准的候選人也是政府可以接受的,政府就接受了。

另一方面教廷也會主動遷就政府,不一定任命自己心目中的最佳人選,而主動任命政府心目中喜歡的,但教廷也以為稱職的人選。

這是在沒有協議下的彼此妥協,任何一邊也不便承認作了這樣的讓步。但這做法絕不保險,政府並「不常常」這樣做,所以還是有非法的祝聖發生。

現在討論的是簽署協議,白紙黑字。不是你腦裡以為的,而是紙上寫成的才有效。那末前面說的「不常常」很容易變成「幾乎常常不」。當政府堅持按協議真正安排選舉它的候選人,而教廷以為並不稱職,教廷要面對「堅持否決」的尷尬處境,甚至政府會責怪教廷沒有誠意而擅自進行非法祝聖。教廷敢堅持到底嗎?

不要讓騙了。現在是中共政府有時用假選舉來作出妥協;簽了協議後他就可以名正言順地真正用選舉的方法,推進他操縱的假選舉,信友們也會因為這是教廷給了政府的權,「安心」去順從了。

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再談談中梵關係

上期公教報(第3789期)介紹了我的一篇文章。我對教廷國務卿在八月底發表的一些言論作了一些反應。我以為他對於中梵對話的結果看得過分樂觀。這幾年來中國政府的宗教政策並不給我們理由樂觀。

國內政府認可的教會團體離開天主教的教理和紀律已很遠,要回到正道實不容易。政府已十足控制了教會,他們不需要向教廷讓步,他們繼續對話無非是想教廷作出更多讓步。

時隔一個月,帕羅林樞機在與聖座駐各地外交人員聚會時又提及中梵談判的情況。按意大利時事評論員山德羅 •馬吉斯特(Sandro Magister)在 Chiesa(教會)新聞網的報導,帕羅林樞機說:「教廷會同意主教候選人由內地主教團推薦。」這使我非常擔心。

內地的所謂主教團毫無實權,一切會議皆由政府官員召開、主持。記得我在西安修院任教時,知道李篤安主教是主教團副主席之一,問他下次幾時開會。他笑着說:「陳神父,你以為我們有會開的嗎?所謂開會也無非是政府官員來施發命令。」

直至今天還是政府赤祼祼地在辦教。他們也不覺得需要掩飾事實。最近王作安局長清晰地說:「我們的是中國天主教,不是在中國的天主教」。「一會一團」的會議由他主持(有相為證),兩位主席,一左一右,低頭聽他訓話。

所以說「主教候選人由主教團推薦」也就是說「主教候選人由政府推薦」。

現有主教團的主教就算全體合法化也還是完全受政府領導的一群。政府如接納地下的主教參與那主教團,也等於要他們放棄他們僅有的些少自由而進入這虛假的主教團,徹底接受政府的管制。

怎麼可以把主教候選人的提名權交在一個無神政府的手裡?他們怎麼有資格審定誰適合任天主子民的牧者?「任命主教」這樣開始絕對錯誤,就算說最後由教宗決定也無濟於事。況且教宗會陷於無限次必須否決提名的尷尬處境。倒不如由教宗提名,讓政府否決,至少每次被否決後還是由教宗另作提名。

我多次指出目下教廷外交部的一個大問題是他們還沉醉在一個幻想裡,以為已故國務卿卡薩羅尼(Casaroli)樞機的「東方政策」,在處理共產權下的東歐天主教事務上作了奇跡,其實非然。教廷對那專制政權的讓步並沒有幫到教會,反使教會沉淪。

這位山大先生文中也介紹九月初出版的一本,輯錄教宗本篤訪問稿的書。其中榮休教宗本篤說:『縱然卡薩羅尼樞機充滿善意推進「東方政策」,但那政策是失敗的。教宗若望保祿二世親身體驗過那些政權(納粹政權和共產政權)他採取了不同的政策。當然那時無人能知道那政權會這麼快倒下來,但顯然教會怎麼也不該妥協、讓步,而該堅持對抗到底。這是若望保祿二世的看法,我完全同意。』希望我們的外交官員慎重三思。

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從哪裡啟程?(向教廷國務卿請教)

日理萬機的教廷國務卿,帕羅林樞機還奔波南北,最近在意大利東北的波代諾內(Pordenone)教區作了一場重要的講話。波代諾內是剛恆毅樞機(Cardinal Celso Costantini)的故鄉,剛樞機是首任教廷駐華代表,而演講內容正關於已故剛樞機為中梵初次建交舖路的努力。最後帕羅林用了不少篇幅談論到最近中梵對話的意義和目的,引起全球華人的關注和期望。之前教廷國務卿在接受意大利天主教報紙Avvenire訪問時,也報告了有關聖座與中國改善關係的進展。

我這老人家看了那兩份報告當然也有些所謂「心郁郁」,可惜我未能肯定那樂觀的前景,心裡有一大堆疑問,不如坦誠地向尊敬的國務卿請教。

(A)

帕羅林樞機說:今天中梵關係的問題,和七十年前剛恆毅樞機面對的問題並非完全不同。本人對這看法不敢苟同,照我了解,分別實在太大了。

七十年前,西方列強的政治勢力,強恃他們的「護教權」,利用傳教士來推進他們的殖民企圖,阻止教廷和中國當局直接建立關係。剛恆毅的使命是奮力擺脫那勢力,讓樂意和教廷直接建交的中國政府早日能如願以償。

今天教廷所面對的問題卻是:怎樣能和一個無神且專制的政府達成一個可以接受的協議,保證大陸教徒能享有宗教自由。中國政府這幾十年來一貫的政策是,控制(他們用的詞是「領導」)所有宗教,尤其是與外國有隸屬關係的基督宗教(事實和言論的鐵證實在太多,不難查證)。

(B)

如果A點的陳述沒有錯,那末我們當然欣賞剛恆毅(樞機)擇善固執地執行了他艱辛的使命,成功把中國教民送回到慈母教會懷中;但對今天教廷的外交官員,我們祇能表示同情,他們的使命可以說是一個絕望的使命。

教廷有什麼根據以為中國政府會簽署一個協議保證宗教自由?他們已幾十年牢牢地擁有了話事權,現在為什麼要交回給教廷?難道中國政府「改觀」了嗎?難道我們可以相信對話的對方也如我們一樣有誠意?「一樣追求聖善、正義等普世價值」嗎?

有人悲觀,有人樂觀,無可厚非,但負責任的人該在事實基礎上建立樂觀或悲觀。

(C)

帕羅林樞機請我們信賴,但上主並無保證現在已是天晴的時候,「時間屬於祂(天主)!」

帕羅林樞機承認處理教會的事該抱住戰戰競競的心態;但我們見到的似乎是一種過份的樂觀,他們興高采烈,正以為自己在寫出創歷史的一頁(當然不是「為了什麼世俗的成就」而是為對世界和平有所貢獻!)

我們說「小心呀」。他們說「小信德的人!為什麼常從壞處評估他人?」

帕羅林樞機說教宗知道(近來中梵改善關係的路上)「已有了什麼」。可惜我們對那些進步一無所知。我們見到的是:為了避免破壞與中共對話的機會,教廷面對違反教規的事視若不見。現在情形已病入膏肓,沒有一個奇跡不知怎麼能復原。我們當然相信奇跡是可能的,但我們不能試探天主。

(D)

帕羅林樞機比喻改善中梵關係為一個旅程。好吧。那末在啟程時當然先該清楚我們在哪裡,我們的起點是哪裡!

我們能否先同意:「究竟我們的起點是哪裡?我們想解決的是什麼問題?真正的問題是什麼?」

主要問題並不是(兩個團體之間的)。我幾乎是第一個行出來大聲說:國內並沒有兩個天主教,地上地下的信徒在心裡都和教宗共融。分裂是政府造出來的,政府不認地下的為天主教,而那些不論為了什麼原因接受了他控制的,就要全面受它控制,成為奴隷。可惜也有人(教宗本篤稱之為投機主義者)甘做奴才,誠心和政府合作。

修和不是大問題。心靈已共融了。在這基礎上也容易合一了。上海馬主教四年前聲明放棄愛國會內的職位,地下團體就向他應承服從。當然今天對馬主教的那篇所謂悔改書,如果沒有任何澄清,地下的團體當然不能聽教廷的催使到地上去支持他。

肯定好教友也是好公民,也已不是什麼大問題。我們從來看不到兩者之間有什麼矛盾。相反,現在是共產黨全權審判誰愛國誰不愛國。更可笑的,他們也自作判官,決定誰有資格稱為天主教徒、天主教司鐸或主教。難道讓政府插手我們教會的事,我們就更愛國了嗎?

讓我再問:真正的問題在哪裡?我以為問題是「怎樣把我們的教會從政府的控制中解放出來」。沒有真正的自由,我們怎能全面生活出與教宗的共融(也就是帕羅林樞機所說的「以積極的方式活出信仰生活」)。

中國政府準備承認這樣的宗教自由嗎?

(E)

真正的現實主義是認識並承認事實,否則現實主義(健康或否),或中國政府發言人所說的「靈活、務實的態度」,無非是妥協、投降、負賣自己的尊嚴。

事實可能是很殘酷的,但我們要坦誠面對,知道我們現在站在哪裡,才能開始向目的前進。

帕羅林樞機說教宗要我們……拒絕「要麼這樣做,要麼什麼也不做」的邏輯。這句話可圈可點。「要麼這樣做,要麼什麼也不做」當然聽來很消極且霸王。如果「什麼也不做」等於拒絕對話,當然不對。但為了避免「什麼也不做」我們準備「什麼也做」,看來也不對吧!我們不能拒絕對話,但不能為了對話成功「什麼也做」。對話該有底綫的,為了對話「有成果」違反信仰原則,是不可以接受的。教宗本篤2007年信上說「與合法的政權持續衝突並不能解決現存的問題(所以應該努力對話)。但同時,當政府不恰當地干涉教會的信仰和教律時,我們也不能就此屈從(越過底綫而妥協,絕不是解決問題,而是負賣自己)。忠於信仰底綫義不容辭,否則殉道者豈不全是儍瓜?

讓我們毫不掩飾地答下列兩個問題。

在地上團體有主教團嗎?沒有。政府以一會一團的名義領導教會。

地上的是裂教嗎?。教宗們不願這樣稱呼它,因為很多信徒是被逼身處其中的。

地上教會成員(很多不自願地)生活在一個獨立自辦的、「本質上」與普世教會分裂的狀態。

一切的努力該解決這個問題!整個旅程從這裡開始!

還要記得聖德蘭修女說的:「天主不要求我們成功,但要求我們忠信!」

聖母贖虜瞻禮

 

English Version:

Where does the journey start from?

Italian Version:

Da dove stiamo partendo?

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Where does the journey start from?

We must admire the zeal of his Eminence Card. Parolin, the Secretary of State of His Holiness. He is not only working hard in the Vatican Palaces, but goes around to let his voice be heard. In his high level dissertation in Pordenone (Italy) he talked about the wonderful contribution of Card. Costantini to the Church in China and made many revealing comments on the present negotiations between the Holy See and the Chinese Government. I suppose everybody would expect me to be most interested in the subject (I noticed also some recent reflections that Card. Parolin expressed on “Avvenire”, the official daily newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference).

I am sorry I could not follow the joyous wave of optimism, instead I have a few questions and doubts, which I try to expose here with due respect to His Eminence, believing also that other readers of the dissertation may nurture the same doubts.

A.

Card. Parolin says that the problems (of our present day) are not totally dissimilar from those which Card. Costantini helped overcome 70 years ago.

That sounds strange to me. In my humble understanding, they are toto coelo different.

At the time of Card. Costantini the problem was how to get rid of the “missionary imperialists” (imperialist politicians of Western Powers, posing as the only legitimate protectors of the Church and of the missionaries) who tried to prevent the Holy See from establishing direct relations with the Chinese Government which would have been very happy to have them.

Today, the problem faced by the Holy See is how to reach an acceptable agreement with an atheistic and totalitarian Government, determined to pursue their unchanged policy of subjugating (the word they use is “guiding”) all the religions, especially Christianity.

I do not think it is necessary to list all the facts and the many, even most recent, pronouncements from the Chinese Government. They are of public dominion and of easy consultation.

B.

If what I have said in part A is valid, then, while we show our admiration for the indomitable Card. Costantini in carrying out successfully his difficult mission of bringing the Chinese faithful into the protecting bosom of Mother Church, today we have to sympathize with our officials in the Vatican diplomacy, because what they have to face is a “mission impossible” (or almost impossible).

How can we reasonably hope that the Chinese Government would consent to an agreement which would guarantee a real religious freedom? This would mean that they are willing to give back to the Church the authority which they are exercising since so many decades? This would mean to suppose that the Chinese Government has changed radically their ideology. This would also mean that we believe our counterpart has the same good will as we have, that they pursue also the truth, the good, and all the universal values as we do.

One has the right to choose between optimism and pessimism, but a responsible judgment must be based on facts.

C.

– Card. Parolin encourages us to trust in Divine Providence. But God does not guarantee us that the turmoil may be soon over. Time is in God’s hands.

– Card. Parolin recognizes the need of proceeding “in fear and trembling”, but what we see is an exaggerated optimism. They seem to be happily sure that they are writing unprecedented pages of history (mind you, “not out of desire to reach who knows what worldly success”, but to contribute to world peace).

We have raised the voice of caution, but we are been deemed guilty of lack of trust, of judging badly other people.

– Card. Parolin says that the Pope knows “what progress has been made” (in recent years?). It is unfortunate that we are not given to see those progresses. What we see is that, to please the Chinese Government, the Holy See has closed her eyes in the face of so many abuses, abdicating her authority. Now we are reaching the bottom of the pit, from which it will be difficult to climb up again. It may take a miracle. We believe in miracles, but we should not tempt God.

D.

We are told that we are on a journey towards a goal. Then it is important to know first of all FROM WHERE THE JOURNEY IS STARTING OFF.

CAN WE REACH AN AGREEMENT ON “WHERE IS THE REAL PROBLEM TODAY”?

– There is too much talk of reconciliation (between the two communities of the Church in China). I was among the first to say that there are no two Churches in China, because, both in the underground and above ground, there is a common desire to be in union with the Successor of Peter. The division into two communities is created by the Government. The latter, on the one hand, refuses to recognize as Catholic those who profess obedience to the Holy Father in matters of faith and discipline; on the other hand, it holds ever more tightly its pressure on those who, for whatever reason, have accepted to be subject like slaves; with a few of them, the opportunists, becoming their collaborators.

The problem is not about reconciliation. When Bishop Ma of Shanghai declared his loyalty to the Holy Father, the underground community went immediately to promise him their obedience. (But now, before the mystery of his “self-confession” is clarified, how can the Holy See push the underground to come out to support him?)

– In the same way, there is no problem in being both Catholic and Chinese. We never had any doubt that we are authentically both Catholic and Chinese. It is the Chinese Communist Party that wants to have the monopoly in judging who is and who is not a Chinese patriot (just as, even more ridiculously, they hold themselves judges of who is a Catholic or a priest or a bishop!)

Are we going to be more Chinese if we allow the Communist Party to run our Church?

I repeat: CAN WE AGREE ON WHERE IS THE REAL PROBLEM?

Don’t you see that the problem is how to free the above-ground community from the slavery? This means to ask the Government to release them. Without real freedom, how can there be a life of full communion with the Pope (“To live out in a positive way their belonging to the Church” in the words of Cardinal Parolin)?

Are the Chinese Communists ready for that?

E.

The genuine realism is to know and to acknowledge the reality, otherwise realism (healthy or otherwise) or what the Communists call “pragmatism and flexibility” would only be euphemisms for compromise, surrender, and self-betrayal.

The reality may be cruel, but we have to face it squarely. We must see clearly where we are now, before we can start walking towards where we must be.

Card. Parolin says: the Pope wants us to abandon the logic of “either this or nothing”. The expression “either this or nothing” sounds negative and rude. If it means: “either you grant us full freedom, or we don’t even talk”, it may be questionable. But if to avoid “doing nothing” you are ready “to do anything”, that may be wrong also. We can not refuse dialog, but we can not agree to anything just to make the dialog a success. The dialog must have a bottom line, it is not acceptable to go against the principle of faith just to have a “successful” conclusion to a dialog.

Pope Benedict in his letter of 2007 said: “the solution to existing problems cannot be pursued via an ongoing conflict with the legitimate civil authorities; at the same time, though, compliance with those authorities is not acceptable when they interfere unduly in matters regarding the faith and discipline of the Church.”

To deny one’s own identity doesn’t solve the problems. One must hold fast to one’s own faith, otherwise the martyrs would be fouls.

Let us ask and answer unambiguously the following questions: Is there any real Bishops’ Conference in the official community of the Church in China? No, there isn’t! It is the Government that runs the Church in the name of the so-called “One Association and One Conference”.

Is there in China a schismatic Church? Yes, there is! Even if the Popes prefer not to call it such, because they know that many are in it under enormous pressure.

EVERY JOURNEY MUST START FROM HERE!

And remember what Saint Mother Theresa of Calcutta said: “God doesn’t ask us to be successful, but faithful”.

24 September 2016

 

Chinese Version:

從哪裡啟程?(向教廷國務卿請教)

Italian Version:

Da dove stiamo partendo?

發表於 中國教會 | 發表迴響

Da dove stiamo partendo?

Ammiro il grande zelo dell’eminentissimo Segretario di Stato di Sua Santità Card. Pietro Parolin che non solo lo tiene tanto occupato nei Palazzi Apostolici, ma lo spinge anche a portare la sua voce altrove. La sua parlata magistrale a Pordenone ha suscitato interesse ben oltre i confini dell’Italia, ha parlato infatti della Cina. Come un figlio di quella Nazione, mi sono subito messo a leggere e studiare l’importante testo, completandolo con quello che egli aveva espresso su “L’Avvenire”.

Vorrei tanto lasciarmi prendere dalle grandi speranze che Sua Eminenza sta suscitando, ma sono trattenuto da molte perplessità. Con tutto il rispetto, espongo qui alcuni dubbi che non riesco a debellare e che forse altri pure timidamente nutrono nel loro cuore.

A.

Sua Eminenza il Card. Parolin dice che i problemi di oggi (riguardo alle relazioni tra la Santa Sede  e la Cina) non sono totalmente dissimili da quelli che (Card.) Celso Costantini ha aiutato a superare 70 anni fa. Ciò mi fa non poca meraviglia. Al mio modesto modo di capire, i problemi sono proprio toto coelo diversi.

Allora si trattava di liberare la Santa Sede dall’ “imperialismo missionario”(cioè dalla prepotenza di politici occidentali imperialisti, i quali, facendosi forti del diritto, ritenuto “esclusivo”, di protezione della Chiesa e dei missionari, cercavano di impedire che la Santa Sede stabilisse relazioni dirette con le Autorità cinesi, le quali ne sarebbero state ben felici).

Oggi invece la Santa Sede ha da fare con un Governo cinese ateo e totalitario, deciso a perseguire, già con grande successo, la sua politica immutata di soggiogare (“guidare” è il termine da loro usato) tutte le religioni, specialmente quelle di origine occidentale, cioè cristiane.

