General Discussion (12)

If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to  make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread or another thread where it would be appropriate to post your comment, as the GD discussion threads fills up very quickly.  Readers, all too often, go straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes – at the very least check the side-bar – before posting here, please and thank you!

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Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions.Whatever.   Enjoy! 

To read previous 10 General Discussion Threads, click on the links listed below.
(1) click here  (2) click here  (3) click here  (4) click here  (5) click here
(6) click here 
(7) click here  (8) click here (9) click here (10) click here
(11) click here 

Church Militant aka Soldiers of Christ…

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Catholics protest at Tim Kaine’s parish: If priest won’t ‘instruct parishioners’ on Church teaching, we will

RICHMOND, Virginia, August 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Roughly a dozen pro-life activists protested Sunday outside of pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine’s Catholic parish. 

“Sen. Kaine has failed in his duty as a Catholic public servant to defend the preborn and Fr. Arsenault has failed in his duty as pastor to admonish Sen. Kaine and to instruct the rest of his congregation on the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the sanctity of human life,” Virginia pro-life activist Maggie Egger told LifeSiteNews in an email.

“I, along with a group of Catholics from various parishes around the Diocese of Richmond, went to St. Elizabeth’s yesterday to do what Sen. Kaine and Fr. Arsenault will not: defend our preborn brethren by exposing abortion as the decapitation and dismemberment of tiny human beings, instruct the parishioners of St. Elizabeth’s on the teachings of the Church, and inform them that Sen. Kaine publicly supports the decapitation and dismemberment of tiny human beings under the guise of being ‘personally pro-life,’” Egger said.

Kaine’s parish, St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, gave him a standing ovation at Mass after he became Hillary Clinton’s running mate. His pastor, Father Jim Arsenault, praised Kaine in an NPR interview.

“I know that he’s definitely against capital punishment and works to help defend those who are on death row,” Arsenault said. “The church has a teaching with regard to we’re pro-life, and we believe in that seamless garment of life. We respect sometimes lawmakers make difficult decisions.” Arsenault was commenting on how as governor of Virginia, Kaine oversaw several executions. The priest told NPR that he thought the issues most important to Kaine were women’s pay and “social justice issues.”

Frances Bouton, one of the event’s organizers, told LifeSiteNews that the protest didn’t disrupt Mass and the pro-life activists felt St. Elizabeth’s was an appropriate venue to protest given it was where Kaine was praised so heavily after becoming the Democratic vice presidential candidate. She said the protestors waited until the 9 a.m. Mass had begun and latecomers had arrived before setting up outside the church.

Most of the people at the Mass saw the anti-Kaine signs outside St. Elizabeth’s when Mass was over, Bouton said, but none of them spoke to the protestors.

“We understand that the priest had told his parishioners … not to talk to the media. We don’t know whether that also included … us,” she said.

“There were some people who stood at the top of the stairs and spent time reading our signs” after Mass, Bouton said. “Some of them took a long time to read the signs.”

The protestors’ message to St. Elizabeth’s was “by honoring Tim Kaine you are supporting all that he supports,” Bouton said.

Kaine touts his Catholic faith and Jesuit education but supports abortion and same-sex “marriage.” As governor of Virginia, Kaine opposed partial-birth abortion and authorized the state’s “Choose Life” license plate option. Nevertheless, “I don’t think ultimately we ought to be criminalizing abortion,” he said at the time, and maintained his support for abortion as governor.

But once he became a U.S. Senator, the role of Kaine’s “personally pro-life” views in his politics became nonexistent.

Planned Parenthood gives him a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate, when he has supported the abortion giant. NARAL Pro-Choice America also gives him a 100 percent for his time in the Senate. Kaine co-sponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill to undermine pro-life laws across the country.

Upon announcing Kaine as Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential candidate, the Clinton campaign immediately said Kaine had decided to support taxpayer-funded abortion in order to assume that role. Several days later, Kaine denied doing so

Kaine said he has become “comfortable with the notion that I can have my personal views but I’m going to support the president of the United States — and I will.”

“In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Catholics and people of good will are called to perform acts of mercy,” the protestors said in a press release. “In the Catholic Church, we are given specific corporal and spiritual works of mercy — seven of each.  The corporal works include feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and burying the dead.  But it is two spiritual works of mercy [that] we hope to perform in front of St. Elizabeth’s Church — admonishing the sinner and instructing the ignorant.”

There are a lot of “low-information Catholics” who “just haven’t been [properly] catechized,” Bouton said, and when “they don’t see bishops” calling out pro-abortion politicians, they are led to believe one can separate faith and public actions as a politician. “In this particular circumstance,” it’s a scandal that Kaine’s priest is praising him, Bouton said, and this can lead to further confusion.

Richmond Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo has said Catholics have a duty to determine their worthiness to receive Holy Communion “through an upright and informed conscience.” He has not ordered priests in his diocese to stop admitting Kaine to Holy Communion.

Canon 915 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law instructs that those “persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

“No parishioners talked to us … a few took pictures,” Egger said. “And when Fr. Arsenault was asked a question on his way past us to the rectory, he wouldn’t even look up at us.”  Click here to read the original Lifesitenews report with more photos of the group…

Comment:

WOW!  Now, those are Catholics, Confirmed Soldiers of Christ! 

Shouldn’t we be doing this sort of thing in Scotland and the wider UK? We’ve tried the letter-writing, we’ve tried petitions to enforce Canon 915, we’ve done the hand-wringing all round; nothing has worked. Would direct action make any difference – didn’t seem to make any difference to the priest in the above parish or his parishioners, let alone the bishop. Dead consciences. Still, it is, is it not, the sort of “in your face” militancy that just might hit home on our turf, if only because the clergy and hierarchy hate adverse publicity.  To be exposed as negligent, with “Canon 915” screaming forth from posters, just might have an impact.  Certainly, on the few occasions when we have publicly gathered a few faithful to protest (e.g. when St Patrick’s church in Glasgow was handed over to Buddhists for a concert) we felt that, at least, we had alerted those with open minds and hearts to the scandalous nature of the event.

Time to do more of this, perhaps close to elections – to name and shame the pro-abortion “Catholic” MPs/MSPs?  

Ideally, of course, it shouldn’t be left to us; we would be happy to follow the lead of the pro-life groups but they tend not to like this sort of thing.  A tad distasteful, although not half as distasteful as the sight of a murdered baby in a stainless steel dish, or the sight of the “Catholic” legislators responsible lining up in the Communion queue on Sundays.

So, ought we to consider following the example of these American cousins of ours? What thinkest thou, folks?

Benedict on “Providential” Pope Francis

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict have expressed appreciation for the friendship that has grown between them on the occasion of the publication of Elio Guerriero’s biography of Pope Benedict XVI. Both popes clearly value their friendship for the support and encouragement that it brings to them both.  

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, right, hugs Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica during the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday to launch his Holy Year of Mercy, declaring that mercy trumps moralizing in his Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Benedict XVI, right, hugs Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica during the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, 2015.  (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

 

Pope Benedict XVI on Pope Francis

Pope Benedict XVI spoke about his friendship with Pope Francis in a rare interview with  his biographer Elio Guerriero, published in La Reppublica (paraphrased by CNA):

“Speaking about Pope Francis, Benedict said that obedience to his successor “was never in discussion,” but that since Francis’ election, a feeling of “deep communion and friendship” has arisen between the two.

“At the moment of his election I experienced, as many, a spontaneous feeling of gratitude toward Providence,” he said, explaining that after having two Pope’s from Central Europe, “the Lord was turning, so to speak, his gaze to the Universal Church and invited us to a more extensive communion, more Catholic.”  [emphasis added by Editor CT]

Benedict said he was deeply moved by Pope Francis’ “extraordinary human availability to me” from the beginning. He noted how immediately after Francis was elected, the new Pope attempted to call him at his residence in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae monastery. Having failed to reach him, Francis called again right after greeting faithful from the balcony of St. Peter’s, this time succeeding. Pope Francis “spoke to me with great  warmth,” Benedict recalled, noting that since that day “he has given me the gift of a wonderfully paternal-fraternal relationship.”

Not only does Francis frequently send “little gifts” and personal letters to Benedict, but he also makes sure to visit his predecessor before embarking on every major trip he takes:

“The human benevolence with which he treats me, is for me a special grace of this last phase of my life for which I can only be grateful. What he says about availability to other men, are not only words. He puts it into practice with me. May the Lord in turn make him feel his benevolence every day. This I ask the Lord for him.”

Pope Francis on Pope Benedict XVI

John L. Allen has provided excerpts from Pope Francis’s preface to Elio Guerriero’s biography of Pope Benedict XVI:

“His discrete presence and his prayer for the Church are a continual support and comfort for my service. Who better than him can understand the joys, and also the difficulties, of service to the universal Church and the world of today, and be spiritually close to the one called by the Lord to carry that weight? For that reason, his prayer is especially precious, and his friendship especially appreciated.”

About there being two popes in the Church

“Since they love each other, it’s a beautiful novelty. In a certain sense it expresses in a particularly clear way the continuity of the Petrine ministry, without interruption, like links in a single chain forged by love. The holy people of God, on the path, have understood this very well. Every time the emeritus pope has appeared in public, at my invitation, and I was able to embrace him in front of everyone, the joy and the applause of those present has been sincere and intense.”

On the continuity between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI

“Everyone in the Church has a great debt of gratitude towards Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI for the depth and balance of his theological thought, always in the service of the Church, up to the highest responsibility; the contribution of his faith and culture to a magisterium capable of meeting the expectations of our time was fundamental. The courage and determination with which he faced difficult situations have shown the way to react with humility and truth, in the spirit of renewal and purification.”

The loving mercy of God is “the most urgent message of a Church reaching out, even to the peripheries, of a world marked by conflicts, injustices and disrespect for the human person. The entire life of thought and works of Joseph Ratzinger has aimed at that end, and in the same direction, with the help of God, I’ll try to continue.”

Comment [EWTN]

The role of the successor of St Peter has been described as one of the loneliest jobs in the world. The pope alone bears ultimate responsibility before God for the universal Church:

“The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power.” (Lumen Gentium, 22).

For any man occupying the throne of St Peter this realisation must at times be a great burden. It is good that Pope Francis has Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI close at hand supporting him in prayer and friendship.  Source

Comment

Clearly, those who claim that Pope Benedict must be concerned about the statements and actions of Pope Francis are plain wrong.  He actually sees the Francis pontificate as “providential”, apparently in the sense that this is a good pontificate.   At Catholic Truth, we were never under any illusions about Pope Benedict.  We spoke out to highlight his errors, just as we comment on the many errors of Pope Francis. But where do the reports of Pope Benedict’s ongoing  support for and pledge of unconditional obedience to Pope Francis leave those who consider Benedict to have been a faithful pontiff who must be suffering through the Francis pontificate? 

Keeping Catholic Education Alive

Comment:

The above film reveals the theory of Catholic education in action.  It is happening now, in our time, so it gives the lie to the claims that this kind of Catholic education is no longer possible in a secular society. Where, on this earth, is there a more secular society than in the USA?  No offence to our American bloggers! 

What is the key to the success of a genuine Catholic education such as that shown in the film, if not the deep Faith of the priests and teachers?  Is there another ingredient that you would argue is “the key”? 

Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office: New Director, Same Old Message

“Faith should be allowed to play a role in public life” writes newly-appointed Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office.

Writing in today’s Scotsman (Thursday 4 August) Anthony Horan counters claims that society is becoming less religious simply because increasing numbers of people no longer tick a “church” box on census forms suggesting this doesn’t mean they are not interested in the spiritual dimension of life or religious belief. Rather, the national census still shows that most Scots consider themselves Christian, while an overwhelming majority describe themselves as “spiritual”.   ESupremiPopePiuxXFRONTCOVER

Quoting Pope Francis, he says, “Our various religious traditions serve society primarily by the message they proclaim. They call individuals and communities to worship God, the source of all life, liberty and happiness”.

Whilst pointing to an increase in the number of Catholic in Scotland and across the world, Anthony sets out his mission to promote the Catholic faith and Social Teaching “in a way that positively engages secular society.”

The above extract is taken from the Scotsman article, reproduced in full below on the website of the Scottish Catholic Media Office…

Anthony Horan, Director, Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office

The political landscape in Scotland and the UK has rarely transfixed global media and international audiences as it has in recent weeks. The outcome of the Referendum on membership of the European Union has dominated the news cycle endlessly and engaged voters of all ages, creeds, nationalities and backgrounds.

Inevitably, given the nature and scale of the challenges at home and abroad facing our elected representatives, including economic security and trade, migration, education and medical ethics, it is unsurprising that their values, track records and proposals have been subject to intense scrutiny. Indeed, it seems society is in a state of flux. Faith and belief in a constant and ever-loving God can guide us in such times of deep uncertainty, and opportunity.

Yet whilst issues of belief and faith, in how human beings perceive the world have rarely been so important in society, they have perhaps never been so poorly understood. Indeed, increasing calls for the removal of religion and faith from public life continue to fill columns in our newspapers and social media. But faith in and of itself is not just important for human flourishing and the renewal of society, rather society can best flourish if faith is given freedom to make its unique contribution.

