There is Schism and Then There is Schism, 2005
by Thomas A. Droleskey
The truly schismatic Catholic "church" in Red China, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, was created in 1957 to be an arm of the government in its efforts to control any Catholic opposition to Chairman Mao Tse-Tung's totalitarian rule in the most populous nation on earth. Its bishops and priests subscribe to the govern A very good description of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association is found in Father Paul Kramer's The Devil's Final Battle:
In September of 2000 we encounter yet another dramatic example of the Church's Adaptation [to the world]. From September 12-19, 2000, Roger Cardinal Etchegary was in Red China to attend a "Symposium on Religions and Peace." While there he celebrated Mass in the presence of the schismatic bishops of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPA). The Mass was celebrated in the Shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians, which the Red Chinese regime has stolen from the true Catholic Church in China.
The CPA was formed in the 1950s to replace the Catholic Church after "Chairman Mao" declared the Catholic Church "illegal" in Red China. The CPA is thus a human organization created by a Communist government and set up a "church" which Chinese Catholics must join, forsaking the Roman Catholic Church, whose very existence has been declared "illegal" by the Red Chinese regime. The CPA constitution explicitly rejects submission to the Pope and declares the CPA to be autonomous from Rome. The CPA bishops and priests, therefore, are all schismatics by definition.
Over 100 bishops have been consecrated illicitly by the CPA without a papal mandate, in direct violation of the Code of Canon Law; worse still, those illicitly consecrated bishops publicly declared their primary allegiance to the Communist regime of China while disavowing (in the CPA Constitution) any allegiance or submission to the Pope. As a result, these illicit bishops and those who consecrated them, would be excommunicated latae sententiae (automatically), even if they were members of the Catholic Church, which they are not. In 1994 the CPA bishops issued a so-called pastoral letter in which they endorsed China's population control policy, which includes forced abortions on all women who have one child already, calling upon Chinese Catholics to support this abomination.
In short, the CPA is a Communist-created, Communist-controlled, blatantly schismatic, blatantly heretical, pro-abortion organization., created by the devil himself, acting through Mao Tse-tung and his successor "President" Jiang. And yet the Vatican has declared no schism, nor any excommunication of these Communist-controlled, pro-abortion clergy. Instead, Cardinal Etchegary went to China and celebrated Mass in the presence of CPA bishops in a Marian Shrine which the CPA, with the aid of Communist goons, stole from the Catholic Church and the Catholic faithful. Cardinal Etchegary even stated that he "recognized the fidelity to the Pope of the Catholics in the official Church [i.e., the CPA]." Fidelity to the Pope on the part of the bishops who endorse forced abortion and whose Communist-controlled association rejects the papal primacy in its very constitution? What sort of nonsense is this?
While Cardinal Etchegary was in China, an 82 year-old Catholic priest in the "underground" Catholic Church was beaten into a coma and jailed by "security" police. In accordance with Ostpolitik, the Vatican has issued no protest over the nearly fatal beating of this priest, nor any protest over the arrest, imprisonment and torture of loyal Catholic priests, bishops and laity by the Red Chinese regime. The Vatican apparatus is still chained to the Church's new orientation--"dialogue" with the Church's enemies and silence even in the face of blatant torture and persecution of faithful Catholics. This is the fruit of the new orientation's abandonment of righteous opposition to evil. And this policy of Adaptation of the Church will, in the long run, have the intended effect on millions more., who will apostatize and lose their faith, because the Vatican apparatus will no longer stand up and oppose evil with the righteous anger of old.
Here too we see the disparity of treatment between traditional Catholics who in any way present an obstacle to the new orientation, and those who embrace the new orientation wholly and entirely. In contrast with the Vatican's pandering to the CPA, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was publicly pronounced both excommunicated and schismatic in a motu proprio prepared for the Pope's signature within 48 hours of Archbishop Lefebvre's consecration of four bishops without a papal mandate--an action the Archbishop took in an effort (however misguided some may think it to be) to maintain Catholic tradition in a Church gone mad. \
The Red Chinese procure (through former Catholic bishops) the consecration of 100 bishops without a papal mandate for their pro-abortion "church" and the Vatican takes no punitive action. Quite the contrary, it sends a Cardinal (no less) as a representative to hobnob with some of the illicit bishops! Yet, when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrates four bishops to serve Catholic Tradition, he is immediately cast into outer darkness by the same Vatican apparatus, even though Archbishop Lefebvre and the four newly consecrated bishops consistently professed their loyalty to the Pope whom they are attempt to serve by preserving traditional Catholic practice and belief. Why this striking disparity of treatment? The answer once again, is that Archbishop Lefebvre resisted the Adaptation; the Red Chinese bishops, on the other hand, exemplify it.
But it is even worse than this. According to an Open Letter of protest to Cardinal Sodano and other members of the Vatican apparatus, published by the Cardinal Kung Foundation, priests of the CPA--a schismatic, Communist-controlled, pro-abortion "church"--have been given canonical missions and priestly faculties in American dioceses. Thus, these Communist priests celebrate Mass and hear confessions of Roman Catholic faithful in their local parishes where these agents of a Communist government learn the secret sins of innumerable Americans which may provide material for blackmail to the Communist masters in China. This was formed by Archbishop Levada of San Francisco, who claims that the Vatican--and no doubt Cardinal Sodano was involved in the decision--has authorized the granting of an "apostolic mission" to these priests of the pro-abortion, Communist-controlled, schismatic CPA.
Here is a literal, visible penetration of Communist power into the body of the Church. There could not be a more dramatic demonstration of the Adaptation. But the presence of these Communist-controlled priests in American parishes is only an icon of the whole process that began in Metz, France, back in 1962, when the drawbridge of the Church was let down and the forces of the world, the Church's sworn enemies, began to march into the Church, leading even Pope Paul VI to speak of the invasion of the Church by worldly thinking.
Father Kramer's insights, published three years ago now, are even more pertinent in the wake of the announcement last week that two truly schismatic bishops from the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association had been invited by Benedict XVI to participate in the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist that will take place in Rome next month, October. That's right, two bishops belonging to an officially pro-abortion, state-created and state-run "church" were invited to participate in the Synod of Bishops.
Although there was some confusion at first as to whether the Chinese bishops nominated by Benedict XVI wouldl actually be permitted to attend the Synod next month, the mere fact of their invitation is a sign that the Vatican is about to sell out the true Church in China. The invitation is an indication that the concerns some of us expressed about the appointment of Angelo "Cardinal" Sodano and Roger "Cardinal" Etchegary as the Dean and Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals following the election of Pope Benedict XVI were not, unfortunately, misplaced.
This is not the first time that bishops from the rump church in Red China have been invited to a synod in Rome. The late John Paul II had named two Communist bishops, one of whom had been appointed by Pope Pius XII but affiliated with the Red Chinese authorities, to participate in the Asian Synod of 1998, the Red Chinese government refused to permit them to participate. Two empty chairs were placed at the Asian Synod in Rome in 1998 that year to signify the absence of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association bishops. It is possible that this will be done again this year.
Much is being made of the fact that an officially recognized bishop (Bishop Joseph Wei Jingyi of Qiqihar)of the true Catholic Church in China, which operates underground and is persecuted to this day fiercely by the Chinese communist authorities, is also being invited to participate in the Synod, a sign, the Papal apologists are saying, of a "clever strategy" being devised by Benedict XVI to "resolve" tensions between the Holy See and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Others of us, though, see the situation as yet another sell-out of Catholic martyrs in the name of a false unity with the errors of Russia, the very sort of sell-out that Paul VI himself personally authorized to be practiced on the Primate of Hungary, Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty, in 1971 in the name of "bettering relations" with the Communist governments of Eastern and Central Europe.