Non credo necessario elencare qui tutti i fatti e pronunciamenti, anche recentissimi, del Governo cinese che provano il mio asserto. Sono di pubblico dominio e di facile consultazione.

B.

Se il punto precendente è valido, allora, mentre ammiriamo l’intrepido Card. Costantini, il quale è riuscito a realizzare la sua difficile missione di portare il popolo cristiano cinese nel grembo della Madre Chiesa, oggi non possiamo che compatire i nostri ufficiali incaricati della diplomazia vaticana, perché essi si trovano davanti ad una missione impossibile o quasi impossibile.

Come si può sperare che il Governo cinese acconsenta ad un accordo che assicuri una vera libertà religiosa? Restituisca alla Chiesa l’autorità sua propria che esso ha già usurpato da tanti decenni? Ciò farebbe supporre che il Governo cinese abbia cambiato radicalmente la sua ideologia. Ciò vuol dire che crediamo che anche la nostra controparte ha la stessa nostra buona volontà, che i communisti perseguono pure il vero, il buono e tutti i valori universali.

Si può scegliere di essere ottimisti o pessimisti, ma un giudizio responsabile deve fondarsi sui fatti.

C.

– Il Card. Parolin ci dice di fidarsi della Divina Provvidenza, ma questa non ci assicura che presto finirà la bufera, il tempo è nelle mani di Dio.

– Il Card. Parolin ammette pure che bisogna procedere cum timore et tremore, ma quel che vediamo è un ottimismo ad oltranza. Sembra infatti allegramente sicuro che sta scrivendo una pagina senza precedenti nella storia (ovviamente non si tratta del desiderio di chissà quale successo mondano, ma di contribuire alla pace del mondo).

Abbiamo pure alzato la voce della cautela, ma abbiamo meritato il rimprovero della mancanza di fiducia, di pensare male degli altri.

– Il Card. Parolin dice che anche il Papa sa quali progressi si siano fatti. Ma noi siamo all’oscuro. Quel che vediamo invece è che nel desiderio di compiacere alla Cina, la Santa Sede ha rinunciato sovente alla sua autorità ed ha tollerato ogni sorta di abusi, per cui la Gerarchia della comunità ufficiale si trova oggi quasi al fondo della fossa, sarà difficile risalire il pendio. Ci vorrà un miracolo. Crediamo nei miracoli, ma non possiamo tentare il Signore.

D.

Si dice che si tratta di un viaggio. Ma un punto preliminare è di sapere DA CHE PUNTO STIAMO PARTENDO.

SIAMO D’ACCORDO SU “DOVE È IL VERO PROBLEMA?”

– Mi pare che si parli troppo della riconciliazione (tra le due comunità).

Io sono stato certamente tra I primi a dire che non ci sono due Chiese Cattoliche in Cina, in quanto tutti nel loro cuore sono in unione con il Successore di Pietro. La divisione delle due comunità è stata creata dal Governo, il quale dichiara fuori legge chi non accetta di far parte di una Chiesa indipendente da Roma, e tiene come schiavi chi, per qualunque ragione, ha accettato di sottomettersi ad esso. Purtroppo si sono poi infiltrati lungo gli anni anche degli opportunisti che collaborano volentieri con esso.

– L’unione esiste già nei cuori. Facile sarà la riunificazione. Quando il Vescovo Ma di Shanghai ha dichiarato di distanziarsi dalla Associazione Patriottica, la comunità clandestina gli ha subito promesso obbedienza (però oggi, con il mistero della clamorosa “ritrattazione” non ancora risolto, come possono i clandestini accettare l’ordine da Roma di andare a sostenere Mons. Ma in caso venisse all’aperto?)

– Mi pare che si parli troppo anche dell’essere insieme Cattolici e Cinesi. Non abbiamo mai visto alcuna contraddizione in questo. È il Partito Comunista Cinese che oggi si arroga il diritto di giudicare chi è patriottico e chi non lo è (ancora più ridicolo è che esso si sente qualificato perfino a giudicare su chi è veramente cattolico, chi è veramente un sacerdote e un vescovo).

C’è chi crede forse che saremo più cinesi se ci sottomettiamo alle ingerenze del Partito nelle cose della nostra Chiesa?

Ripeto: SIAMO D’ACCORDO SU DOVE È IL VERO PROBLEMA?

Per me il problema è di tirar fuori i nostri fratelli dalla schiavitù. Senza una vera libertà, come si può parlare di “un modo più positivo di vivere la fede”?

È pronto il Governo cinese a riconoscere questo diritto ai suoi cittadini?

E.

Realismo è conoscere e riconoscere la realtà, altrimenti il realismo (sano o non sano) oppure “pragmatismo e flessibilità” (nel linguaggio del portavoce del Governo cinese) sono tutti eufemismi per coprire la realtà del compromesso, della resa incondizionata e del tradimento della propria dignità.

La realtà può essere crudele, ma dobbiamo guardarla in faccia. Solo sapendo dove ci troviamo ora, possiamo cominciare il viaggio verso la meta.

Card. Parolin dice: il Santo Padre ci chiede di abandonare la logica del “ o cosi, o non si fa niente”. L’espressione deve essere analizzata. Se significa “o ci date la libertà o non ci parliamo”, allora è negativa, non dobbiamo rifuitare il dialogo. Ma se per far riuscire il dialogo siamo disposti a “fare qnalunque cosa”, meanche è giustificato. Il dialogo ha pure i suoi limiti, non possiamo negare la nostra identità.

Papa Benedetto nella sua lettera del 2007 dice: “La soluzione dei problemi esistenti non può essere perseguita attraverso un permanente conflitto con le legittime Autorità civili; nello stesso tempo, però, non è accettabile un’arrendevolezza alle medesime quando esse interferiscono indebitamente in materie che riguardano la fede e la disciplina della Chiesa.”

Non è lecito rinnegare la nostra identità, altrmenti i martiri sarebbero stati dei sciocchi.

Domandiamoci senza equivoci: c’è o non c’è una conferenza episcopale nella comunità ufficiale della Chiesa in Cina?

Non c’è! C’è solo il Governo che gestisce direttamente la Chiesa col nome di “Una Associazione (Patriottica) e una Conferenza (Episcopale)”.

C’è o non c’è una Chiesa scismatica?

C’è! Oggettivamente, Anche se i Papi preferiscono non chiamarla tale perché sanno che molti vi si trovano sotto enorme pressione.

OGNI SFORZO DEVE PARTIRE DA QUESTA REALTÀ.

E ricordiamo il detto della Santa Madre Teresa di Calcutta: “Il Signore non si aspetta il nostro successo, ma la nostra fedeltà”.

24 Settembre 2016

Chinese Version:

從哪裡啟程?(向教廷國務卿請教)

English Version:

Where does the journey start from?

發表於 未分類 | 發表迴響

2016愛心捐月餅

你們慷慨的捐贈,令我們的送月餅行動可以做得更多,範圍更廣 – 今年中秋,我們除贈送月餅予超過 9,000名囚友外,更感謝20多位由十歲到七十歳的聖雲先會義工於九月十四日,即中秋節前一天從奧撒南綜合服務中心出發,將二百個月餅及他們準備的水果與深水埗、長沙灣區的貧困長者、露宿者及南亞居民一起分享,讓大家都能歡渡這個團圓佳節。

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發表於 愛心捐月餅 | 發表迴響

政治篩選,忍無可忍!

我們的正義和平委員會提醒我八月廿一日有「反對政治篩選,還我公平選舉」遊行,我十分支持,但可惜,我六月重病後至今祇復原八成,醫生不會批准我參加遊行。

我也知道昨日(8月16日)下午有記者招待會,可是同時我們慈幼會團體有隆重宗教活動,不能分身,那末祇可以在這博客上表達我的支持。

七一祈禱會上我從醫院托人帶上一句,問:「天主還會讓他們瘋狂到幾時?」這句話對天主或稍有失禮,但對「瘋狂」兩字我絕無後悔。

為了討好北京,為了支持特首,我們的「姊妹」林鄭月娥和本該維護法治的律政司司長(註)竟然破壞了我們的警隊、廉署、公務制度,也陷我們的法庭於不義。

昨天法庭對三位學生的判刑,可能比他們的預料還好一些,法官也說了一些算是公道的說話。但我的看法是法庭其實根本應該拒絕接受這些案件,請政府用政治智慧去解決自己闖的禍。

人民對警察傳統的尊敬已失了,少數害群之馬固然可惡,但他們的上司讓他們以為可以放肆濫權。政府更是罪魁,制造了社會憤怒,卻讓前綫警員 - 我們的兄弟姊妹 - 去冒險。

廉署的亂局破壞了前人多年的努力,損害市民的信心,後果不堪設想。

但這次政治篩選真使我們忍無可忍了。我從來沒有支持過港獨,但政府為了害怕討論港獨,把一個破壞選舉公平的重擔子放在一位公務員身上,真是又可恥,又可惡。

我這個自1948年在香港生活,為香港服務的老人,呼籲香港市民不要再逆來順受,家行出來,大聲斥責

 

註:按Facebook朋友意見,作了修改。

發表於 政治欄 | 發表迴響

愛心捐月餅2016

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發表於 通知事項 | 發表迴響

從一個「沉痛的呼籲」講起(回應Gianni Valente)

最近我受到一種稱為「肺炎支原體」的病毒攻擊,住院三星期,我回到修院後仍需要一段頗長的復原期。豈料出院後知道,我又曾受到另類攻擊,那是來自一位意大利的「老友」詹尼.瓦倫特(Gianni Valente),他的文章登在頗暢銷的一份報紙La Stampa上。我的健康狀況本不適合我捲入另一場鬥爭,但真理有它的權利,我不可以不出來作出一些澄清。

(一)我的博文究竟說了什麼

在我的博客上我對國內教會的兄弟姐妹作出了一個呼,瓦倫特從中找到了我的罪證,忍不住暗喜。

我呼籲的標題被翻譯成:「兄弟姐妹們,讓我們維護我們的榮譽!」我無意批評譯者,我自己也不知道如何準確地翻譯這個中文詞彙。這是不容易的(那是中文呀!)。

我用的中文字是「爭氣」,(爭取一口氣)(能吐出一口氣)。意大利文的「吐一口氣」也正有「說話」的意思。「爭氣」也可以說是「爭取說話的資格」,尤其是指「最後的一口氣」,最後一句話。能夠說話是一種尊嚴,而不能說話是莫大的恥辱。要人閉嘴,就是要人認錯。

諷刺的是,我們現在的情況所指的最後一口氣、最後的一句話,卻正是一個響亮的沉默。我的呼籲的真正內容就是:「讓我們有尊嚴地靜靜地退出!」

這不是呼籲衝鋒,(如瓦倫特所以為的。「……無需理會!不用考慮!分道揚鑣!」)不,這是號召退兵。是呼籲兄弟們保持冷靜,接受失敗,不要做不理性的事(不要讓我們的敵人充當先知,說保皇黨成了背教者!)

(二)什麼失敗?命令「轉軚」(作出方向性的改變)

我們失敗了?但輸了甚麼?

我們知道中國無神政府一直想全面控制宗教。直到現在,大量天主教徒,無論是地下教會團體或是官方的地上教會團體,在面對巨大犧牲之下仍忠於耶穌,忠於耶穌在伯多祿及宗徒們身上所建立的教會。但今天教會權威當局似乎會出一份聲明告訴我們,要改變方向:教會的教義教規過往所反對的,將成為合法和正常;以後每個人都要服從由政府管理的教會;每個人都要服從那些直到今天仍然是非法的、甚至被絕罰的主教!原來,這些可憐的對立者錯了幾十年?!

我的呼籲是為這可能發生的事作出準備,這可能性曾經幾乎不存在,但現在已變得大有可能了。那怎麼辦?接受返回到瓦倫特所說的「地下墓穴」教會的狀況。墓穴教會不是正常的;但當正常的並不合法,而合法的又不受政府允許,在別無選擇之下,就只有在不正常的狀態之下堅持合法的。

瓦倫特提到了“Pax Sino-Vatican”(中梵和平),這讓我想起了著名的“Pax Romana”(羅馬和平,指羅馬帝國統治下的和平時代),但那「和平」完全是由刀劍爭回來的,是軍隊打出來的,他們凱旋回羅馬時拖著一大群奴隸!

我的呼籲是充滿悲傷和憂愁的。在這裡,我本可把話說完,請求瓦倫特可憐我們,至少尊重我們的痛苦,讓我們靜靜地痛哭。

(我記得很久以前在一個國內的天主教網站上出現過這樣的一句話:「那麼多年來,我們的敵人都未能要我們死,現在卻是我們的父親要我們死。好吧,就讓我們去死吧。」)(你們有沒有注意到,小朋友被媽媽打屁股時,仍會抱著媽媽的腳,即使一直在哭泣和叫喊,都不會離開,因為離開了母親還有哪裏可以去?)

(三)接受協議和良心質疑。儘管教宗而忠於教宗

我敢肯定,瓦倫特不會那麼輕易放過我。他會說:「你的呼籲強制禁止其他人加入愛國會!」

我的第一句是:「你不用跟著(該協議,跟到底)」。是的,在我們接受來自羅馬的指示的同時,良心還是底線。若良心認為是違反信仰的,我們便不能做。我們不能跟隨那顯然違背真正天主教信仰的協議。教宗方濟各多次捍衛民眾有不服從有違良心之事的權利。他是耶穌會士,對於很重要的事情也會依賴個人的辨別,他不會拒絕他的子民擁有這個「良心質疑」的權利。   

我們接受來自羅馬的指示時有這個限制,使得我們更加痛苦。這對我身為慈幼會士像是撕破了心,因為我們保皇黨堅持敬禮教宗(是的,我們稱之為三個敬禮,向聖體、聖母和教宗的敬禮),但在這事上卻不能跟教宗走到底(例如加入愛國會、擁抱一個完全是無神政府所辦的教會)。

我們不能不拒絕行這一步,正因為它直接與伯多祿的權威互相矛盾。是的,在這情況下(在此刻我們仍強烈希望不會發生這種情況),我們要忠於教宗(基督的在世代表)的權利,儘管看來似乎不聽教宗的話。如果瓦倫特對這說法感到驚異,這祇意味著他並不認識教會歷史。

在瓦倫特文章的最後一部分,他談到了「與羅馬主教的真正共融」。我們托付永恆的判官來判斷,與教宗真真正正的共融,是我們的那種,還是那些今天跑出來吶喊的那種(例如,有人接受法文媒體《亞洲教會》的採訪時說):「來,準備好了,所有人服從教宗,不管他怎麼決定!」(很明顯這些人有一個很大的期望,就是教宗能確認當前的不正常狀態,那末他們就能在裡面繼續享受他們的既得利益)。

(四)教宗的訓導清楚說明:不要加入愛國會

瓦倫特會堅持說:「你真強制禁止其他人加入愛國會呀!」。是的,我說過:「你們絕對不應該加入愛國會」。但我並沒有說是憑我的權威,那是教宗本篤十六世的權威,並得到教宗方濟各確認,方濟各說教宗本篤的信函仍然是有效的,所有人都應該閱讀它。  

我說了:「根據教宗本篤十六世的信函,一個獨立自主自辦教會的原則,就是讓政府管理教會,不符合我們的信仰」。瓦倫特說,我沒有準確引用教宗的話,我同意。但他認為我說的不符合教宗所說的,那我就絕不同意。任何認識中國教會情況的人都會認同,政府辦教這個說法,完全符合教宗本篤在信函中用別的話所描述的

信函中的第七節第一段:「……上面提到了信眾教友和牧者們都涉及的強烈衝突的痛心局勢。對此作個認真的分析則突顯出,在各種導致上述狀況的原因中,首推那些被貫以天主教會生活主要責任者的機構所扮演的重要角色。事實上,時至今日,上述機構的認可,仍然是衡量一個團體、一個人或者一個宗教場所是否合法,即官方的標準。」 

第五段:「……某些由國家建立的、與教會體制無關的機構,淩駕於主教之上領導教會團體的生活,是不符合教會道理的。」第六段:「……上述機構所宣稱的宗旨,落實「獨立自主自辦教會和民主辦教原則」,與教會道理是無法調和的。」(愛國會的名出現在附註中) 

第八節第二段:「……近年來,因著各種原因,你們主教弟兄們遇到了一些困難,因為有「非聖職者」,甚至尚未受洗者,以國家不同機構的名義控制、決策教會的重大事務,包括主教的任命。其結果是……貶抑了伯多祿與主教的職務。」

政府說官方教會是由「一會一團」(愛國會和主教團)管理,但明顯地國家宗教事務局的官員領導這「二合為一」的組織,會議都是他們主持的。(政府現在甚至毫不掩飾這個事實,大家在照片上能見到是宗教局官員坐在中間主持會議,而「一會一團」的領導就在左右兩邊,低著頭接受指示)。

而中國教會的最高權力機構是中國天主教代表大會,每五年召開一次會議。在過去總是劉柏年做主席,該由與會代表選舉出的新一任領導班子,即一會一團的正副主席,開幕時也早已坐在主席台上。劉柏年在上一屆會議被推舉為榮譽主席,表示他已退休,但事實上他卻經常從北到南全國奔波。我們要看下次開會又會是誰當主席。

我充分證明了我說的話完全符合教宗本篤的信函,而瓦倫特似乎不那麼肯定他自己說的話,他用很深奧的字眼描寫了那、可能出現的、我認為違背教會訓導的最終協議。以我所有的神哲學知識,以及我的意大利文知識,我仍感到很難理解。他說那些指示是:「……措施和做法……作為最後的手段,為應付將來中梵之間開始有協議時的後果」(能明白他的人真有福了!)

(五)我們被矇在鼓裡,祇能瞎猜。前景絕不使人放心

我說可能他們會簽署一個我們不能接受的協議。我說希望這事不會發生。一切都沒有定論。你會問:事情還未發生,你緊張甚麼?就是因為不知道才緊張呀。我們一直被矇在鼓裡,只知道雙方會面越來越頻密,但卻不知道談判的內容。

其實中梵雙方一直有非官方的接觸。在唐高樞機(Tomko)當傳信部部長的年代,直到2000年,中國教會事務委員會還未成立,但教會內部有定期的、聯席且擴大的會議,討論中國教會問題(「聯席」就是由傳信部和國務院共同召開;「擴大」就是也有一些中國教會專家參與)。我起初以香港修會會長聯會主席,後來以在國內修院教書的教授,最後以香港助理主教的不同身分被邀與會,當時的國務院副秘書長兼首席談判員切里蒙席(Celli)會與我們分享會面的內容。

可惜唐高樞機卸任之後,他的繼任人任內對中國教會事務一片空白。他的接班人更不行,即使已有一個真正的中國教會事務委員會,與北京的談判成了羅馬教廷的機密,一點消息都不向委員會成員透露。

如今,委員會更消失無蹤了。教宗方濟各上任後,教廷曾通知我們會在2014年春季開會(三年一任的最後一次全體會議)。可到現在一點訊息都沒有了,也沒有接到委員會的死亡通知書。這對委員會的成員是極不尊重,也偏離教廷傳統的禮貌做法。

現在只有兩位華人樞機,都還未死,也沒有痴呆,我是其中一位,卻不讓我關心中國教會的相關談判。羅馬還有一個華人,看來不太受歡迎,被充軍去關島了。他們整天說要對話,但卻封殺了教會內部的對話。

由於缺乏溝通,我們只好猜想,把不同的信息拼湊起來。韓德力神父好像甚麼都知道,因為他是教廷和北京的好朋友。而在羅馬的《亞洲新聞》消息也頗靈通。但是拼湊出來的景象,使我們非常不放心。

(六)我是病態鬥士?我為無聲者發聲

到此為止我們正在談論目前特殊的情況。但瓦倫特想要把我放回更大的背境裡,給我冠以「不停鬥士」的稱號(或如一位樞機高官所稱的gladiator「羅馬鬥獸場內的鬥士」)。

瓦倫特指責我「動員了二十年,一直反對所有不配合我觀點的,教廷的行動」。更甚者是:「扭曲了中國天主教七十年來的歷史,否定了一切不利我「永久鬥爭」的因素」。

七十年是很長的時間,中國共產黨管治大陸也沒有七十年的歷史啊!那麼,我扭曲了中國教會在共產黨開始統治至今的全部歷史?扣這樣大的帽子,叫我怎樣回應呢?

不如談談這二十年吧。二十年前,即一九九六年左右,我剛被任為助理主教。如果沒記錯,那時瓦倫特與我是好朋友。他當然不會說我是鬥士。他知道並表示欣賞我正在八九年天安門事件後進入國內,七年之久去了大陸的不同公開修院教書(上海、西安、武漢、石家莊、北京、沈陽)。每年有半年的時間在大陸,與我們的弟兄對話,也與難為他們的政府人員對話。很長的一段時間一起生活。政府對我很客氣,我沒私人理由對共產黨有仇恨。如果不是被任命回港當助理主教,我會繼續在大陸教書,政府官員也會繼續欣賞我的良好品行。

但在長時期的共同生活中,我看到我們的主教不斷受他們的侮辱。許多弟兄在痛苦中堅持信仰,他們的Sensus Ecclesiae(教會感)令我慚愧。

其實真正的動員應該是在教宗本篤十六世2006年擢升我為樞機之後,是十年後之事。這十年我是打了仗。不過並不因為我喜歡打仗,是因為國內信眾不能發聲,沒有言論自由,我不得不打這場仗,為他們發聲。

請准我稍為離題。我不相信瓦倫特不知道中國沒有言論自由。那末他怎麼能說那些被他訪問的主教,能暢所欲言?尤其那些介乎地下和地上教會之間的神職人員,他們努力爭取加入公開教會。他們只能說政府愛聽的話。瓦倫特訪問一位大陸主教,主教對瓦倫特說他的教區沒有愛國會。第二天政府就給他們成立了一個。瓦倫特大概不知道吧?

我是無聲者的聲音。我的弟兄不單止在政府面前不能發聲,他們的聲音也達不到教廷那裡,這幾年,有非法、甚至絕罰的主教、很威風,以主教身份舉行禮儀、聖事,還敢祝聖神父執事。有合法主教參與非法祝聖主教,三四次之多。中國天主教全國代表大會召開,幾乎全部地上主教到場。羅馬沒有發聲。這些都是嚴重違反教會信仰和紀律的事,難道教友沒有權利要羅馬解釋嗎?

(七)內鬥拒絕對話不惜任何代價要對話「成功」

瓦倫特指責我反共鬥爭,更指責與羅馬教廷內對中國教會有話語權的大臣們鬥爭

這指控相當嚴重,但問題出在哪裡呢?有人說我拒絕對話。天呀!他怎會這樣認為呢?我完全接受教宗本篤信函第四節第七段所說:「與合法的政權持續衝突是不能解決現存的問題的。」(當然,對話有好的結論時問題才解決。)但教宗本篤繼續說:「同時,當政權不恰當地干涉教會的信仰問題和教律時,我們亦不能就此屈從。」教宗方濟各在南韓向亞洲主教講話時,也肯定了這原則,他說:真正對話的第一個條件是要忠於自己的本質。

因此,如果希望對話真正成功,就要尊重自己的和對方的本質。但現在我們有沒有這個基礎呢?當有宗教組織指出其內部最高權力機構是屬於自己的,獨裁政府能夠尊重這個宗教組織嗎?而宗教組織可以拱手相讓由無神政府完全控制嗎?

所以,首先我們必須面對這事實:共產主義是真正的獨裁統治。當我前陣子在博文上寫說,和共產政府對話好像讓聖若瑟跟黑落德王對話時,聽來似乎是一個笑話,其實它離事實並不遠。我們在羅馬教廷的領導們,難道你們從來沒有研究過馬列主義?是的,不要忘了,列寧很重要。根據馬克思,階級鬥爭勝利後,無產階級「暫時」專政,但到了列寧,卻變成了「永遠」專政。

意大利朋友,天主善待了你們,使你們從未受過現代的專政統治:納粹主義和共產主義。(墨索里尼的法西斯主義不過是小兒科)。那些沒有經歷過獨裁統治的人,是很難想像到它的恐怖。真正獨裁政權下是沒有妥協的是要全面屈服的,奴役人民,侮辱人民

中國共產黨殺了千千萬萬人後,或許不用再殺那麼多人。但已存在一個「暴力的處境」,最基本的人權被否決了。難道大家沒看到中共最近在國外多麽專橫?在國內壓迫得多麼厲害?(喬治.魏格爾(George Wiegel)最近在《First Things》雜誌有一篇文章值得看看 http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/07/the-ostpolitik-failed-get-over-it)。

這樣的政府對梵蒂岡會特別客氣嗎?面對近年的一連串事件(拆十字架和聖堂,以及對宗教組織的洗腦班,中央指示宗教該如何接受國家的領導),我們尊貴的國務卿怎麼會說「對話的前景充滿希望」呢?

有一位地下神父,四十歲,名叫「和平」,他很有學問、為人熱心,備受教友的尊重和愛戴。他2015年11月初在很離奇的情形下死亡。政府的公安部稱在河裡發現他的遺體,宣稱他自殺,但在重重疑點之下,完全不讓親人查證真相。     

這位神父寫過一篇文章《時間屬於祂》,指出:「當其他宗教都有愛國會,我們怎能妄想天主教會能幸免呢?當全中國都沒有言論自由之時,你怎可能奢望我們就會有呢?」

因此,放棄對話?不是,但你去到談判桌上時,必須有準備,也許第一百次,最終要承認對話還沒有成功的可能。我們怎麼可以合理地希望對話取得圓滿成功?中國共產黨已完全控制地上教會了,他們願意放棄一點點的控制權嗎?現在即使對話不成功,政府也不會有損失。他們很樂意對話,只希望得到教宗一紙祝福,認可這個不正常的、客觀上已是裂教的教會。(教宗沒有這樣稱之,是因為知道很多人是被迫的,在巨大壓力下屈服了。)要不惜任何代價完成對話有人準備祝聖一個分裂的教會嗎

聽說他們只討論主教任命的問題,而把其他的問題置之不理。但那些都是天大的問題呀!?即使祇討論主教任命的唯一話題,我們能接受現狀嗎?「民主選舉」?(中國是沒有真選舉的,都是在演戲)。「由主教團批准」?(主教團根本不存在,只是名義上的)。「由教宗最後同意」?(只是做個簡單的簽名手續,沒有真正的決定權)。「之後就叫地下的全部上來,進入中國天主教,而不是在中國的天主教會」?(你可能不會注意兩者在中文的差別,從中國天主教矛盾不明顯,但說Chinese Catholic Church矛盾就突出了。)

(八)東方政策

講到這裡,我不得不提「東方政策」。有人會說:你為何又舊事重提?正因它不是舊事。我們的領導仍活在以前的國務卿卡薩羅尼(Casaroli)偉大奇蹟的幻想之中(我們不討論他的聖德,知道他是一位頗有愛德的神職人員)。

「東方政策」在政治層面是有道理的,因為經濟利益可以與政治利益交換,但我們與那些只知金錢和權力的對手有甚麼可交換?我們只可把我們的(屬靈)權利讓出來。我們可以這樣做嗎?

瓦倫特說「東方政策」早已開始。是的,鐵幕封鎖了東歐,若望二十三世及保祿六世教宗都想找到出路。但真的找到了嗎?教宗和樞機們當時根本不清楚鐵幕後面的情形,只好委托卡薩羅尼全權負責,他這個可憐人,也只能在黑暗中摸索(而對方在梵蒂岡則佈滿間諜!看一下魏格爾的《The End and the Beginning》那本書就知道了)。

得到什麼成果?「我們保證了有主教!」。是怎樣的主教?那些主教都是傀儡,是無神政府的官員,不是羊群的牧者,是掠食的狼。「我們努力使教會不致滅亡(modus non Moriendi)!」這些國家的教會不是因為梵蒂岡的外交努力而生存下來,而是靠教友的堅強信仰保存下來的!

那麼,「你選擇對抗而不是對話?」一隻羔羊不肯被狼吃掉,這叫對抗?

瓦倫特曾說,甚至維辛斯基樞機(Wyszynski)也支持卡薩羅尼的「東方政策」。多麼可笑!難道他認為,若不如此,維辛斯基樞機應該出來公開批評由教宗若望保祿二世任命的國務卿?批評他的作為?

有人會問:「那麼,為什麼教宗若望保祿二世作出這樣的任命呢?」在一部有關若望保祿二世的電影中,若望保祿對他說:「親愛的卡薩羅尼,我們兩人的想法不同。我任命你作為國務卿,因為我們可以互相補足。」這可能很真實。但許多歷史學家認為(我不認為是惡意的猜測),教宗想安撫他的敵人。卡薩羅尼可以作為一個「煙幕」,讓若望保祿能從他的書房指揮行動,把波蘭從共產黨獨裁統治中解放出來。

2008年11月下旬,我接到一個不公開的消息,中國官方教會即將慶祝首次自選自聖主教五十周年。我跑到羅馬,得到教宗本篤接見,並有貝爾托內樞機在場。我說,這是挑釁的行為,尤其是當雙方已有非正式接觸了。我又說,政府敢於不斷挑戰梵蒂岡,因為他們看到教廷採用「東方政策」。那一刻,教宗本篤向著貝爾托內樞機說:『你還記得嗎?當年若望保祿二世來到教廷說:「東方政策」,夠了!』我不用多說了。

(九)教宗批准任命在愛國會內的主教也沒有叫他們退出愛國會,那麼……

瓦倫特對一個問題似乎特別有把握。他說,教宗們批准了許多在愛國會內的主教,有些甚至在愛國會內擔當重要職位。所以,隸屬愛國會「本來」就不是和伯多祿繼承人之間,在聖事和聖統內共融的全面認可的障礙」。此外,教宗從來沒有要求他們以退出愛國會「作為獲得宗座批准主教任命的條件」。 

當教宗任命或承認他們為主教,當然給了他們聖事和管治權力,但這並不能證明教宗這樣做法和他們隸屬愛國會的身份「本來」沒有矛盾,教宗本篤說過,愛國會的性質與天主教教義不相容。

國內教友多次指出這個矛盾,教廷從不答覆。我曾寫過一小冊子:「教宗2007信的解讀」,教宗本篤詳細看過,說沒有問題,我祇出版了中文版。解讀中我先引述教宗的話。關於教宗認可了(及批准了)的地上主教,教宗說:「可惜,(1) 多次發生了司鐸及信友們……未被相應地知會其主教得以合法化的事宜……(2)此外,有些主教本人也沒有明顯作出已獲合法身份的表示」,所以教宗叮囑說:「……(1)(他們)必須在短期內公開其已合法的主教身份,(2)並不斷地表現出與伯多祿繼承人完全共融的明顯行為。(第八節第十一段)。然後我解釋說:教宗所做所說沒有矛盾。而「矛盾的是有些被認可或被批准的主教,他們一方面得到教宗慷慨的恩賜被接納於聖統的共融之中,但另一方面卻沒有把這事實生活出來。一位口口聲聲支持獨立自辦教會的主教,怎能算是與聖座共融呢?

(十)必須清晰不能再模糊了

當唐高樞機的繼任人的繼任人也有了其繼任人後,那位部長在他首次主持的中國教會事務委員會常務小組會議中與大家達成共識,認為有必要澄清這一點。在長期容忍矛盾(模糊)的情況下,見到結果顯然是全面失敗,現在不得不改變策略,終於該給出清晰的方向。先宣傳並解釋讓大家知道愛國會是我們不能接受的。這是委員會的最後一次會議。我不知道按這新策略的路線教廷做了些甚麼。

時間上的巧合讓人相信委員會的共識,也可能已傳達到了上海教區,為此,四年前,馬達欽主教在7月7日他的主教祝聖禮的最後,發出了他的聲明,得到天主的子民經久不息的掌聲歡迎。整件「七七事件」的經過向世界展示了中國宗教政策的荒謬原則:「誰愛國就應該拒絕他的宗教良心」。他們強逼德高望重的上海金魯賢主教,要他違背自己的良心,同意在其繼任者的祝聖禮上,與一名非法主教共祭,來證明自己忠於祖國!?他實在再不能忍受這樣的羞辱了。

但現在看來,在各處類似的情況下,來自上層的勸告常是「要低聲下氣」、「要屈服」、「要投降」……有人懷疑馬達欽主教的「變臉」是出於羅馬的鼓勵。但梵蒂岡回應說:「任何的猜測都是不適當的」。我會說:「這些猜測是不可避免的」。大家都還在等待一個清晰的澄清。

主啊,你不是對伯多祿說了:「堅固你的弟兄」嗎?

附註:親愛的詹尼,寫這篇回應,為在康復中的我來說,是很辛苦的。 下次免了我吧,拜託了!

***********

英文版:

http://oldyosef.hkdavc.com/2016/07/28/a-painful-appeal/

意大利文版:

http://oldyosef.hkdavc.com/2016/07/18/un-appello-doloroso/

發表於 中國教會 | 發表迴響

A PAINFUL APPEAL

After three weeks (11 June – 2 July) of terrible battle against the attack of a virus called “Mycoplasma pneumoniae” I am back to my religious house for a long recovery. But here I am being told that I was subject to another kind of attack, on the prestigious pages of “La Stampa”, from my “friend” Gianni Valente.

My health condition could exempt me from being involved in another battle, but the truth has its rights and I cannot desert my duty of offering some clarifications.

  1. AN APPEAL OF MINE IS BEING QUESTIONED

First of all the “status quaestions”. It is a short appeal I made from my blog to my brothers in mainland China. Valente has found at last the “corpus delicti” (the material evidence of a crime) and cries to the scandal, not hiding a certain complacency.

The title of my appeal is translated: “Brothers and sisters of the continent, we need to do ourselves justice!” I do not criticize the translator, I don’t even know how to translate exactly my chinese. It is difficult (it is chinese!)

The words I have used are, literally, “contend the breath!” Here the “breath” corresponds to “speak out” in Italian and the “last breath” would mean the “final word”. Being able to “breathe out” is a sign of dignity, while it is shame having to hold one’s breath and shut up, because one knows to be in the wrong. The irony is that in our case the last word will be just a resounding silence. Here is the real content of my appeal: “Let us retreat in silence with dignity!”

It is not a call to battle as wants Vallente: “…ignore it! Don’t consider it! Dissent from it!” No, It is just a call to retreat, an invitation to calm, to accept the defeat without giving in irrational reactions (let’s not make prophets of our enemies, who say that from papists we are going to become apostates!).

  1. WHAT DEFEAT? ORDER TO CHANGE COURSE.

But what defeat it is about?

We know that in China the atheist regime has always wanted to totally control the religions. Until now large groups of Catholics, both underground and in officialdom, making great sacrifices, remain faithful to the Church founded by Jesus on Peter and the Apostles. But today a specter appears in the horizon, of a statement coming right from the authority of the Church, that tells them to change course. What was declared as opposed to the doctrine and discipline of the Church will become legitimate and normal; everyone will have to submit to the Government that manages the Church; everyone will have to obey to bishops who until today are illegitimate and even excommunicated. So, they have been wrong for decades these poor “confrontationists”?

My appeal is to prepare the minds for such an eventuality, which once seemed impossible, now it looks very likely. What to do? Accept to go back, as Valente says, to the catacomb situation, which is not the ordinary situation. But, when the ordinary is illegitimate and the legitimate is not allowed, there is no choice but to hold to the legitimate in a extraordinary way.

Valente mentions a “Sino-Vatican Pax”. This makes me think of the famous “Pax Romana”, a “peace” built and maintained with iron and fire, …the symbol is the triumphant return of the conquering legions pulling behind hosts of slaves.

There you see, my appeal is full of sadness and sorrow. Here I could finish my article begging Valente to have mercy on us, to respect at least our sorrow and let us mourn in peace.

(I remember one expression which appeared long time ago on a catholic website in China: “For many years our enemies have failed to kill us. Now we have to die at the hands of our Father. All right, let’s go to die”.) (Have you not ever noticed that the child, even when he receives some spanking from the mom, he does not run away, but clings on to the leg of the mother, maybe crying and screaming…he has no where to go away from the mother.)

  1. ACCEPTANCE OF THE AGREEMENT AND OBJECTION OF CONSCIENCE. LOYALTY TO THE POPE IN SPITE OF THE POPE.

I am sure Valente will not leave me alone so easily. He will say: “how about your peremptory prohibition to join the patriotic Association?”

My first statement is: “you need not follow (that agreement all the way)”. Yes, in our acceptance of the provisions from Rome there is a limit, the limit of conscience. We can not follow that eventual agreement in what appears to our conscience to be clearly contrary to the authentic Catholic faith. Pope Francis has often defended the right to conscientious objection; then he, a Jesuit, who leaves even the most complicated problems to personal discernment, will not deny this right to his children.

The limit of our acceptance makes it even more painful. It will be for me a real tearing of the heart, between the Salesian instinctive devotion to the Pope (yes, we call it devotion. The 3 Salesian devotions: to the Blessed Sacrament, to Our Lady and to the Pope) and the inability to follow him all the way in the case, for example, that he encourages to embrace the Patriotic Association and join a Church totally subservient to an atheist Government.

We will have to refuse to take that step just because it formally contradicts the petrine authority. Yes, in the case under consideration (in this moment we still strongly hope that it does not happen) we will have to be loyal to the Pope (the Papacy, the authority of the Vicar of Christ) in spite of the Pope. If Gianni Valente gets scandalized, it means only that he is lacking knowledge of Church history.

In the final part of his article, Valente speaks of the “real communion with the Bishop of Rome”. We entrust to the eternal Judge do judge whether the truly real communion with the Pope is ours or that of those who today cry out loud (as, for example, someone, interviewed by L’Eglise d’Asie, said): “Come on, get ready, everyone, to obey the Pope, whatever he decides!” (obviously this person has great hope that the Pope will confirm the present abnormal state, in which he will continue to enjoy his acquired benefits.

