Doesn’t that title come across as ever-so-slightly Orwellian? Actually, more than ever-so-slightly; it amounts to a deal with some of Satan’s representatives here on earth, Beijing branch.
The Communist Chinese have the Catholic Church under their bootheels. Which comes as little surprise; virtually everything else that smacks of freedom of conscience is forbidden or strictly circumscribed by the “People’s Republic” of China.
The PRC, like all other such countries that claim they are the “people’s” are neither belonging to the people of China, nor are they a republic in any meaningful sense of the term. They were, from their founding in an ocean of blood, a brutal and godless dictatorship. Any church that deals with this devil should know what it is dealing with. Some basics about CPCA from Wikipedia:
Chinese Catholics who accept CPCA directives on the government of the Church are clearly not heretical per se, even though the approval of abortion and artificial contraception that has been attributed to the CPCA verges on heresy. In, for instance, inviting bishops appointed under CPCA rules to attend as Catholics in full communion with Rome an assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the Holy See has indicated that it does not consider that the Church in mainland China (as distinct from the division of the Religious Affairs Bureau known as the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association) approves of abortion and artificial contraception. “The Holy See has continued to consider the episcopal ordinations in China fully valid.” The clergy whom they ordain therefore conserve valid Holy Orders, and the other sacraments that require a priest as minister (in particular the Eucharist) are also considered valid.
Note that Rome has little objection to a government-controlled branch of the Roman Catholic Church. A government that is, to say the least, in direct violation of the Church’s otherwise-principled stand in favor of life: against abortion; against euthanasia; against the death penalty. All three of which are alive and well, if you’ll pardon the evil pun, in PRC.
It may not be a sin for Chinese Catholics to worship in a church that is regulated by the state. It surely is, however, a sin for the Roman Church to tolerate this state of affairs — under which a branch of Christ’s church allows a government to dictate how it is run, and to appoint its bishops, who, are, after all, supposed to be Christ’s representatives. That’s Christ, as in our Savior; not representatives of one of the most brutal dictatorships that has ever soiled the earth.
There is a good summary painted of this cooperation between the Vatican and PRC at America Magazine.:
In officially registered churches, which agree to operate under government regulation, worshipers celebrate the liturgy as reformed by the Second Vatican Council and openly pray for the pope. They operate seminaries and retreat houses. Most government-appointed bishops have been recognized by the Vatican, and in the last few years bishops have been ordained with approval of both the government and the Holy See.
There’s more. Much more, about the accommodation that the Vatican has made and will continue to make with PRC. This may be unfair, but it smacks yet again of the tip-toeing dance of Pius XII with Nazi Germany. A dance that allowed the Vatican to tolerate the intolerable, all in the name of protecting the church.
Any Christian church should simply go with this simple statement from our Savior. Matthew 22:21: “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” How a Christian worships is most certainly not the province of Caesar.