The Red Chinese government, acting in true Communist form of demanding total surrender to its perverse principles, rejected the invitations definitively on September 13, 2005, and laid down three specific conditions for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Those conditions are, as spelled out in a Catholic News Agency report of September 13, 2005:
The Vatican has to suspend diplomatic relations with Taiwan, recognize China as a State with legitimate sovereignty, and not intervene in Chinese domestic affairs.
In other words, the Red Chinese get to dictate the terms on which the true Church of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will be accorded any "recognition" in the nationwide slave-labor camp known as the People's Republic of China. Quite specifically, the Red Chinese are demanding that the Vatican not intervene in "Chinese domestic affairs," which means no criticism of its anti-life policies and no criticism of its arrest and torture of bishops and priests and lay men and women who worship in the underground Church.
Ever Appeasing the Red Chinese and Treating Traditional Catholics with Sloganeering Contempt
Appeasing Communism was one of the hallmarks of the false pontificates of John XXIII and Paul VI. The latter specifically forbade any mention of Communism, no less criticism of it, at the proceedings of the Second Vatican Council. Such criticism might jeopardize the sending of "observers" from the Russian Orthodox Church. Paul VI, who, as noted above, masterminded, along with his Secretary of State, Jean Cardinal Villot, the sell-out of Josef Cardinal Mindszenty in 1971, pursued an Ostpolitik of appeasing Communist regimes in the Soviet bloc in the 1960s and 1970s. It is this same failed policy that the Vatican has been pursuing with respect to Red China, now much more openly under Benedict XVI than under John Paul II, who evidently permitted the clandestine contacts described more fully below in the Open Letter Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, addressed to Vatican cardinals on March 29, 2000.
An example of this sycophantic appeasement can be found in the way the Zenit news agency breathlessly reported the invitation that the Holy Father had extended to the schismatic bishops to participate in the Synod of Bishops in Rome next month. The September 8, 2005, Zenit report announcing the the appointment of the two Communist bishops to the Synod of Bishops matter-of-factly listed the names of the Red Chinese bishops:
Anthony Li Duan of Xian, Louis Jin Luxian of Shanghai, both recognized by the government; Luke Li Jingfeng of Fengxiang, recently recognized by the government.
The reference to Bishop Luke Ji Jingfeng's being "recently recognized by the government" evidently confirmed that the bishop, who was appointed to serve in the underground church by the Holy See, was indeed approved by the government before his episcopal consecration, a sign that the Vatican does want to absorb the underground church into the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
The other two bishops, Anthony Li Duan and Jin Luxian, were named by the government to be consecrated illicitly by the renegade bishops already under their control. These bishops are part of a "church" that dissents from articles contained in the Deposit of Faith and which supports grave evils promoted by their Red Chinese communist puppeteers.
As I, among many others, have been writing for the past five years, it is evidently the case that many in the Vatican have adopted "one church" policy in Red China, which treats the truly schismatic church, the so-called Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, as virtually one and the same with the underground church that has been persecuted mercilessly by the Red Chinese authorities.
As is evidenced by the recent appointment of three Communist bishops to the upcoming Synod of Bishops in Rome, the conciliar Vatican is treating some of the bishops and priests of the schismatic church as though they are Catholics in good standing despite there being no formal, public act of reconciliation with Rome. Furthermore, Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, issued an open letter on March 28, 2000, asking the Holy See why seminarians associated with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association had been permitted to study in American seminaries before being ordained by their schismatic bishops. Joseph Kung, who is the nephew of the late Ignatius Gong Pin-mei Cardinal Kung, received no response from the Holy See. It is almost as though the Holy See was waiting for Cardinal Kung to die before embarking on its attempt to create de facto the appearance of a complete reconciliation between the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and the Vicar of Christ. All of the evidence of the Holy See's actions in the past five and one-half years since the Cardinal's death indicates that this is so. And I hate to say this, however, it does appear that my earlier commentaries of as early as five years ago warning about the Vatican's forthcoming sell-out of the true Church, which Joseph Kung himself found impossible to accept as he defended John Paul II's commitment to the true Church in China, were accurate (a sell out that Mr. Kung, who is a true son of the Church, still finds impossible to accept in light Ratzinger/Benedict's June 30, 2007, to the Catholics in Red China as he has accepted that letter in the belief that it is the "will" of a true "pope.)
To consider the rump church in Red China to be legitimate is to ignore a number of rather inconvenient facts. The schismatic church in Red China about which the Holy See has been so obsequious lately supports all of the "population" policies of the Communist government. Thus, it supports contraception and sterilization. It supports Red China's one child per family policy. Its bishops are appointed by the Communist authorities. In other words, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association supports policies that are founded in a rejection of the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and natural law. It supports sin and sinful behavior as legitimate and just as a means of demonstrating fealty to the State and not to the Deposit of Faith entrusted by the God-Man, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to Holy Mother Church through the Apostles. How can this rump church be considered as one that is faithful to the Divine Redeemer? It is faithful to the exigencies and dictates of the Communist government.
Josef "Cardinal" Tomko, then the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Propagation of the Faith, issued on September 3, 1988, a series of "eight guidelines" for "contact" between faithful Catholics and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association:
As the contacts among members of the Episcopate, priests and faithful, with exponents of the Catholic Church in China are becoming ever more frequent, this Dicastery, in accord with the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church, considers it opportune to give the Episcopal Conferences the following indications:
1. The contacts in question could be a good occasion to reaffirm with clarity the Catholic Doctrine on the communion which must unite the Bishops with the Successor of Peter and, through him, among themselves (L. G. 14 & 18). In this regard, one could have recourse to the doctrinal principles of the Vatican Councils I and II.
2. In the light of the Vatican Council II one could also explain to them how the Church realizes in her own life self-government, self-propagation and self-financing: it is normal today that Bishops be chosen from among the local clergy; evangelization is, in the first place, to be realized by the local churches, even if in many cases the collaboration of the missionaries still remains necessary, but in a subordinate position; that it is evident that the Church be financially supported by the offerings of the faithful in the locality.
3. Mention could also be made to them of the various forms of collegiality which are being developed in the Church, particularly since Vatican Council II, both on the national and regional levels through the Episcopal Conferences, and on the universal level through the presence and collaboration of the Episcopates of the various countries in the central government of the Church, as, for example, their presence in the Roman Dicasteries, and their collaboration in the Synod of Bishops.
4. In the course of various encounters, care must be taken to avoid attitudes which could wound the sensibility of the ‘silent’ majority of those Catholics who have suffered and are suffering for their fidelity to the Holy Father.
There is also need of avoiding that the visits in question do not become instrumental in obtaining recognition and the legitimization of a position which cannot in any way be acceptable either on the doctrinal level or disciplinary and canonical levels.
5 Another rather delicate point is the question of the liturgical celebrations. In fact all 'communicatio in sacris' is to be avoided. The ‘patriotic’ bishops and priests are not to be invited or even allowed to celebrate religious functions in public, either in the churches or in the oratories of the various religious institutes.
6. The necessary clarity regarding the ecclesial aspects of the visits and the attitude to be adopted, which must be respected by all, do not imply that there is to be a lack of fraternal charity, which should be expressed in the cordiality of the welcome given to the guests and in the manner in which they are treated.
It is hoped that all this will assist them in understanding, in the light of the Spirit, the incoherence of their position and induce them to a change of attitude.
7. Care must also be taken that those who are responsible for the organization of the visits of the above-mentioned delegations be persons of sound doctrine, faithful to the Magisterium of the Church and capable of acting with great prudence.
8. It is to be foreseen that such events will not fail to arouse reactions in the local and international press. It will be necessary, therefore, to foresee how to assist the means of social communication, utilizing the orientations mentioned above, which clarify the position of the Church and may foster the comprehension of the diverse and complex problems closely connected with this position.
