Supplement to my answer to Cardinal G.B. Re (10 March 2020)
Supplement to my answer to Cardinal G.B. Re
10 March 2020
1. The Problem is not between me and Re. The problem is with Cardinal Parolin.
It’s difficult to understand how this man has become so powerful to dominate the whole Roman Curia. He could dismiss the Commission for Church in China without a word and nobody stood up to protest against such impoliteness. He got rid of Archbishop Savio Hon making it appear as having to do with Cardinal Filoni by way of Neocatecumenals in Guan. He got rid of Card. Filoni too. It would have been normal to let Filoni reach his age of retirement in 2 years’ time. A half way surrender could not satisfy Parolin? The pastoral guidelines (28 June 2019) are not of the competence of the Congregation for Evangelization? And there is no Card. Filoni’s signature on it!
Is it not the responsibility of the Congregation for Doctrine to issue “nihil obstat” to any document having to do with Faith? But the Prefect of that Congregation doesn’t know anything about the “Pastoral Guidance”.
Now this responsibility seems to be taken up by the Dean of the Cardinals! (Or by the editor of “Civiltà Cattolica” or by Mr. Tornielli?)
Archbishop Viganò is courageous in coming out to support me. I am grateful to him. But I don’t agree with him when he says that Parolin is a tool used by Pope Francis; my personal impression is that Parolin manipulates the Pope, at least in things regarding the Church in China.
2. The most serious problem is not the secret Agreement of September 2018 (by the way, what can you say about something “secret”, which you don’t know? The only thing to do is to demand that it be made public). The “Pastoral Guidance” of 28 June is more blatantly evil, immoral, because it legitimizes a schismatic Church!
There is much confusion and contradiction in that document.
(a) Here and elsewhere Parolin has repeatedly affirmed that the word “independent” should today no more be understood as “absolutely independent”, because in the Agreement the Pope is recognized as the Head of the Catholic Church (I cannot believe this, until they show me the Chinese text of the agreement).
Then, if we take the words of Parolin, he should see nothing wrong in signing a document where you promise to join an independent Church.
(b) but contradicting himself he sees something wrong in doing so, and so he says: you must, at the same time, make some protest (written or verbal, with or without a witness!?)
How do you reconcile the signing of a document and the protesting that you don’t mean what you sign? You use the signature to cheat the Government? Or you use the protest to cheat the Church? But you can not cheat yourself!
3. We need to clarify what we mean by a “bad” agreement.
RE: “Card. Zen has frequently stated that no Agreement would have been better than “a bad Agreement”. The last three popes did not share that view.”
ZEN: What do you mean? You mean a bad Agreement is better than no agreement? Obviously by ‘bad” we mean “immoral”, “against the Catholic conscience”!
RE: “The last three Popes…supported and closely followed the drafting of the Agreement”.
ZEN: Of course, they encouraged the effort aiming at a good Agreement, but they could not be sure of the outcome, because a good Agreement does not depend only on our good will.
RE: “The (actually signed) Agreement at present appears to be the only one feasible”.
ZEN: But if the only one feasible is a bad, immoral agreement because contrary to the fundamental tenet of Catholic Ecclesiology, how can you sign it? We can accept a partial, imperfect agreement, but not a bad one.
I find very appropriate in this connection a quotation from the letter of Pope Benedict in 2007 (Part one, last paragraph of No. 4) “The solution of 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.”
4. A final question: are we going towards the unity of the Church in China? What kind of unity? Which kind of Church?
During the years around 2000 there was a real hope that we could soon reconstruct the unity of the Catholic Church in China. Given the open policy of the government many illegitimate bishops were (secretly) recognized. In the same time you could be sure that the majority, nay, almost the totality of the believers, even in the Church under the control by the Government, had their hearts united with Rome. The Popes abstained from qualifying those communities as schismatic, even though, objectively, in their structure, they were such. I think I was the first one to have the chance, in the full assembly of a Synod, to proclaim that in China there was one Church: Roman Catholic!
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing today. During the last 20 years, because of the wrong policy of the Holy See in dealing with the Church in China, pursued by a group of people who dared even not to follow the line of the Pope, the underground community was more and more like abandoned, considered inconvenient, almost as an obstacle to unity, while in the community officially recognized by the Government the “opportunists” grow more and more numerous, fearless and defiant because encouraged by people inside and around the Vatican, intoxicated by their illusions of the Ostpolitik.
In such situation, with the arrival of Pope Francis, the Vatican could easily conclude its “operation unity”. (1) A secret Agreement, in which, we guess, the determining power in the selection of bishops is given into the hands of the Government. (2) seven illegitimate, excommunicated “bishops” made real bishops, without a visible sign of repentance for their incredibly defiant attitude in the past (in the process two legitimate bishops in the underground were ordered to step down). (3) finally everybody were invited to enter the ‘birds’ cage”, where the leaders of the old residents sing victory, while the new immigrants join them in sadness and feeling humiliated, fearing that otherwise they may be accused of disobedience to the Pope.
Is this the Catholic Church reunited? Only because the Pope has been made to believe that this is “the real thing”?