WASHINGTON – Conservative Catholics are expressing shock at Pope Francis’ zeal in embracing the totalitarian government of China by first agreeing to replace underground church leaders with state-chosen hacks and now with a top Vatican official saying “those who best realize the social doctrine of the church are the Chinese.”
Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, an Argentinian, is Pope Francis’ chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences told Vatican Insider that China is exercising global moral leadership in the defense of human dignity.
On a recent trip, Sorondo said: “I found an extraordinary China; what people do not know is that the central Chinese principle is ‘work, work, work.’ … As Paul said: ‘He who does not work does not eat.’ You do not have shantytowns; you do not have drugs; young people do not have drugs. There is a positive national consciousness — they want to show that they have changed; they already accept private property.”
Continuing in his lavish praise of Chinese-style Communism, Sorondo said “they [the Chinese] seek the common good, subordinate things to the general good.” China, he added, has “defended the dignity of the human person” and, in the area of climate change, is “assuming a moral leadership that others have abandoned.”
Contrasting China with the U.S. under President Trump, the bishop asked, “How is it possible that oil multinationals manage Trump?”
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The comments come in the wake of the Vatican’s move, following 18 months of negotiations with leaders in Beijing to plot a normalization of relations, to replace two loyal, Chinese bishops with two state-backed bishops who had been excommunicated when they were consecrated illicitly. The two that have been reportedly asked to step aside are 88-year-old Peter Zhuang Jianjian and 70-year-old Joseph Guo Xijin. Replacing them are two bishops of the Chinese Politburo – Huang Bingzhang and Vincent Zhan Silu, handpicked by the Chinese Communist Party.
Criticism within the church has been heavy.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, the 86-year-old retired bishop of Hong Kong, wrote an open letter posted on Facebook, saying the Vatican is “selling out” struggling Catholics. The Vatican, he said, has deferred to a “fake” Chinese structure.
Steve Mosher, a Catholic with decades of experience in China, including being tossed in jail, asked: “Why should the Catholic Church participate in its own dissolution and destruction? Why would we do this?” He told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo that the Vatican’s negotiating strategy is “simply negotiating the surrender of the underground Church” to a false church created by China’s atheists.
As to the recent comments by Sorondo, Catholic author Paul Kengor wrote: “That, of course, is a jaw-dropper. You couldn’t find a radical leftie at the Huffington Post or even The Nation who would dare drop that whopper.”
Kengor points out that China accounts for half the world’s female suicides and still practices population control and forced abortion.
“Let’s be candid about this, as this is a dire moment that demands frank talk,” writes Kengor. “These are the thoughts of a person who is ideologically unhinged. Pope Francis has warned of the corrupting force of ideology; our always-candid pope condemns ideological ‘fanatics.’ Well, here’s a bishop close to Francis whose ability to comprehend reality has been corrupted by ideology.”
Kengor quotes George Neumayr, former editor of Catholic World Report, as telling him: “I wrote about the pope’s capitulation to the Chinese communists in my book, ‘The Political Pope.’ The most recent developments were telegraphed by the pope years ago. I also wrote about the bishop. … He has been a Vatican gateway for the (George) Soros crowd and very much reflects the pope’s thinking. He is the one who set up the Bernie Sanders invite to the Vatican and made a point of telling everyone that Sanders was the only presidential candidate invited. … His academy is overflowing with socialists and communists.”
Kengor, who calls Sorondo, “an old Argentinian friend of Francis who’s part of his inner circle,” believes the pope is deeply influenced by his ideas.