As Father Paul Kramer noted in The Devil's Final Battle, Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation and the nephew of the long imprisoned Ignatius Cardinal Kung, who died in Stamford, Connecticut, on March 11, 2000, wrote an Open Letter to the Holy See just seventeen days after his uncle's death and burial (Cardinal Kung is buried at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California). Mr. Kung, who has done more than almost any other living human being to support the work of the underground Catholic Church in Red China, asked questions about the effectiveness of each of the eight months contained in the 1988 guidelines. His open letter, significant excerpts of which are pasted below, should be read very carefully, especially in light of Pope Benedict XVI's invitation to the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association bishops to participate in the Synod of Bishops next month in Rome.
The 1988 guidelines were reaffirmed in a 2004 letter written to the Cardinal Kung Foundation by a Monsignor Eugene Nugent, who is a priest assigned to the Secretariat of State for the Holy See. The mere reiteration of the guidelines does not necessarily mean, however, that they are being followed.
Questions Raised by the Vatican Betrayal of the Suffering Catholics in the Underground Church in Red China
Indeed, there are a number of questions being raised by the current Vatican policy concerning the schismatic church in China. Some press reports, including one on CWNews.com on September 12, 2005, alleging that up to eighty-five percent of the bishops of the schismatic, state-run church in Red China have "reconciled" to the Holy See, a fact that was challenged by Mr. Kung when I wrote to him on September 13, 2005, saying that he had received no answer to his Open Letter on the issue of the "reconciliation" of bishops from the rump church with the Holy See.
A number of pertinent questions thus need to asked:
1) Have the schismatic bishops been forced to abjure their support of the Red Chinese government's anti-life population policies?
2) Will the "reconciled" bishops who have served in the rump church be able to publicly oppose the evils of the Red Chinese government?
3) Will the Vatican demand the the complete dissolution of the entire structure of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association?
4) If not, will "underground" bishops and priests be required to register with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association?
5) Is the Vatican going to require a cessation of the persecution and arrest of underground Catholics (bishops, priests, consecrated religious laity) in order to continue its "discussions" about the establishment of "diplomatic relations" with the "People's Republic" of China?
6) Will the Vatican require the marriages officiated by the bishops and the priests of the schismatic church in Red China to be regularized?
7) What will the Vatican do about the confessions heard by priests who were ordained by and associated with schismatic bishops nominated by the pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-sterilization, pro-torture, pro-slave-labor Red Chinese communist government?
9) Will the Red Chinese authorities be required by the Vatican to apologize for its torture, imprisonment, execution, and harassment of Catholics faithful to Rome? Will those authorities be forced by the Vatican to clear the names of all persons, living and deceased, who have been branded as "criminals" for adhering to an "illegal" religion?
9) Or will the the Vatican simply wave its bureaucratic hand and pretend, positivistically, that there has "always been one church in China" and seek to "educate" the Catholics who have been suffering in the underground church that they must accommodate themselves to the "actual reality" of the situation in their country and thus silence themselves about the evils being promoted by the government?
Mind you, these are just a few of the many questions raised by the invitation extended to the bishops associated with the rump church in China. There is so much duplicity in this matter that it simply boggles the mind. Joseph Kung was good enough to respond to these questions when I posed them to him on September 13, 2005, in an e-mail. His answer in most instances was "I don't know," meaning that he, one of the most well-informed individuals about the state of the Catholic Church in Red China, agreed with my assessment that his whole matter disturbing. As he wrote to me:
Disturbing, agree. It is also very, very confusing. This is why I have many "I do not know" answers above. This was the reason that I wrote my open letter more than five years ago. As you know, it was never answered. The first person to whom I addressed was Cardinal Ratzinger.
Mr. Kung's brief responses to the questions I have posed above to you, the readers, should give everyone considerable pause for concern. Things are not what the Vatican and its apologists would want them to appear. Although the Vatican apologists will call the whole matter "complex," this essential fact must be kept in mind always: complexity is from the devil. The essence of God is simplicity. His truths are simple. The way to respond to those to oppose the Faith is to resist them, not to accommodate and/or appease them.
The Cooperation of the American Bishops and the Maryknolls with Priests Who Support the Red Chinese Anti-Life Population Policies
Moreover, there is the matter of the long-standing cooperation of the American bishops with the schismatic church in Red China. That is an issue that deserves considerable exploration and analysis.
Also very telling in this regard is the fact that the Marynknolls have been in the vanguard of training men to be ordained for the rump church in Red China. It must be remembered that the Maryknolls supported the Sandinista communists in Nicaragua. One of their own priests, Father Miguel d'Escoto, served as foreign minister under the Sandinistas' brutal, totalitarian control of Nicaragua between the summer of 1979 and their ouster in free elections in February of 1990. A Marynknoll nun advised her brother, then Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Thomas P O'Neil, to oppose the efforts of the administration of President Ronald Wilson Reagan to retard the advance of communism in El Salvador and Nicaragua. It makes perfect sense that the Maryknoll order has been fully supportive of the pro-abortion state-created and state-run church in Red China.
No Friends in the Church or in the Civil State
It appears as though the Catholics of the underground church in Red China have no friends in the Holy See or in any civil government on earth.
To wit, the suffering of the bishops and priests and the laity of the true Church in China go unnoticed by the government of the United States of America. No comment has ever been made by an American president about the persecution of Catholics in the prison known as Red China who are faithful to Rome. Thirty-three and one-half years after the Shanghai Communique, signed by then President Richard Milhous Nixon and Red Chinese Prime Minister Chou en-Lai, Red China remains as brutally oppressive now as it was then. Trade has not "democratized" Red China. Trade will never "democratize" Red China. The oligarchs with bloody hands who rule Red China are not interested in an American style of "democratic republic." They are interested in maximizing their own profit portfolios by means of their commercial ties with Western companies, which are permitted to sell Chinese made goods manufactured by slave labor at quite a remarkable mark-up. These oligarchs want retain to their grip on power, not relax it. And as there cannot be official toleration of any organization that offers an alternative to Communism, any church permitted to operate in China must be subordinate to its policies. None of this matters one little bit to American authorities, bogged down in the needless waste of American lives and capital in Iraq, while our really dangerous enemies, Red China and North Korea, have missiles armed with nuclear warheads aimed at us.
The bloodthirsty tyrants of Red China know this. They know that American policymakers (and, now, the Holy See) are steeped self-deception about them and their relentlessly brutal methods. The Red Chinese oligarchs know that the Holy See will not criticize them for fear of jeopardizing a "papal" trip to their land of terror and bloodshed. They know that the Americans will not do so to avoid jeopardizing commercial ties. Thus, Catholics of the true Church in Red China can be arrested and beaten and tortured at will. Thus, the suffering of underground Catholics in Red China continues unabated while the Vatican pursues its "one Church in China" policy.
One should not be surprised at the shortsightedness and greed of American policymakers. What does it matter to them that a handful of Catholic bishops and priests and lay people in the underground church are made the blood sport of Red Chinese leaders? And I guess it should not surprise us that the Holy See, concerned about vilifying people who simply want the freedom to celebrate the Mass of tradition without the stigma of being considered underground Catholics, should look the other way at an actual schism, the one that exists in Red China in order to establish "diplomatic relations," while making it so very difficult to end a needless division of its own making with the Society of Saint Pius X. The irony is inescapable: Catholics faithful to the Deposit of Faith are being persecuted by the Red Chinese civil authorities and by those who hold governing positions Holy Mother Church herself.
