Friday, April 08, 2005

Comments to a Friend on China-Vatican Relations

I did an interview with the Chinese service of RCI on China-Vatican relations the other day, so I have had the matter in my mind. The key to the issue is who controls the naming of bishops. There could be accommodation there, but it is a lot to ask of the Vatican to make concessions on this in a formalized way. But the Catholic Patriotic Association is something of an embarrassment for the CCP as they only control a minority of Chinese Catholics and even some local governments ignore them and allow Rome-loyal churches to function openly in their area. When I toured China with a church delegation including a Canadian Catholic bishop in 2000, I observed a mass presided over by an "illegal" Chinese bishop (with 18 years of prison behind him over 3 arrests) in Henan who was a member of the local zhengxie (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference). So it could be good from all points of view to get the CPA and Vatican collaborating. When I accompanied Bishop Fu Tieshan and other Chinese religious leaders in Canada two years ago, the Catholic Church here would not allow him to attend mass as he is not considered in communion with them.

No comments: