Vatican wheels and deals with China, meantime, China shutting down churches

 

It’s interesting that the AP just yesterday was reporting on the crack down on Christianity. At the same time, The Pope is wheeling and dealing with China.

In deference to my Catholic readers I have deferred on commenting on much of the Vatican’s dealings and goings on. Catholicism is a personal matter. Let the Catholics deal with their Socialist. But this one is a puzzle that I can’t ignore. Is this a Protestant versus Catholic deal?Any thoughts?

Is Tawain on the table as far as recognition? What has Rome promised for this? The same as Goggle? Excuse me for being cynical. What’s the deal? First the AP news:

 

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government is ratcheting up a crackdown on Christian congregations in Beijing and several provinces, destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith, according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China.

The campaign corresponds with a drive to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the officially atheist Communist Party and eliminating any challenge to its power over people’s lives.

Bob Fu of the U.S.-based group China Aid said over the weekend that the closure of churches in central Henan province and a prominent house church in Beijing in recent weeks represents a “significant escalation” of the crackdown.

“The international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief,” he wrote in an email.

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, religious believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival. Experts and activists say that as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.

Fu also provided video footage of what appeared to be piles of burning bibles and forms stating that the signatories had renounced their Christian faith. He said that marked the first time since Mao’s radical 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution that Christians had been compelled to make such declarations, under pain of expulsion from school and the loss of welfare benefits.

A Christian pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang said crosses, bibles and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on Sept. 5.

Keep reading…

And then we have this?

China and Vatican to Sign Landmark Deal Over Bishops
China and the Vatican are set to sign a landmark agreement later this month ending a long struggle between Beijing’s Communist rulers and the pope over who chooses the leaders of Catholicism in the world’s most populous country, according to two people familiar with the matter.Reactions to the deal, which gives both sides a say in appointing the church’s bishops in China, are likely to be sharply divided, with some hailing a diplomatic coup by the Vatican that draws China closer to the West and others warning of an important defeat for the principle of religious freedom.

The controversial deal would include the first official recognition by Beijing that the pope is the head of the Catholic Church in China. In return, Pope Francis would formally recognize seven excommunicated Chinese bishops who were appointed by the Communist government without Vatican approval. 

CLICK HERE to Read Entire Article
http://www.wsj.com

Another take:

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Vatican and China look set to sign a landmark agreement later this month intended to reunite China’s state-backed Catholic church with the “underground” church that is still loyal to Rome, and which operates without official state approval.

While the deal could still fall through or be delayed by “unforeseen events,” it could mean that Beijing recognizes the pope as the head of the Catholic Church in China, the paper said.

Such a concession would be matched by the recognition and rehabilitation of seven Chinese bishops who were excommunicated by the pope after being appointed by Beijing without the approval of the Vatican, it said.

A deal seems likely.

More  RFA

 

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Pope Francis: ‘Muslim Terrorism Does Not Exist’

Put this down as my religion post for the week. First we have  “NY Catholic Church Holding Lessons To Promote Islam As A Religion Of Peace” via WXXI,  then we have Pope Francis not letting up. He hits the big ones, denying Islamic terrorism, and of course the so-called “ecological crisis” of Global Warming. First NY:

Kelly said he has held two of these sessions previously at other churches and was met with a positive response.

“We had about 80 people in each of the parishes participate. And it was very exciting because people were reticent or not willing to ask questions very much but by the end I think people felt much more comfortable.”

isis

In an impassioned address Friday, Pope Francis denied the existence of Islamic terrorism, while simultaneously asserting that “the ecological crisis is real.”

“Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist,” Francis said in his speech to a world meeting of populist movements.

What he apparently meant is that not all Christians are terrorists and not all Muslims are terrorists—a fact evident to all—yet his words also seemed to suggest that no specifically Islamic form of terrorism exists in the world, an assertion that stands in stark contradiction to established fact.

“No people is criminal or drug-trafficking or violent,” Francis said, while also suggesting—as he has on other occasions—that terrorism is primarily a result of economic inequalities rather than religious beliefs. “The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence yet, without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and will eventually explode.”

The Pope also reiterated his conviction that all religions promote peace and that the danger of violent radicalization exists equally in all religions. (Ed comment: I don’t recall Jesus telling us to slay our adversaries)

“There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions—and with intolerant generalizations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia,” he said.

While denying the existence of Islamic terrorism, Francis also seemed to condemn the denial of global warming, asserting that “the ecological crisis is real.”

“A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system,” he said.