Turning to Our Lady of Fatima
We are face to face once again with a result of the errors of Russia being spread within the human elements of the Church herself. Although there is no empirical evidence (my training as a political scientist is showing a bit at this point) to indicate that Benedict XVI has the slightest intention of consecrating Russia to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, especially in light of Walter "Cardinal" Kasper's reiteration of the Vatican's rejection of converting the Russian Orthodox Church to Catholicism, we just keep praying that for the restoration of Holy Mother Church by means of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.
Cardinal Kung, pray for the Church in Red China. Pray for the entire Church Militant here on earth.
Mr. Joseph Kung, President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, Responds to Questions about the State of the Catholic Church in Red China
I have reviewed the 1988 Vatican guidelines and the 2004
reiteration of those guidelines by Monsignor Eugene Nugent (your website
does not list a title for Monsignor Nugent; that is. what office in the
Vatican does he work for? Under whose authority was his reiteration
Msgr. Nugent works for the Vatican's State Department. He does not have a title, probably because of the political sensitivity. He is equivalent to the Nuncio to China. As such, I believe he has enough authority on his own to reiterate the 1988 China guidelines issued by the Vatican.
In light of these, Joseph, I have the following questions, if you have the ability to answer them. Indeed, there are a number of questions being raised by the
current Vatican policy concerning the schismatic church in China. Some press reports, including one on CWNews.com on September
12, 2005, alleging that up to eighty-five percent of the bishops of the
schismatic, state-run church in Red China have "reconciled" to the Holy
I discussed this issue thoroughly in my open letter. Please review it again. The Vatican's spokesperson has never said that up to eighty-five percent of the PA bishops have reconciled to the Holy see. I for one will not believe it until the spokesperson explicitly speaks for it.
1) Have the schismatic bishops invited to Rome been forced to abjure
their support of the Red Chinese government's anti-life population
I do not know. I have seen no evidence that they (the schismatic bishops) have been forced or willingly to do so.
2) Will the "reconciled" bishops who have served in the rump church be
able to publicly oppose the evils of the Red Chinese government?
First of all, I do not know who are those "reconciled" bishops. The vatican has never said a word about them. To the best of my knowledge, I am not aware of the fact there is any opposition to the evils of the Red Chinese government from the PA bishops whether they are reconciled or not.
3) Will the Vatican demand the the complete dissolution of the entire
structure of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association?
I do not know.
4) If not, will "underground" bishops and priests be required to register
with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association?
Be required by who?? By the Chinese government or by the Vatican?? The Chinese government has been forcing the underground faithful to register with the PA for many years in the past, failure to do so is subject to 3 years in the labor camp. In the meantime, many high hierarchy of the Vatican has been advocating that the underground and the PA churches are equal and the same church. (I have discussed this issue many time in my newsletter) For the sake of being one, for the sake of reconciliation, for the sake of being legal, it is not surprised that in the not too distant future, the Vatican will recognize the PA church. When that time comes, I am afraid that the underground church will disappear. There will be only PA church left. Do you know that the Vatican has refused to appoint any underground bishop for the last five or six years? And there is no evidence that the Vatican will appoint any underground bishop in the near future. In the meantime, the underground bishops are reaching their mortal age. Before long, there may be only one underground bishop left who is Bishop Wei (the one invited to Rome) who is in his early forties.
5) Is the Vatican going to require a cessation of the persecution and
arrest of underground Catholics (bishops, priests, consecrated religious
laity) in order to continue its "discussions" about the establishment of
"diplomatic relations" with the "People's Republic" of China?
I do not know. But, in my Asian Wall Street Journal Op-Ed article on April 7 and in my open letter, I discussed this issue. Also, in many of my speeches, I said:"moreover, there are too many bishops, priests, and faithful of the Roman Catholic Church who are still in jail in China. These imprisoned bishops are not only Chinese, but also by definition the citizens of the Vatican. They are also the soldiers of the Church. Any country defends its citizens and soldiers. Therefore, how could the Vatican establish diplomatic relations with China while so many of its citizens and soldiers are still in captivity there?"
6) Will the Vatican require the marriages officiated by the bishops and
the priests of the schismatic church in Red China to be regularized?
I do not know.
7) What will the Vatican do about the confessions heard by priests who
were ordained by and associated with schismatic bishops nominated by the
pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-sterilization, pro-torture,
pro-slave-labor Red Chinese communist government?
I do not know. Many of these priests what you described above are here in the United States and have been given faculties by the Bishops of the U.S. Diocese. They are hearing confessions in many U.S. dioceses and I doubt that many parishioners having the confessions with these priests know the status and background of these priests. I have screamed about this issue many, many times, including my letter to Bishop Levada!
8) Will the Red Chinese authorities be required by the Vatican to
apologize for its torture, imprisonment, execution, and harassment of
Catholics faithful to Rome? Will those authorities be forced by the
Vatican to clear the names of all persons, living and deceased, who have
been branded as "criminals" for adhering to an "illegal" religion?
Sorry, once again I do not know. I have written twice to the Chinese authorities to clear the names of these people, living and dead. (See attachment my latest letter). But the Vatican has never said a word about it.
9) Or will the the Vatican simply wave its bureaucratic hand and
pretend, positivistically, that there has "always been one church in
China" and seek to "educate" the Catholics who have been suffering in the
underground church that they must accommodate themselves to the "actual
reality" of the situation in their country and thus silence themselves
about the evils being promoted by the government?
If this were true, the Vatican should quickly recognize the PA church so that the underground church will not have to suffer any longer. Why should the underground church
suffer any longer if the PA church is recognized or de-facto recognized by the Vatican??? There will be only one, holy, Catholic, apostolic, and patriotic church in China?
If this doesn't break your Catholic hearts, my friends, I don't know what will.
Here are Excerpts from Mr. Kung's March 28, 2000, Open Letter to the Vatican
March 28, 2000
His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Sodano
His Eminence Jozef Cardinal Tomko
His Excellency Most Rev. Stanislaw Dswisz
His Excellency Most Rev. Giovanni Battista Re
Your Eminences and Excellencies:
THIS IS AN OPEN LETTER
We write this letter because we do not understand many actions by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church towards the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. These actions appear to have been so one sided in favor of the Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) that the underground Roman Catholic Church, which has gone through five decades of severe persecutions in China in defense of the Magisterium, appears to have been greatly neglected by the Vatican. Inasmuch as we and a vast number of concerned Catholics in and out of China do not understand these actions, we present to you the following issues in the hope that you will clarify and explain to the world your position.
This letter is written in the spirit of genuine concern for the Church and in the interest of reconciliation between the Roman Catholic underground Church and the CPA in China. On many occasions, His Holiness Pope John Paul II called for reconciliation and for unification of the Church in China so that it will return to the one fold and one Shepherd. How can the Holy See expect us to carry out this policy of the Holy Father while there is such confusion on the issues cited below?
I. IS THE CHINESE CATHOLIC PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION A SCHISMATIC CHURCH?
8. Observations by Members of the Roman Catholic Church Hierarchy: Having been notified about the ordination of five bishops by China’s CPA on January 6, 2000, Cardinal Ignatius Kung, the exiled Bishop of Shanghai, reacted immediately in the United States: “The Patriotic Association is a schismatic Church.”
On Jan. 7, 2000, Cardinal Vincenzo Fagiolo, honorary president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, at a conference in Palermo, Italy, described China’s move to ordain the five bishops as a “de facto schism.”
9. Conclusion: In the light of the overwhelming evidence reflected above, we believe that the CPA is not Catholic and is indeed in schism.
10. Holy See’s Position: The Holy See has never formally declared that the CPA is in schism, albeit the CPA has refused for the last 42 years to submit to the Roman Pontiff and has also refused for the last 42 years to be in communion with the members of the Church subject to him.