As Pope Francis has said, “Our various religious traditions serve society primarily by the message they proclaim. They call individuals and communities to worship God, the source of all life, liberty and happiness”.”Religious freedom” he said, “certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in community, as our consciences dictate. But religious liberty, by its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families.” Indeed, Pope Francis has warned against modern tyrannical societies which “seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a sub culture without right to a voice in the public square.”

Faith should be allowed to play a role in public life. The legacy of Christianity is to uphold the respective competencies of the spiritual and the temporal.

Unsurprisingly, however, some commentators have sought to exploit recent Scottish Social Attitudes survey figures which suggests that over half of respondents do not identify with a church or religion, as an indicator of society’s declining religiosity – a reason to remove God, once and for all, from public life. However, the fact that increasing numbers of people no longer tick a “church” box on census forms doesn’t mean they are not interested in the spiritual dimension of life or religious belief. Indeed the national census still shows that most Scots consider themselves Christian, while an overwhelming majority describe themselves as “spiritual”.

Globally the Catholic Church continues to see growth. In Scotland, there are currently more students studying for the priesthood than at any time in the last ten years, while the number of Catholics measured by the National Census increased between 2001 and 2011.

As newly appointed Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office, my mission is to promote our faith and Catholic Social Teaching in a way that positively engages the secular society in which we live. We need to reach out to all people and an important part of this will be working with young people to tap into their energy and enthusiasm; they are the future of our Church and of our country.

I am looking forward to meeting politicians and other stakeholders and building positive, friendly relationships with a view to developing ways to promote Church teaching in the political environment. The Catholic Church in Scotland is devoted to the common good and has the wellbeing of all people at her heart.

Enshrined in our Catholic faith is a commitment to bear witness to Christ in our daily lives, at home and in public. In my role I will work for the Bishops of Scotland, the Catholic church and people of all faiths and none, striving to respect and uphold the dignity of each person, particularly the weakest and most vulnerable; upholding the value of all human life from conception to natural death; cherishing the family as the fundamental unit of our society; advocating social and economic justice for all; and caring for the common home we inhabit.

Scotland is a diverse, vibrant and politically engaged nation with a rich social, economic and political history. Faith and religious belief in the public square can play a role in shaping a resilient Scotland in the future.  It should be welcomed and valued, without fear or favour. As Pope Francis said: “We are all Political animals, with a capital P. We are called to constructive political activity among our people.” Visit Scottish Catholic Media Office website to read more.

Comment:

The following commentary on the recent appointment of Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office, is published in the September edition of our newsletter, which will in the post early next week:

To date, the Scottish Government has not been challenged at all, either by the Bishops themselves when invited to offer a “reflection” in the Parliament, or by their spokesmen in the Parliament.  Despite the evil legislation already passed, the Bishops have remained silent, with Pontius Pilate as their Patron Saint.  It took, remember, families and a pro-active Protestant organisation (The Christian Institute) to mount a legal challenge to the intrusive Named Person Scheme. 

It does not augur well, therefore, to hear the new official Parliamentary spokesman for the Bishops set himself the goal of developing positive and friendly relationships with parliamentarians.  Let me assure him, from firsthand experience, that when there is a stark divide in religious beliefs and morals, there cannot be “positive and friendly relationships” between a fully believing Catholic and those who seek to overturn God’s law in the name of equality and diversity. Just as there is no “diversity” for drivers on any motorway you care to name, so there can be no alternative to God’s law.  We keep it, or overturn it at our eternal peril. And any Bishop or lay spokesman who does not spell that out to the politicians with whom they interact, will make VIP friends, sure enough – but with the following blunt warning ringing in their ears: “For, what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? (Matt 16:26) To quote Archbishop Fulton Sheen: “A religion that doesn’t interfere with the secular order will soon discover that the secular order will not refrain from interfering with it.”

Additionally, having read the Scotsman article since penning the above commentary, I would add two points: firstly, the idea of “Faith” (The Church) seeking permission to “play a role in public life” is ludicrous: secondly, the quote attributed to Pope Francis is in stark contradiction to Christ’s command to “baptise all nations”. Pope Francis apparently thinks it’s better that “Our various religious traditions serve society primarily by the message they proclaim. They call individuals and communities to worship God, the source of all life, liberty and happiness.” The entire tone of Mr Horan’s article reflects this “inter-faith” mentality.   Thus, there will be no grace in this new appointment.  In summary, there is, in effect, no change at the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office. A new Director, no new direction. Same old “diplomacy” with the politicians laughing all the way to their next piece of evil legislation, aware that there will be no meaningful challenge from the Catholic Church.  Perhaps you disagree? Let’s hear it…    

I'm hoping I'll get diplomatic immunity at my Judgment...

