Pope Francis has agreed to fire two Roman Catholic bishops associated with the “underground church” in China, replacing them with stooges of the state-controlled church.

Why? He wants the Vatican to have better relations with China.

It’s an astonishing development from a pope who seems to take great pleasure lecturing the world on morality. In fact, it’s a complete capitulation to evil.

In effect, he is handing over authority to name leaders of his church to a tyrannical government that insists on controlling almost every aspect of the lives of its citizens – including the way they worship and practice their faith.

He has willingly delivered his persecuted flock over to evil.

It’s unconscionable. It’s cruel. It’s barbaric. It’s immoral. It’s wicked.

I have been critical of this pope in the past, and I’m gratified that many Catholics have stood by me in those dissents. But this action is simply beyond the pale. It’s hard to imagine even secular leaders currying favors with China by handing over millions of the innocent faithful into the clutches of totalitarian Communist fiends.

The pope, always a favorite of the international press because of his penchant for political correctness, has astonished even the elite media, which, at least has a sense that China has no tolerance for anything it does not control absolutely.

About half of the 10 to 12 million self-professing Catholics in China worship in state-approved churches run by apparatchiks of the authoritarian Beijing government, while the other half risk their livelihoods and arrest for worshipping underground.

“On a scale of evil from one to 10, this was a 10 … absolute evil,” said China expert Steven Mosher about the decision. “Crosses are currently being ripped off the top of churches, and home church leaders are being arrested and tortured. … Any political party that will kill 400 million of its own unborn citizens … will stop at nothing to achieve its goals.”

One underground church leader put it this way: “Everybody, and I mean everybody, knows someone who was murdered, or tortured, or disappeared to defend the principle that was just abandoned.”

This pope attacks Donald Trump for using his explicit constitutional prerogative to manage immigration in his own country, yet he yields his own authority to name bishops of his church. It’s a staggeringly hard thing to comprehend.

Officially, the Vatican has not had diplomatic relations with China since the Communist revolution in 1949. And, officially nothing changes with this decision. There have been no quid pro quo concessions by China that have been announced. In other words, the pope got bupkis for handing over two loyal Catholic bishops to the wolves – and maybe more in the future.

Beijing has so far appointed seven bishops Rome opposes, while there are at least 30 underground bishops still operating without the government’s approval but with Rome’s blessing. How would you like to be one of those 30 or more bishops after this surrender?

By the way, this “deal” was in the works through 18 months of negotiations.

Here’s how it went down for Bishop Zhuang Jianjian of the southern Chinese city of Shantou, an 88-year-old who had been secretly ordained in 2006 with Vatican approval.

In December, Bishop Zhuang was escorted by government officials to Beijing, where he was taken to the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse to meet a papal delegation believed to have been headed by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, who leads the Vatican’s China negotiating team.

Vatican envoys asked Bishop Zhuang to step aside in favor of Huang Bingzhang, an excommunicated bishop and a member of China’s rubber-stamp Parliament, the National People’s Congress. Huang was excommunicated in 2011 for accepting the government appointment of bishop despite being repeatedly warned against it by Rome.

Bishop Zhuang had tears in his eyes when the request was made and returned to Shantou.

The Vatican team is said to have then traveled to Fujian Province, where it asked another underground bishop, Guo Xijin, 59, to step down. He was also asked to serve as an assistant to Zhan Silu, a government-appointed bishop whose consecration the Vatican had previously declared illegal.

The Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, the editor of Asianews.it, said the developments showed that Vatican negotiators were prepared to give the Chinese government “carte blanche, and accept all requests and pose no opposition on questions that affect the church in China.”

Recently, Pope Francis suggested changing the words of the Lord’s Prayer – words that are properly, dutifully and accurately translated from the original Greek manuscripts in most Bibles. Perhaps, the best response to this action by the pope is simply to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

While the pope suggested changing the words “lead us not into temptation,” maybe his next suggestion will be deleting the phrase “deliver us from evil.”

If you want to learn more about the Coming Kingdom of God on Earth, get Joseph Farah’s groundbreaking book, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age.”

 

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