11. We do not understand your silence on this issue and need your unequivocal answer: Why has the Holy See not declared the CPA to be in schism? Recently, in response to questions about Maryknoll’s support of the CPA, Maryknoll Father Leo B. Shea wrote: “Catholics are united. There is no schismatic Church in China.” Why are so many Roman Catholic leaders advocating that the CPA and the underground Roman Catholic Church in China are the same Church - and without any explanation from the Holy See to attempt to resolve this apparent contradiction?
II. WHY ARE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS AND RELIGIOUS ORDERS EDUCATING SEMINARIANS OF THE SCHISMATIC CPA?
1. The Program: In recent years, there have been approximately fifty CPA seminarians and priests studying in Roman Catholic seminaries each year across the United States. This program was organized by the Maryknoll Fathers on behalf of the CPA. The CPA seminarians and priests were given full scholarships covering tuition, room and board from various dioceses. Upon completion of their studies, the CPA seminarians return to China to be ordained, not by the underground Roman Catholic bishops, but by their schismatic CPA bishops. They will serve under these same bishops who are not in communion with the Holy Father.
Apparently, this practice has been going on for some time. In an article entitled “Quietly, U.S. Seminaries Train Chinese Priests” which appeared May 29, 1994, in Our Sunday Visitor, Jesuit Father Denis Como, at the time heading the Chinese Apostolate of the Archdiocese of Boston, is quoted as saying: “The diocese wouldn’t be accepting these students if Rome weren’t in favor of this. The Vatican recognizes that we need to be preparing for that day when the situation opens up in China.”
2. The Participating Seminaries in the United States According to Maryknoll (may not be all inclusive) are:
1) Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
2) Holy Name College, W. T. U., Silver Springs, Maryland
3) Maryknoll Seminary, Maryknoll, New York
4) Mundelein Seminary, Chicago, Illinois
5) Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio
6) Pope John XXIII Seminary, Weston, Massachusetts
7) Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit, Michigan
8) Saint Charles Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
9) Saint John’s Seminary, Boston, Massachusetts
10) Saint John’s Seminary, Collegeville, Minnesota
11) Saint John’s Seminary, Los Angeles, California
12) Saint Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, Yonkers, New York (apparently the program is temporarily suspended there)
13) Saint Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland
14) Saint Vincent’s Seminary, Latrobe, Pennsylvania
15) The Saint Paul Seminary, Saint Thomas University, Saint Paul, Minnesota
3. Cooperating Sponsors in the United States of America According to Maryknoll (may not be all inclusive):
1) His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Bernadine, Archbishop of Chicago, IL (Deceased)
2) His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, PA
3) His Eminence James Cardinal Hickey, Archbishop of Washington, DC
4) His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore, MD
5) His Eminence Bernard Cardinal Law, Archbishop of Boston, MA
6) His Eminence Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, CA
7) His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop of Detroit, MI
8) His Eminence John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, NY
9) His Excellency Most Rev. Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Newark, NJ
10) His Excellency Most Rev. John Roach, Archbishop of Minneapolis, MN
11) His Excellency Most Rev. Rembert Weakland, Archbishop of Milwaukee, WI
12) Right Rev. Timothy Kelly, Archabbot of St. Vincent’s Archabbey, PA
13) Right Rev. Matthew Leavy, Abbot of St. Anselm’s Abbey, NH
14) Right Rev. Augustine Roberts, Abbot of St. Joseph’s Abbey, MA
15) Right Rev. Douglas Nowicki, Archabbot of St. Vincent’s Archabbey, PA
16) Rev. Ray Finch, Superior General of Maryknoll, NY
17) Msgr. John W. Flesey, Rector of Immaculate Conception Seminary, NJ
18) Dr. Marc A. van der Heyden, President of St. Michael’s College, VT
19) Rev. Howard Bleichner, Rector of Theological College, DC
20) Rev. Thomas McCreesh, O.P., President of Dominican House of Studies, DC
21) Rectors of all the above listed seminaries
22) Bishops of all the dioceses where the above listed seminaries are located
4. Our Understanding: Through Maryknoll’s correspondence to our supporters, we have been informed that Vatican officials, in keeping with its policy of reconciliation, have encouraged Maryknoll to get any seminarians out of China and into the United States seminaries. Their purpose was (and is) to provide for them a proper Roman Catholic education, and to expose them to the universal Church.
5. What We Do Not Know: We do not know - and Maryknoll has not divulged the information - the names, occasions and dates of these “Vatican officials” who have encouraged Maryknoll to sponsor “any seminarians” out of China to the United States. We are led to believe that such an action is being undertaken under the direction of certain unnamed Vatican dicasteries. If these Vatican dicasteries are proud of their actions, why the secrecy? If Maryknoll and others are relying on so-called Vatican documents authorizing such actions, where may such documents be found?
6. Accessibility of Underground Seminarians in China: We all know that through careful planning, many underground seminarians and priests are accessible to anyone (especially to religious communities such as Maryknoll) who wishes to contact them. There is no reason for Maryknoll not to include the underground seminarians and priests in its program because of any inaccessibility.
There are approximately 1000 underground seminarians in China. These dedicated young men have chosen to follow the footsteps of the Chinese martyrs, their underground bishops and His Holiness Pope John Paul II to serve the Church during the most difficult years. Pope John Paul II was also an underground seminarian, and is well aware of the hardships to be endured in studying under a tyrannical regime.
7. Only for the CPA Seminarians: All the seminarians sponsored by Maryknoll are CPA seminarians. There are no underground seminarians included in the Maryknoll program. According to item 6 of the Holy See 1988 directive, “fraternal charity” should govern these relations. Should not fraternal charity extend also, if not first, to the Roman Catholic underground Church in China? Should we not be more concerned about bringing into contact with the universal Church those seminarians whose bishops are in communion with, and not in schism from, the Holy Father? The fact that only the CPA seminarians are being provided with these educational opportunities without at least the same opportunities being extended to the underground Roman Catholic seminarians in China is unjust, discriminatory and a violation of the rights of the faithful in China.
8. Item 7 of the Holy See 1988 directive states:
“Care must be taken that those who are responsible for the organization of the visits [between Roman Catholic hierarchy and members of the CPA] ….be persons of sound doctrine, faithful to the Magisterium of the Church and capable of acting with great prudence.”
We must ask whether the Holy See has determined that:
Those who are organizing efforts to bring the CPA seminarians to Roman Catholic seminaries and to educational institutions, and those actually responsible in Roman Catholic seminaries for the education and formation of the CPA seminarians, are presumably persons, “of sound doctrine, faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, and capable of acting with great prudence.”
9. Underground Seminarians overseas: The Cardinal Kung Foundation, with extremely limited resources, was able to bring out three underground priests a few years ago. In the meantime, there are about 20 underground seminarians and priests scattered around the world with just a bare subsistence. With no official program from the Vatican to assist them, one underground priest is suffering from hepatitis in Europe without proper medical care. In fact, the Cardinal Kung Foundation is supporting these underground religious overseas whenever they are in need and whenever the Foundation has the resources to do so. In fact, it is the Cardinal Kung Foundation who makes sure that all the underground priests overseas have Mass stipends to provide them with some support.
Sad to say, the 20 or so underground seminarians and priests outside of China do not even have a “home” to go to during such traditional holidays as Easter and Christmas, while all the CPA seminarians can always go to Maryknoll’s headquarters in Ossining, New York. When the Cardinal Kung Foundation took care of three underground priests for several years, not even one offer came from Catholic dioceses or religious institutions to take care of any of them. They all had to share one small room in my house for a prolonged period to study English before they started studying in a seminary.