I’m hoping I’ll get diplomatic immunity at my Judgment…

Abortion Industry: Marie Stopes Exposed

embryo - 3 days

Embryo – 3 days – click on image for information about fetal development

The Marie Stopes abortion industry is in trouble after a surprise inspection by the Care Quality Commission Read more here

This news – reported in the broadcasting and print media days ago, makes the article below, published in 2015, all the more interesting…

7 Things you did not know about Marie Stopes International
June 12, 2015

  1. They treat their staff appallingly 

One Marie Stopes employee refused to comply with their anti-patient protocols and threatened to expose their behaviour. He received racist comments at work along with bullying, before being given false charges of sexual assault leading to a high profile crown court trial in March 2009 with the attendant media frenzy.

  1. Their medical practices are shocking

Former employees have testified that the abortion industry is a money driven business. Once you have a license it is just money all the way. You don’t pay taxes because you are a charity, you employ vulnerable doctors and nurses at cheap rates and exploit vulnerable girls from Ireland, Scotland and England. The managers make huge bonuses, go on expensive skiing holidays, buy designer clothes and shoes and watch porn during working hours and organise sex theme parties. Medical decisions are taken by non-medical managers. Employees are forced to counter sign consent forms without having seen the patient and often in advance. Employees have been forced to anaesthetise against the protocols of the Royal College and they told their employees that the GMC and Royal Colleges were in their pockets. In Ealing, West London, Marie Stopes have ambulances regularly called to the abortion centre (4 in a 40 day time period in 2013), as they arrive to deal with the issue of botched abortions. An Irish woman died in the same centre in January 2012, shortly afterwards, Dr Phanuel Dartey was struck off the General Medical Register in Britain for almost killing a woman in the same centre. Another Marie Stopes employee performed botched surgery on five patients after claiming he could revolutionise their sex lives.

  1. They boast about providing illegal abortions all around the world

At a conference in London in 2007, Paul Cornellisson boasted how Marie Stopes promotes illegal abortion all around the world. Marie Stopes are happy to provide abortions breaking the laws of many different countries.

  1. The British taxpayer supports their work to the tune of millions of pounds every year… Click  here to read the entire list of 7…

Comment:

It’s very good news that the Stopes’ clinics are being exposed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) but the whole scandal of abortion law in the UK seems to be dulled in the Catholic conscience. Two of the so called  Catholic weekly publications are reporting the suspension of services at Marie Stopes as being welcomed by “Pro-Lifers” –  making a distinction between those actively working in the pro-life movement and Catholics in general.  

No Government is particularly bothered about a few activists fighting for their preferred causes but it might make a difference if they thought the votes of every Catholic depended on the policy of political parties to ending abortion [and, indeed, the other immoral laws which attack the natural moral law]. Voting for individual “pro-life” candidates doesn’t cut it. The individual politicians don’t make policy, so the aim has to be to get political parties to change their policy and to commit themselves to ending the murdering of unborn babies. You are welcome to express your view on this, although the really interesting discussion is likely to centre on which one of “the 7 things you did not know about Marie Stopes International” you consider to be the most important fact to have in your armoury when in debate with the pro-abortionists.      

It's a girl!

It’s a girl!

Priest: Police Doctrinal Integrity of Bishops, Priests & Theologians…

August 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – In his book Magisterial Authority, Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD, says “the Church will not climb out of this tumultuous period” without reversing the “practice since the Second Vatican Council onward not to police the doctrinal integrity” among bishops, priests and theologians. The crucial observation comes at the end of nearly fifty years of destructive leniency, which has in the Francis pontificate taken on new dimensions.  Read more hereVaticanIIdocs


Comment

The examples in the Lifesitenews report of an ongoing – and growing – attitude of dissent among bishops, gives Fr Ripperger’s warning a stark urgency. But is his suggestion to police doctrinal integrity a practical one?  Any attempt, for example, to reinstate the anti-Modernist oath would be likely to result in outright rebellion.  So, how to police those who are supposed to be policing the Faith is the key topic of this thread.  Share your thoughts…

Pope Betrays Chinese Catholics

[Pope Francis] is preparing …to grant the communist authorities the privilege of selecting [episcopal] candidates. And he is exiling to an island in the Pacific the highest ranking Chinese archbishop in the curia, contrary to the agreement. But in China, Cardinal Zen has already taken the lead in the rebellion by Sandro Magister 

Communist appointed bishop in 2010

Communist appointed bishop in 2010

ROME, August 14, 2016 – In China, among the one hundred and nine Catholic bishops there are eight who have been consecrated at the behest of the communist authorities and who have never received the pope’s approval, thereby incurring excommunication, a couple of them with children and lovers.

But for none other than these eight, by the end of this summer or at the latest before the end of the jubilee Francis is ready to perform a spectacular gesture: a pardon.

Francis missed another stunning gesture by just a hair’s breadth last September 26, during his journey to Cuba and the United States.

That day, his touchdown in New York on his way to Philadelphia coincided with the landing of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who was expected at the United Nations. Everything had been calculated for the two to cross paths “accidentally” at the airport and exchange a greeting. Xi was aware of this ardent desire of the pope, but in the end he let it drop and the meeting did not take place.

From that moment on, however, the secret contacts between the Vatican and Beijing underwent an acceleration. In October and then in January a delegation of six representatives of the Holy See went to the Chinese capital. And in April of this year, the two sides set up a joint working group that now seems to have come to an understanding over a point that the Vatican takes very seriously: the appointment of bishops.

Since it has been in power, in fact, the Chinese communist party has wanted to equip itself with a submissive Church separate from Rome, with bishops of its own appointment ordained without the pope’s approval, beholden to a Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association that Benedict XVI called “irreconcilable” with Catholic doctrine.

A Church of the regime, therefore, on the verge of schism with its eight excommunicated bishops, contrasted with an “underground” Church with about thirty bishops earnestly faithful to the pope, which however pays all the costs of clandestinity – oppression, surveillance, arrest, abduction.

And in the middle the vast gray zone of the remaining dozens of bishops who were ordained illegitimately but then were more or less reconciled with Rome, or were ordained with the parallel recognition of Rome and Beijing but must still remain under the iron control of the communist authorities.

The bishop of Shanghai, Thaddeus Ma Daqin, ordained in 2007 with the twofold approval of the pope and the government, has been under house arrest for four years for the simple offense of having resigned from the Patriotic Association. Two months ago he retracted, but he is still deprived of his liberty. The eighty-five-year-old Joseph Zen Zekiun (in the photo), who has more freedom of speech in Hong Kong, has called “inevitable” the suspicion that this retraction was also desired by the Vatican, just to reach an agreement at any price.

That an agreement has already been reached was confirmed in recent days by Zen’s successor in the diocese of Hong Kong, Cardinal John Tong, with an open letter released in Chinese, English, and Italian that bears all the marks of wanting to prepare the faithful to make the best of a bad lot:

> Card. Tong: Communion of the Church in China with the Universal Church

Because the solution at which Tong hints is one of those against which Cardinal Zen has already raised covering fire to the point of threatening conscientious objection:

> Card. Zen: My concerns over China-Holy See dialogue and repercussions on Chinese Church

The example that is brought up most often is that of Vietnam, where the candidate for bishop is proposed by the Vatican but the government can veto him, and then on to other candidates until the government approves one of them.

But for China, the solution of which Cardinal Tong appears to have knowledge sees the roles reversed. The candidate will be selected and proposed to the Vatican by the Chinese episcopal conference. Only that this conference is a creature of the communist party, completely at the beck and call the regime, devoid of “underground” bishops and with one of the excommunicated eight as its president.

“Let us dare to believe that Pope Francis will accept nothing that could endanger the communion of the Church in China with the universal Church,” Tong wrote.

But the pope’s pardon of the eight illegitimate bishops will certainly not suffice to reassure him, Zen, and most Chinese Catholics.  Source – Sandro Magister – And click here to read Cardinal Zen’s outspoken blog post dated 17 January, 2016

Comment

If a Communist Government may choose candidates to be bishops in the Catholic Church during a period of Vatican II “Springtime”,  what was the problem with the episcopal ordinations carried out by Archbishop Lefebvre at a time of crisis?  Why the fuss?

Our sympathy must go to the Catholics doing their best to keep the Faith in the (real) Catholic  Church in China, forced to operate underground due to the ongoing persecution of priests and faithful, and now betrayed, it seems, by the Pope himself. 

Am I missing something? Is there any justification for this apparent betrayal?  

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