  1. DO NOT JOIN THE PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION. TEACHING AUTHORITY OF THE POPES.

Valente would insist: “There is in your appeal the peremptory prohibition to join the Patriotic Association!” Yes, I have said: “We must absolutely not join the Patriotic Association”, but not on my own authority, it is the authoritative teaching of Pope Benedict, confirmed by Pope Francis, who said that the letter of Pope Benedict is still fully valid and we do well to read it.

I have said: “according to the letter of Pope Benedict, the principle of an independent Church, i.e. the way of letting the Government to run the Church, can not be harmonized with our faith.” Valente would be right to say that I did not make an exact quotation, but I disagree that it was “an unfaithful summary of the original text.” Anyone acquainted with the reality of the Church in China will find my expression “the Government runs the Church” to be an exact summary of what Pope Benedict has described in his letter with different words:

 (Chapter VII, section 1): “…painful situation of strong differences, involving the lay faithful and their Pastors, highlights among the various causes the significant part played by agencies that have been imposed as the principal determinants of the life of the Catholic community. Still today, in fact, recognition from these agencies is the criterion for declaring a community, a person or a religious place legal and therefore official…”

(Section 5): “…it is clear that the claim of some agencies, desired by the State and extraneous to the structure of the Church, to place themselves above the Bishops and to guide the life of the ecclesial community, does not correspond to Catholic doctrine.”

(Section 6): “…the declared purpose of the afore mentioned agencies to implement ‘the principles of independence and autonomy, self-management and democratic administration of the Church is incompatible with Catholic doctrine…” (The mane of “Patriotic Association” is explicitly mentioned in the foot note).

(Chapter VIII, section 2): “…persons who are not ‘ordained’, and sometimes not even baptized, control and take decisions concerning important ecclesial questions, including the appointment of Bishops, in the name of various State agencies. Consequently, we have witnessed a contempt for the Petrine and Episcopal ministries…”

The Government says that the “official” Church is governed by “One Association and One Conference” (The Patriotic Association and the Bishops’ Conference), but who leads this “two-in-one” organism? It is the Government through the officer of the S.A.R.A. (State Agency Religious Affairs), who presides over the meetings. (The Government doesn’t even feel the need to hide such reality showing with ostentation photographs where the director of S.A.R.A. chairs the meeting, while the president of the Patriotic Association and the president of Bishops’ Conference, to his right and left, head bowed, listen to his instructions).

The supreme authority of that Church resides in The National Assembly of Catholic representatives, which is convened every five years. To preside over such meeting in the past was always Mr. Liu Bai-nian; at presidential table seat all those who are going to be elected, during the meeting, to be presidents and vice-presidents of the Patriotic Association and of the Bishops’ Conference. Mr. Liu Bai-nian was declared Honorary President in the last Assembly, so he must be already in retirement, but in reality he is still working as before, running from the North to the South of China. We will see who is going to preside over the coming Assembly.

I think I have been able to prove sufficiently that my words in the blog perfectly match the letter of Pope Benedict. But Valente doesn’t seem to be so sure of what he says. When trying to justify what in my opinion is an agreement contrary to Popes’ teaching he used such complicated wording, which I struggle to understand in spite of my studies of philosophy and theology and my knowledge of Italian. He presented that agreement as “ …measures and practices… as a last resort, to dodge the implications of a possible future beginning of an understanding between Beijing and the Holy See” (my congratulation, if you can understand this!)

  1. WE ARE IN THE DARK, AND THE CONJECTURES ARE NOT REASSURING.

I have said that the possibility of an unacceptable agreement now looks likely. I have said also that in this moment we still desperately hope that it does not occur. So nothing is certain yet. Then why so much fuss?

It is true that we know nothing for certain, we are kept completely in the dark. We know that bilateral contacts are multiplying, but we don’t know the state of those negotiations.

Unofficial contacts existed before. At the time when Cardinal Tomko was the Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples, i.e. till year 2000, there was not yet a commission for the Church in China, but periodical meetings were held to discuss matters about the Church in China, meetings that were “joint” and “extended” (joint = with officials from both the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for Evangelization; extended = with participation of experts). As the president of the Union of Religious Superiors in Hong Kong, then as a teacher in Seminaries in China and finally as Coadjutor Bishop of Hong Kong, I was invited to those meetings, during which Mons. Celli, then undersecretary of the Secretariat of State and chief negotiator with Beijing, used to brief us on those negotiations.

During the years of the successor to Cardinal Tomko there was a complete void. With the successor of the successor, in spite of the existence of a fully-fledged Commission for the Church in China, the negotiations with Beijing have become an exclusive reserve for the Roman curia, no information ever shared with the members of the Commission.

Today the Commission itself has quietly disappeared. After the election of Pope Francis a meeting of the Commission was announced for the spring of 2014, but no more a word about it (no death certificate, no obituary). Extreme disrespect to the members of the Commission and to the one who set it up in the first place! Extreme deviation even from the tradition of formal politeness of the Roman Curia!

The fact is that one of the two living chinese Cardinals (and not suspect of senility) is barred from knowing anything about how they are negotiating the affair of the Church in China. There is still a chinese in “Rome”, but he must be a nuisance, he was exiled to Guam. How sad it is that the proclaimed promoters of dialogue, have suppressed it within the Church.

In this absolute lack of communication we can only resort to conjectures and guessing, trying to put together pieces of news from here and there. Fr. Heyndrickx seems to know everything, he is friend both of Rome and Beijing! At some distance there in Asia News usually pretty well informed. The picture we can make of these un-confirmed pieces of information is not reassuring at all! Things seem to be going in the direction we dread to see.

  1. AM I A CONSTANT FIGHTER? I MAKE MYSELF THE VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS

So far we are talking about the present crucial situation. But Valente wants to put me back into the larger picture and crown me as the “unstoppable fighter” (or of a “gladiator” in the parlance of certain high ranking Eminence).

Valente accuses me of “20 year mobilization against any steps taken by the Holy See to foster relations between the chinese authorities and the Catholic Church which he did not approve of.” Even more, “a set and pre-packaged representation of the case of chinese Catholics over past 70 years, which aims to sweep under the carpet any facts that are not useful in the ongoing struggle.”

Seventy years are so many. Seventy years ago the chinese communists have not yet conquered the power. Would I be guilty of having distorted the whole history of the Church in China under communist regime from its very beginning? How can I answer to accusation of such dimensions?

May be it makes more sense to talk about the 20 years. It was the 1996. At the end of that year, I was made the Coadjutor Bishop of Hong Kong. If I am not mistaken, Gianni Valente was then very much my friend and would not have qualified me as a fighter. He knew and appreciated the fact that right after the Tiananmen Square incident I entered China and for seven years went around teaching in the Seminaries of the official Catholic Community (Shanghai, Xian, Wuhan, Shijiazhuang, Beijing, Shenyang) spending six months a years there, in continuous dialogue with those our brothers and their persecutors. It was a long living together. The authorities treated me rather kindly, so I have no personal resentment towards those communists. Had Rome not made me a bishop, I would have continued teaching philology and theology in those seminaries “with high appreciation from the authorities for my good behaviour”.

But during that long living together I witnessed the humiliation of those our Bishops, the suffering of so many bothers because of their faith and their deep “sensus Ecclesiae” which made me feel very humble.

It may be more exact to say that the “mobilization” started in 2006, i.e. ten years later, when Pope Benedict made me a Cardinal. If since then I am a fighter, it was not out of my own whim. I speak out because I am the voice of the voiceless. In China there is no freedom of expression!

May I be allowed a digression? I can not believe that Valente ignores the fact that in China there is no freedom of expression. Then how can he affirm that the bishops he interviewed in China could say whatever they wanted? Especially those bishops who are trying to come out from the underground and get recognition from the Government, they can only say what please the Government. One of them told Valente: “there is no Patriotic Association in my diocese”. The next day Government officer came to set up the Association. Valente may not know that.

I am the voice of the voiceless not only to protest against the Communist Authorities, but also to put certain questions to our Roman Authorities. All these years actions were posited which offend the doctrine and the discipline of our Church: illegitimate and excommunicated bishops perform pontifical rites and sacred ordinations, legitimate bishops take part in illegitimateepiscopal ordinations up to four times; almost the total participation of the bishops of the official community at the National Assembly of catholic representatives. No word came from Rome! Don’t our brothers in China have the right to get confused and make questions?

  1. INTERNAL FIGHT? AM I AGAINST THE DIALOGUE? THE DIALOGUE MUST SUCCED AT ANY COST?

What Valente emphasizes is not my fight against the communists, but rather my dissent from those in Rome who hold the handle of the knife in matters regarding the Church in China.

Indeed, this is serious matter. But where is the problem? Some say: you are against the dialogue! How can that be? I strongly believe in what Pope Benedict says in his letter of 2007, chapter IV, section7, “…the solution to existing problems cannot be pursued via an ongoing conflict with the legitimate civil authorities (obviously only in the conclusions of dialogue you have finally the solution of problems). But the Pope went on saying: “…at the some time compliance with those authorities is not acceptable when they interfere unduly in matters regarding the faith and discipline of the Church”. The same principle was affirmed by Pope Francis when he spoke to the Asian Bishops in Korea, that the first condition for a true dialogue consists in the “coherence to one’s own identity.”

So the foundation for hoping in the success of a dialogue lies in the sincere will to respect one’s own identity and that of the dialogue partner. Is there such foundation in our case? Can a totalitarian Government accept a religion which claims its own supreme internal authority? Can a religion submit itself to the complete control of an atheist Government?

We must face the fact that the communist Government is a true dictatorship! When I likened our dialogue with a communist Government to San Joseph going to talk to Herod, it sounded like a joke. But it is not that far from the reality. Our dignitaries in the Roman curia, have they ever studied Marxism-Leninism? Yes, don’t forget Lenin, he gave a “eternal” structure to what Karl Marx said to be a “temporary” dictatorship of the proletariat once they achieved the victory in the class struggle.

Dear Italians, you should be grateful to the Lord for having spared you the modern forms of dictatorship: Nazism and communism (Mussolini’s fascism is a laughing matter in comparison). Those who have not lived under those forms of dictatorship may have difficulty to measure all their horror!

In dictatorship regime there is no compromise, there is only total submission, slavery and humiliation.

The chinese communists, after they have killed hundreds of thousands, maybe they don’t need to kill so many nowadays. But the “state of violence” reigns, total denial of most basic human rights.

Who doesn’t know that today chinese communists are ever more arrogant abroad and oppressive at home? (a recent article by George Weigel in First Thing may give you some update). This same Government will use kindness with the Vatican? With all the recent facts (removal of crosses and demolition of Churches and all the speeches and brain washing sessions on the right of the State to guide and lead the religions) how can our most eminent Secretary of State say that “the prospective of dialogue are promising”?

A priest of the underground community, forty years old, name “PEACE”, very much learned and zealous, esteemed and loved by all who know him, died in mysterious circumstance in early November 2015. The public security says they found the body in a river, he must have killed himself. But they refuse to supply any evidence to clarify the true cause of death.

This priest had written: “How can we hope that, while all religions are led by the Government through the Patriotic Association, we Catholics may be exempted? How can we hope to enjoy freedom of speech, while all people in China are deprived of such right?”

So the conclusion is to refuse dialogue? No. But you must go to the negotiating table ready to admit, in the end, perhaps for the hundredth time, that dialogue is not yet possible. How can you reasonably hope in the success of the dialogue? Will the chinese communists give up a little of the complete control of the official community of Catholics they firmly hold in their hands? In the case the dialogue fails, they lose nothing. But they come willingly to the dialogue hoping to bring home a signature, the final blessing of the Popes on the present abnormal state of that Church, which, objectively, is already schismatic. The Popes prefer to avoid the word “schism” only because they know many have been forced into it under severe pressure. To be able to conclude the dialogue at any cost, are our people ready to pay the price of canonizing a schismatic Church?

Seemingly they are limiting the discussion to the question of Bishops’ appointment. But how can they leave out of consideration so many other problems which are enormous? As about the bishops appointment seemingly they tend to ratify the present procedure adopted by the official Church. But that is unacceptable. “Democratic election?” (there is no election in China not manipulated by the Government!); approval by the Bishops Conference? (There is no real Bishops’ Conference, only a name!); final consent of the Pope? (a simple formality?) What about the underground community? Every body will have to join this “Chinese Church”? No more Catholic Church in China! (in chinese the Catholic Church is called “Church of God”, in the term “Chinese Church of God” the contradiction is not obvious, while it is obvious in the term “Chinese Catholic Church”, where “Chinese” contradicts “Catholic”!).

  1. OSTPOLITIK

At this pointy I can’t help mentioning the Ostpolitik. “It’s past history!” No, our leaders in the Vatican are still full of illusion in the “miracle” worked by their teacher Cardinal Casaroli (no doubt he was a holy priest).

Originally Ostpolitik is about politics; in that field it makes sense, because here there is the possibility of some bargaining, trading economic gain for political concessions. But what do we have to bargain with those who only understand reasons of money and power? Can we sell the only thing we have: the spiritual power?

The Vatican diplomacy adopted the Ostpolitik under John XXIII and Paul VI. The situation of separation from the East Europe called for a way out. But was the Ostpolitik a real way out? The Iron Curtain cut all the channels of communication. The Popes and Commissions of Cardinals, in the almost complete lack of information, could only give Casaroli carte blanche, and Casaroli had to work in that quasi darkness (while the offices in the Vatican were full of spies – see “The End and the Beginning by George Weigel).

What achievements? “We assured the ecclesiastical hierarchy!” But what hierarchy? Puppet bishops, not shepherds of the flock but ravening wolves, officers of the atheist Governments! “We found a modus non moriendi!” The Churches in those countries have not been saved through the Vatican diplomacy but thanks to the unswerving faith of the simple faithful!

So “confrontation is the only way?” But how can you call it “confrontation”, that of a lamb which refuses to be eaten by the wolf?

Valente has written some time ago that even Cardinal Stephen Wyszynski supported the Ostpolitik of Casaroli. How ridiculous! Of course a gentleman as Cardinal Wyszynski was, he would never publicly criticize the appointment of Casaroli as the Secretary of State by Pope John Paul II or the way Casaroli fulfilled his role.

Why John Paul II has made that appointment? In a film John Paul II is made to say that, precisely because the two had different ways of understanding things,they could complement each other. May be very true. But not a few historians think (maliciously? I don’t think so) that by that appointment John Paul II wanted to reassure his enemies; Casaroli could serve as the “smoke screen”, while John Paul II would work out, from his studio, his own politics of Liberation of Poland from the communist dictatorship.

Late November 2008, I learned about a solemn commemoration of the 50o anniversary of the first illegitimate episcopal ordination in China being in preparation in Beijing. I rushed to Rome, was received by Pope Benedict accompanied by Cardinal Bertone. I pointed out that the commemoration was a act of challenge to the Pope’s letter of 2007 and given the existance of unofficial channel of communication with Beijing, the Vatican should voice its protest. I added a comment saying: Beijing Government dares to challenge the Vatican because they realized that the Vatican was playing Ostpolitik. At that point Pope Benedict said to Bertone: “Do you remember, when John Paul II came here, he said ‘Basta (enough) (to Ostpolitik)!’ There is no need I add anything.”

  1. POPES APPOINT BISHOPS WHO ARE IN THE PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION AND DO NOT DEMAND THAT THEY LEAVE THE ASSOCIATION. SO?

There is a particular case about which Valente feels so strongly. I must say a word on that. He says popes have appointed bishops who are in the Patriotic Association where they may even hold high position. So, “the fact that those bishops were formal members of the Patriotic Association was never (in the Italian original there is the close ‘di per sé’ which is missing in the English text) an impediment to the full and recognized sacramental communion and hierarchy between them and the Successor of Peter.” Besides, the Popes have never imposed on them the duty of leaving the Association “as a condition for obtaining a papal mandate for their episcopal ministry.”

Of course, when the Pope appoints or recognizes bishops, he gives them the sacramental and jurisdictional power, but this does not prove that “di per sé” there is no contradiction with their membership in the Patriotic Association, which according to Benedict’s letter, is founded on principles contrary to catholic ecclesiology.

The faithful in China often point their finger on this contradiction. The Vatican is not used to answer questions. I drafted a “sussidio (Aid or guide) for the reading of Pope Benedict’s letter”. He had read it carefully and approved it,  for obvious reasons only the chinese translation was printed.

In that “sussidio” I first quoted from the letter, Chapter VIII, section 11, where, concerning cases of legitimatization (and approval, which would be of the same nature) the Pope lamented two inconveniences: “1o in most cases priests and the faithful have not been adequately informed that their Bishop has been legitimized, … 2 o what is more, some legitimized Bishops have failed to provide any clear signs to prove that they have been legitimized”. Hence the Pope made the following 2 recommendations: “1o that legitimization, once it has occurred, is brought into the public domain at the earliest opportunity, and 2o that the legitimized Prelates provide unequivocal and ever clearer signs of full communion with the Successor of Peter”.

My comments were: “So, there is no contradiction in Pope’s letter, but there is contradiction, i.e. incoherence, in certain legitimized or approved bishops, they have been accepted into the hierarchical communion by the generosity of the Holy Father, but they failed to live it up coherently. How can people who, in every occasion, shout loud their support for an independent Church, consider themselves to be in communion with the See of Peter?

  1. NEED OF CLARITY

When the successor of the successor of Cardinal Tomko had his successor, during a meeting, actually the last one, of the Standing Committee of the Commission for the Church in China chaired by him, it was clear to the participants that after a long period of tolerance of the situation of incoherence, resulting in a total failure, it was time for a change of the strategy: clarity is necessary! The meeting agreed on a preliminary stage of Catechesis, i.e. to tell everybody that the Patriotic Association is not acceptable. I don’t know how much action followed that consensus.

The matching of time allows me to believe that the consensus of that meeting was somehow been communicated to the Diocese of Shanghai. That may explain the fact that Bishop Thaddeus Ma at the end of his Episcopal ordination made that statement (met by a prolonged thunderous applause of the People of God).

What happened in Shanghai four years ago, the 7 of July, should help the whole world to see the absurd tenet of the religious policy in China: “if you love your country, you must act against your religious conscience!” They were forcing the highly respected Bishop Aloysius Jin, S.J. to concelebrate with an illegitimate bishop, and at the mass of ordination of his successor, to prove his loyalty to his country?! The old man could not allow himself to bear this further humiliation!

But today we see that in all similar cases the advice from above is to accept the humiliation, to compromise, to surrender…

At the stunning news of Bishop Ma’s “about face” many suspected some kind of intervention from Rome. After a week Fr. Lombardi answered that “any (such) speculation…is inappropriate”, I would say “unhelpful”, but “unavoidable”. We are still waiting for some clarification.

O Lord! Have you not told Peter “strengthen your brothers!”?

P.S. Dear Gianni, this piece I have written has casted me a lot, I am still convalescent. Please, spare me further labour!

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Italian Text:

http://oldyosef.hkdavc.com/2016/07/18/un-appello-doloroso/

Chinese Text:

http://oldyosef.hkdavc.com/2016/07/29/從一個「沉痛的呼籲」講起(回應gianni-valente)/

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