10. Misrepresentation: By sponsoring only the CPA seminarians in the United States, Maryknoll, which claims to have encouragement from the Vatican, has the appearance of abandoning the suffering underground Roman Catholic Church in China. This could be easily and conveniently interpreted by the Chinese government that Maryknoll supports the Chinese government’s repressive religious policy and condones the government’s 50-year persecution of the Roman Catholic Church. Worse, it could also encourage the Chinese government to continue its persecution of the underground Roman Catholic Church without fear of reprisal from the outside world. It is too convenient for the Chinese government to make an excuse for anything detrimental to the underground Church by citing Maryknoll’s program. The negative impact and the damage which could have already been done resulting from Maryknoll’s program is incalculable.
11. Wounding the Sensibility: According to the fourth item of the Holy See 1998 directive:
“in the course of various encounters, care must be taken to avoid attitudes which could wound the sensibility of the ‘silent’ majority of those Catholics who have suffered and are suffering for their fidelity to the Holy Father.”
A policy or practice by any organization or community within the universal Church that aims at educating only CPA seminarians unquestionably wounds the suffering underground Roman Catholic Church in China - spiritually, psychologically, and financially. Of course, this particular directive is applicable to all the issues covered in this letter.
12. Conclusion: In the light of the overwhelming evidence shown above, we believe that this program is wrong and should be immediately terminated. Instead, the Vatican should have a comprehensive program to educate the underground seminarians both overseas and inside China.
13. Holy See’s Position: The Vatican has never explained to the public the merits of this program and its own position.
14. The “Run-Around”: We have a supporter who asked Cardinal O’Connor of New York few years ago the rationale of this program. That person was told to write to Cardinal Tomko for an answer. He wrote. In his reply to this person, Cardinal Tomko wrote: “For information on this matter, I suggest that you contact either Cardinal Law or Cardinal O’Connor, both of whom may be able to give you information on this matter”!
15. We do not understand and need your unequivocal answer: We do not understand why the Vatican has so far declined to comment in public on this issue and why is there no program for the underground priests and seminarians to study overseas.
III. WHY ARE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS IN THE UNITED STATES GRANTING PRIESTLY FACULTIES TO PRIESTS OF THE CPA?
1. Background: In the United States, such as in the New York and San Francisco archdioceses, Ordinaries have granted priestly faculties to priests of the schismatic CPA. These priests were allowed to offer Holy Mass publicly in Roman Catholic Churches and to administer other sacraments openly in parishes. No specific mention was made in parish bulletins that the priest in question belonged to the CPA and no explanation was made about the schismatic nature of the CPA.
2. Responses to our Inquiries: In response to our inquiry about this practice of granting priestly faculties to CPA priests:
Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco, wrote: “I would like to invite the Foundation to be more accurate in its statements concerning the Church in China and in particular concerning the priests from China who have been welcomed by the dioceses of this country. The program of their [CPA priests’] formation and of their apostolic ministry is being carried out according to directives received from the Holy See.” The archbishop does not specify to which directives he refers.
Bishop Patrick Sheridan of New York City wrote: “Your letter ….has saddened us to the point of deep personal distress to assume that someone like Cardinal O’Connor or any of his staff would act in relationship to priests of the so called Patriotic Church …..without the necessary consultations and guidance from the Holy See, is highly offensive and without any foundation in fact….Am I being overly sensitive perhaps when I wonder what grounds or even what right you have to offer such advice to the Cardinal Archbishop of New York that he step out beyond his own jurisdiction and responsibility of call upon priests of Brooklyn or other Chinese priests in the United States to serve a ministry at Transfiguration in Chinatown which you consider to be flawed?” Bishop Sheridan never offered us a reason for granting priestly faculties to CPA priests.
3. All “Communicatio in Sacris” Is To Be Avoided: According to item five of the Holy See 1988 directive:
“The ‘Patriotic’ bishops and priests are not to be invited or even allowed to celebrate religious functions in public, either in the churches or in the oratories of the various religious institutes.”
We do not understand that, given the above very clear guideline, how this program of giving faculties to CPA priests and allowing them to administer the sacraments in public could be approved by the Ordinaries in the United States.
4. Profession of Faith: We understand that the only requirement for granting the aforementioned faculty to CPA priests in the United States was that each priest had only to recite once and in private the Profession of Faith as proof of his allegiance to the Pope. We have the following observations.
5.1) What is the Difference: In their Masses in China, the CPA priests also profess the same Profession of Faith while they publicly renounce the Holy Father’s authority. On the feast of the Epiphany, 2000, as it has been the Pope’s custom, the Holy Father consecrated twelve new bishops in St. Peter’s Basilica. It was not a mere coincidence that in China on the same day, the government controlled CPA sponsored the consecration of five bishops who had received no papal mandate as required by Canon 1013, in defiance of the Pope’s authority. As a further mockery, these five new bishops, together with the consecrating bishop, recited the same Profession of Faith. Does the mere recital of the Profession of faith mean anything when it is accompanied by a spirit of defiance? This reminds us of the words of Our Lord quoting the prophet Isaiah: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:8-9)
5.2) Is It a True Profession of Faith: For CPA priests’ being granted diocesan faculties after making a “private” Profession of Faith, how do they make reparation for the scandal of public schism? How then, do such priests escape the condemnation of our Lord, when He said: “Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God. But he that shall deny me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God.” (Lk. 12:8-9) Considering where they come from and to which they are destined to return to serve a schismatic Church in China, is the mere recital of a private Profession of Faith is sufficient to be a true Profession of Faith?
5.3) Supreme Authority of the Pope: By reciting the Profession of Faith, the CPA priests regard the Holy Father as only the “spiritual leader” of the Church. They do not necessarily recognize that the Pope has supreme legislative, executive, and judicial authority to appoint and govern the Catholic bishops of the whole world, which naturally includes China. They also do not necessarily recognize the Pope as the supreme pastor of the universal Church, possessing the immediate, full, supreme, universal and ordinary power over all Catholic faithful. In this way, the CPA priests reconcile their recitation of the Profession of Faith with their profession of independence from the Holy Father. So, Should not the Holy See revise the approach to reconciling CPA priests with the Roman Catholic Church?
5.4) Pope’s Principle: Reciting the Profession of Faith once by the CPA priests in private without explicitly acknowledging the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff and in the meantime still reporting to the schismatic CPA bishops can hardly be construed as the faith demanded by the Pope when he said: “unity (which) springs from conversion of the heart and from sincere acceptance of the unchanging principles laid down by Christ for His Church.” (Pope’s speech in Manila to China on February 14, 1994.)
5. If This Scenario were to happen, would it cause a shock among the faithful in the United States?
5.1) Validly ordained priests belonging to Churches that are in schism from the Roman Catholic Church are not normally allowed priestly faculties in Roman Catholic dioceses. How, therefore, can one justify granting priestly faculties to CPA priests?
5.2) How would the faithful react should the priests from a schismatic Church such as the Society of St. Pius X be given faculties to function as priests in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States?
5.3) In the light of the national and international significance of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, should not the granting of priestly faculties to CPA priests be accompanied by an explanatory statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops? Instead we find an unwillingness to disclose from which alleged Vatican dicasteries this authorization emanates.
6. Wrong Signal: CPA priests functioning in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States at present cause much scandal in the Universal Church and deep pain to the loyal underground Roman Catholic Church in China. It also gives the appearance and consequently the wrong message to the Chinese communist government that the CPA has been accepted by the Universal Church in spite of the government’s agenda (independence from the Pope), its policy (continuous persecution of the underground Church) and its programs (“one child, one family” and its forced abortion policy to achieve this program)
7. Violation of Canon Law: Even if these priests have made a truthful Profession of Faith, why is it that these priests have not been required to sever their ties with the CPA in China, and more specifically, with their government-approved bishops in China? Is this not a violation of Canon 265 of the Church, according to which every cleric must be incardinated into some particular church, prelature, institute or society that is in communion with the Bishop of Rome? Is this not also a violation of the living communion of the Body of Christ with the Successor of Peter?
8. We Do Not Understand and Need Your Unequivocal Answer: In the light of all the matters discussed above, we do not understand why the Vatican should approve this program, because no member of the Church hierarchy has offered any reasons for justifying such actions, nor has the Vatican ever explained to the public the rationale and justification of this program.
IV. IS IT TRUE THAT THE VATICAN HAS RECOGNIZED SOME PATRIOTIC BISHOPS?
1. Background : The media and members of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy have often reported that many CPA bishops have been recognized by the Holy See.
2. Remarks by Members of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy: In 1991, Jesuit Father Guiseppe Pittau, now Archbishop and a member of the Roman Curia, told reporters in Rome that there were 20 CPA bishops who are “in perfect communion with the Pope and are therefore legitimate [Roman Catholic bishops].” In its article on September 12, 1991, South China Morning Post of Hong Kong reported that “there were at least 10 more bishops of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association who were recognized by the Vatican privately, in addition to the 20 announced by Father Pittau.” Since then, many remarks have been made by various church people that most of the CPA bishops have been accepted by the Holy See and are therefore in communion with the Pope. The latest remark which I am aware of was from Mr. Thomas Quigley, an official of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States in January, 2000: “It is believed that the vast majority of the bishops associated with the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association have been secretly reconciled with Rome.”
3. Vatican’s Non-Confirmation: Shortly after Father Pittau’s disclosure that there were 20 CPA bishops in communion with the Pope, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the spokesman of the Vatican, neither confirmed nor denied father Pittau’s statement when he said: “I believe it is opportune to emphasize that the statements by Father Pittau did not represent the Church’s.” Since then, in the last eight years, even in the face of numerous reports in the media regarding the conversion of the CPA’s bishops to the Pope, the Holy See has never issued any statement to confirm or to deny such reports.
4. Our Observation: We know that almost all CPA bishops are on the board of directors - or its equivalent - of the CPA and/or of the China Catholic Bishops College, either at the headquarters or at the local level. As officers, they have the fundamental duty to defend the current constitution of these two organizations. The most important and basic article of these two constitutions that the CPA bishops vigorously defend is the autonomy of the CPA from the Pope. If the claim that most of the CPA bishops have been accepted by the Vatican is true, are they still sitting on the board - or the equivalent thereof - of the CPA and the China Catholic Bishops College and defending their autonomy from the Holy See?
5. Effect of Vatican’s Non-Confirmation: The lack of any clarity on this matter on the part of the Holy See has created confusion and, we believe, has adversely affected the morale of the persecuted underground Roman Catholic Church in China. This is contrary to item 8 of the Holy See 1988 directive:
“It will be necessary, therefore, to foresee how to assist the means of social communication, utilizing the orientations mentioned above [the previous seven items of the directive as referred to throughout this Open Letter], which clarify the position of the Church and may foster the comprehension of the diverse and complex problems closely connected with this position.”
6. We Do Not Understand and Need Your Unequivocal Answer: This conversion of the CPA bishops is, if true, an extremely important matter. Yet, we are still mystified and uncertain. In view of the above, we need a clarification whether it is true that “the vast majority of the bishops associated with the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association have been secretly reconciled with Rome.”
V. WHY ARE CATHOLIC OFFICIALS AND ORGANIZATIONS FINANCIALLY SUPPORTING THE CPA AND NOT THE UNDERGROUND ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN CHINA?
1. Media Report: According to the magazine 30 days, millions have been contributed to the CPA by the universal Church’s institutions. In the meantime, the loyal underground Roman Catholic Church, which has demonstrated its allegiance to the Holy Father heroically for the last five decades, was “left with nothing.”
2. Facts: For examples, Aid to the Church in Need alone has given millions to the CPA. Jesuits contributed one-third, or U.S. $ 400,000, of the total cost of U.S. $ 1.2 million of a retreat house in Shanghai belonging to the CPA. Even the New York Archdiocese contributed US $ 5,000 toward the repair of a CPA church. In addition, Father Paul Pang, O.F.M., the Director of the Office for the Promotion of the Overseas Chinese Apostolate of the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has publicly approved and in fact urges the faithful to donate money during a collection at Mass in a CPA church!
In addition to cash, there are free services given to the CPA . Scores of religious personnel worked in China for the CPA as teachers and social workers. Moreover, as explained above, dozens of CPA seminarians and nuns are studying free with full tuition, room and board scholarships in United States Catholic seminaries and elsewhere in the West.
3. A nightmare: Is it also true that the Vatican itself, through its own agents such as the Propagation of Faith, Catholic Relief Services, diocesan Ordinaries or even parish pastors, is also donating monies to the CPA?
4. Impact: Because of all this support, it is logical for the CPA bishops and the Chinese government to believe that the position they have taken (independence from the Pope), their policy (continuous persecution of the loyal Church) and programs (“one child, one family” and its forced abortion policy to achieve this program) must have been accepted by the universal Church. Otherwise, why would these CPA projects receive such overwhelming support with millions of dollars in donation from the universal Church?
5. Our Observations: If these millions of dollars donated merely represent charity to other Christian brothers, should there not be significantly more donations to express the Church’s love for and solidarity with the persecuted and suffering underground Roman Catholic bishops? We are heart-broken to note that we have not seen these donations to the underground Church. We do not believe that this disparity is within the meaning and intention of the “fraternal charity” emphasized as item 6 of the Holy See 1988 directive.
Many Church leaders in the free world appeared to have been convinced that the kindness and friendship expressed by donating millions to the Communist government-sanctioned CPA would bring about unity between the loyal Church and the CPA, and eventually the freedom of worship in China. It has not and will not work. Almost twenty years of active and open support for the CPA bishops by the universal Church has failed to achieve this “unity.” It could only misguidedly give the CPA bishops and the Communist government an impression that if they wait long enough, the universal Church leaders would accept them under any terms, with or without the principle of Papal primacy.
In the meantime, the recent ordination, on January 6, 2000, of five CPA bishops without the approval of the Pope speaks eloquently that the Chinese government is in defiance of Pope John Paul II’s assertion of authority over all Catholics worldwide.
With all this evidence, one might come to the conclusion that the Vatican is playing into the hands of the Chinese government. On the one hand, the Communists’ CPA receives millions from the West. On the other hand, the Chinese government continues and intensifies the persecutions against the underground Roman Catholic Church, and the CPA continues its schism and its total independence from the Pope.
6. Cardinal Kung’s Homily: In his homily televised nationally on June 29, 1994, the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, Cardinal Ignatius Kung said:
“...Many Catholic Church leaders in the Free world extended hospitality and donated large sums of money to bishops of the Communist’s Patriotic Association. The Chinese government regards these friendships and cooperation with the Patriotic Association as an endorsement of its current policy on religion. With this license, they continue their persecution of the loyal Roman Catholic Church without any fear of reprisal. Unfortunately, these misguided friendships and acts of charity on behalf of the Patriotic Association have only prolonged the sufferings of the loyal Church...This is a disservice to the Chinese. This is a ridicule to the continued sacrifices and sufferings of the loyal “underground” Roman Catholic communities. It is a mockery to the blood of the thousands of Chinese martyrs.”
7. We Do Not Understand and Need Your Unequivocal Answer: We need your clear explanations why the Catholic hierarchy should give millions to a schismatic CPA without giving any meaningful amount to the underground Church. We know that it is much more difficult to clandestinely give money to the underground Church; but this certainly cannot justify giving money one-sidedly to the CPA.
VI. CATHOLIC VISITORS IN CHINA ATTENDING RELIGIOUS SERVICES IN OR BY THE CPA CHURCH
1. Background: A large number of Roman Catholics visit China every day. Many of them stay over the weekend or over a holy day of obligation. Because of the inaccessibility of the underground Roman Catholic Church in China, these visitors fulfill their Sunday or holy day of obligation by attending Mass at a CPA church.
2. Issue: In view of the Chinese government’s hostility toward and persecution of the underground Roman Catholic Church in China, must these visitors attend Mass on Sunday or on a holy day of obligation while they travel in China? Should they attend Mass in a CPA church?
3. No Official Guidance: The Holy See 1988 directive does not provide any direct reference to guide the faithful whether they should attend Mass in a CPA church when they are in China. However, Father Paul Pang, O.F.M., the Director of Office for the Promotion of the Overseas Chinese Apostolate of the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, advised that, as long as there is no apparent “evil example,” it is all right for the faithful to attend Mass in the CPA church. Father Pang defined the “evil example” as the “condition, established by the Patriotic Association religious,” that would “sever the relationships with the overseas faithful and the Magisterium by attending the Mass in the Patriotic Association Church.” Father Pang said that this “evil example” is in general almost non-existent.
4. Our Observations:
4.1) Compromise of the Church’s Magisterium: The CPA and its clergy have publicly compromised and diluted the Roman Catholic Church’s Magisterium and do not honor the supreme administrative, legislative and judicial authority of the Successor of Peter. Therefore, they are not in communion with the Pope. Communion with the Pope is a basic Catholic doctrine, not merely a discipline. Therefore, the CPA is not Roman Catholic.
4.2) The CPA is in Schism from the Roman Catholic Church: Please read the section above, “Is The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association a Schismatic Church?”
4.3) Uncertainty about Validity of Ordinations: According to the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church, section 844, item 2 states:
“Whenever necessity requires or genuine spiritual advantage suggests, and provided that the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, it is lawful for the faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose churches these sacraments are valid.”
This Canon does indeed apply consistently, for example, to the Greek Orthodox Church, all of whose bishops and priests are validly ordained. However, this Canon cannot consistently apply to the CPA.
The vast majority of CPA bishops and priests are validly ordained. However, that even a small minority of them are not makes it impossible for Catholics visiting China to be ALWAYS certain about the validity either of the ordinations of individual CPA bishops or priests, or of the Sacraments that these individual bishops or priests administer. We have no written official guarantee from the Holy See that ALL of the CPA’s bishops and priests are validly ordained.
4.4) Sunday Obligation is not Binding in a Hostile Country: According to Canon 1248 of the Roman Catholic Church, “the precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite….” and is obligatory unless it is made impossible either by a “lack of a sacred minister” or some “other grave cause.”
In the light of the past five decades of severe persecution of Roman Catholics in China and its recent intensification, it is clear that China is hostile to the Roman Catholic Church and can be characterized as a “hostile country.”
Moreover, it is almost impossible for a foreign visitor to attend the Sunday Mass celebrated by an underground Roman Catholic priest. If they attend such an underground Mass, the visitors as well as the Chinese underground Catholics are subject to arrest and detention
Considering the past and current persecutions of religious believers and considering the aforementioned danger in attending the underground Mass, the atmosphere and the environment in attending the underground Catholic religious service are definitely hostile and it is tantamount to a “grave cause” as described in the Canon. As confirmed by the Canon 1248, a Roman Catholic visiting China is, therefore, not obliged to fulfill the Sunday obligation unless he or she is able to do so without danger.
4.5) Danger of “Wounding the Sensibility” of Catholics Suffering in China: Item 4 of the Holy See 1988 directive states that “[i]n the course of various encounters, care must be taken to avoid attitudes which could wound the sensibility of the ‘silent’ majority of those Catholics who have suffered and are suffering for their fidelity to the Holy Father.” This China Advisory has not been rescinded.
By attending the CPA’s religious services, as stated in the next paragraph “Danger of Misrepresentation,” the underground Church’s sensibility is certainly torturously wounded.
4.6) Danger of Misrepresentation: Even if unwittingly, by their presence in the CPA church, Roman Catholics would encourage the Chinese government to continue its persecution of the Roman Catholic Church without fear of reprisal from the outside world, and would give the false impression that they support the Chinese government’s repressive religious policy and condone the government’s 50-year persecution of the Roman Catholic Church.
5. We Do Not Understand and Need Your Unequivocal Answer: In view of our observations, we do not understand why the Holy See, through the representation from Father Paul Pang, should encourage the Roman Catholic visitors to China to attend Mass at a CPA church.
VII. OTHER ITEMS OF CONCERN
1. Pastoral Letter of the CPA Bishops’ Conference: In September 1995, the CPA Bishops’ Conference issued a pastoral letter calling for all Chinese Catholics to support China’s “Platform for the Development of Women.” We all know well that this Platform includes birth control, sterilization, and the one family-one child policy whereby women who are pregnant after having one child are forced by the Chinese government to abort their unborn babies.
While we are aware of the possibility that the above pastoral letter may have been written under the pressure and instruction of the Chinese government to whom the CPA bishops’ conference reports, we are also mindful of the following words by the Pope in his message to China on December 3, 1996:
“The Bishop must be the first witness of the faith which he professes and preaches, to the point of ‘shedding his blood’ as the apostles did and as so many other Pastors have done down the centuries, in many nations and also in China”
We do not understand how the Holy See can remain so silent about this obviously very wrong “pastoral letter” without uttering a word in public in fidelity to the Gospel of Life and for the sake of the dignity of human life in China.
2. Approval from The Ordinary: In the universal Church, according to Canon 678 of the Roman Catholic Church, all religious organizations working in a diocese must receive the approval from the Ordinary of that diocese. However, many missionaries, in recent years, returned to China and started various charitable projects. These foreign missionaries did not seek permission for their projects from the underground loyal bishops who were appointed by the Holy Father. They do not work with the loyal Church. Instead, they work with the Communist’s CPA.
A most recent example is the opening of a new retreat center in Shanghai by the CPA on April 15, 1999. This center has three stories with 51 rooms accommodating 102 persons. It costs U.S. $ 1.2 million. In accordance with Canon 678, the Jesuits and other foreign missionaries should seek permission to build this retreat house from Cardinal Ignatius Kung, who is the only legitimate Bishop of Shanghai, but they did not. Instead, they supported the CPA’s Bishop of Shanghai, Bishop Jin Luxian, S.J. who opened this new retreat center. This project must have been viewed by the CPA as another sign of approval of the CPA from the free world.
This misguided enthusiasm to work in a diocese without proper authorization, in violation of Canon 678, cannot possibly be a form of ecumenism, because ecumenism can never be done at the expense of Canon Law or at the expense of the fundamental Catholic dogma of being “in communion with the Pope.”
In view of the above, it is very sad to note that the Roman Catholic missionaries of the free world ignore their own brother bishops. We cannot imagine a religious order carrying out an unauthorized project in a diocese of the Free World. If this unauthorized ministry could not happen in the Free World, why should it occur in China? Why the double standards?
We do not understand why the aforementioned irregularity happened without appropriate public explanations and comments from the Vatican. We need your help to understand this matter.
3. Appealing to Chinese Authorities for the Imprisoned Faithful in China: Since the beginning of religious persecutions in China fifty years ago, hundreds, maybe even thousands, of lay Catholics, priests, nuns, seminarians, and bishops are still in jail or labor camps because they continue to refuse to renounce our Holy Father.
These imprisoned faithful are the soldiers of the Church. These imprisoned bishops are the citizens of the Vatican. Any country defends its citizens. Therefore, we expect that whenever a bishop or any of the faithful is unjustifiably jailed and/or tortured by another country, Vatican officials will come to their aid and negotiate with the country to secure their release.
For example, