China’s state-controlled Catholic church wants to ordain at least 40 bishops “without delay”, its vice president said Friday, in a move likely to further irritate ties with the Vatican.
The Vatican and China have not had formal diplomatic ties since 1951. Beijing insists it has the right to ordain its own bishops, defying the Holy See, which says ordinations can only go ahead with the pope’s blessing.
In May, the pope himself called on Catholics across the world to pray that Chinese bishops refuse to separate from Rome, despite what he called “pressure” from communist authorities.
The Vatican and China cut ties when the Holy See angered Mao Zedong’s Communist government by recognising the Nationalist Chinese regime in Taiwan as the legitimate government of China.
The atmosphere worsened when in 1957 China set up its own Catholic Church administered by the atheist Communist government.
The 5.7 million Catholics in China are caught between staying loyal to the ruling Communist Party in Beijing and showing allegiance to the pope as part of an “underground” Church not recognised by the authorities.
Reminds me a bit of what King Henry VIII’s split from Rome. The issue of power and misunderstanding is the root here.
With Henry VIII, he misunderstood his power and authority as “king” and felt that this elevated him above any bishop in his country. Wrong. Ceaser/God dynamic here is misapplied.
With China, the Communist Party sees another way to manage a potential (the gravest threat to their rule) threat in the faithful. Controlling the shepherds means that, in a sense, the sheep are controlled. Think Herod and the Jewish leaders at the time of the Incarnation.
In the latter do not see a misapplication of theology but rather a grab for power through the misuse of theology. Unfortunately, the result is the same: persecution of Christians.
May God bless the laity, priest, religious and bishops who strive to maintain unity with Rome.