We know “what happens when we deny science and disregard the voice of Nature,” the Pope said. “Let us not fall into denial. Time is running out. Let us act. I ask you again—all of you, people of all backgrounds including native people, pastors, political leaders—to defend Creation.”

Keep reading…

Roman Catholic Church – Crusade?

Sunday’s respite. The news becomes more grim each week. The Pope will have to come to terms with how this aggression is to be stopped.”it is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor,” he, the Pope, told reporters.

Once again, our prayers go out to all that are suffering and being persecuted for their faith. Let us take a few moments out during the video and reflect on all these souls  today and  in the past who are and now willing to lay down their lives for their faith. Are we prepared to do the same?

From the notes of the video:

On November 27, 1095 Pope Urban II organized 30,000-35,000 crusaders, including 5,000 cavalry resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem. We of the Sedevacantist position desire to uphold the teachings of this same Church. If Pope Urban II were among us today, what would he have us do?

Crusade

Is the Pontiff of Peace advocating war? No, but the self-proclaimed “Caliph” Ibrahim wants his fight to be a true holy war on both sides, and his strategy seems to be succeeding.

Pope Francis is walking a knife edge—or perhaps, better said, the blade of a crusaders’ sword—as he tries to mobilize support for Christians and other minorities victimized by the ferocious partisans of the so-called Islamic state. 

“Where there is an unjust aggression I can only say that it is legitimate to stop the unjust aggressor,” he told reporters throwing questions at him on the plane as he returned from South Korea to the Vatican on Monday.

“I underscore the verb ‘to stop,’” he told them. “I am not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ but ‘stop him.’ The means by which he can be stopped must be evaluated. Stopping the aggressor is legitimate.” More at the Daily Beast

Pope Francis role during Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ come back again?

To my Catholic readers, I do not in any way wish to cast aspersions on a day of celebration. There is a concern regarding the new Pope that I believe it needs to come forward. Should we have a discussion of the role the Catholic Church and its involvement in politics? None more than the so-called “Dirty war” in Argentina. The Associated Press provides details on Francis’ relationship to the regime, and one can easily read Francis’ record in two different waysRead here. Please leave respectable comments.

Here are some comments to the article:

Comments:

What was the Church’s alternatives ? It was either support a right-wing dictatorship or face a left-wing firing squad. You think they didn’t remember what the communists did in Spain ?

Response:

If by that you mean “What else could the hierarchy have done?”, I would say that they could have taken their collective cue from the likes of Óscar Romero and shown a little moral fibre by opposing the torture, murder and oppression of their own people.

Will Francis’s role during Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ come back to haunt him?

From 1973 to 1979, a period that overlapped with military dictatorship lasting from 1976 to 1983, Francis served as the top Argentine Jesuit official. During that time, the Catholic Church remained silent in the face of widespread human rights violations during the country’s so-called “Dirty War,” an effort by the military government to root out dissent by torture, murder, and disappearances.

Bergoglio has been criticized by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) for his behavior during the 1976-1983 dictatorship in Argentina, with some journalists claiming that he prevented human rights groups from finding political prisoners by imprisoning them in his vacation home.

From post at Guardian UK 

  •  Tuesday 4 January 2011

The sins of the Argentinian church

The Catholic church was complicit in dreadful crimes in Argentina. Now it has a chance to repent

Francis still arrives with something of a troubled history. As the head of the Jesuit Order during the country’s military dictatorship, he may be tainted by the church’s well-documented history of turning a blind eye to the regime’s practice of killing progressive priests.

To his credit, Bergoglio has in recent years spearheaded the Argentine Catholic Church’s effort to apologize for its collaboration with the military regime, and last October Argentine bishops apologized for their failure to speak out against human rights abuses.

But with his ascendance to the papacy, greater scrutiny than ever will be directed toward his record during the time of Argentina’s military regime. The information that emerges may come to define Francis’ papacy.

From 1973 to 1979, a period that overlapped with military dictatorship lasting from 1976 to 1983, Francis served as the top Argentine Jesuit official. During that time, the Catholic Church remained silent in the face of widespread human rights violations during the country’s so-called “Dirty War,” an effort by the military government to root out dissent by torture, murder, and disappearances. In several cases, Catholic priests collaborated with the government and were even in the room as prisoners were tortured. In February, an Argentine court ruled that the Catholic church hierarchy, of which Francis was arguably a member, had “closed its eyes” to the killing of progressive priests. In 2005, human rights lawyers filed a case against then-Cardinal Bergoglio alleging that he had been complicit in the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests.

The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentinian navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio’s name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment.

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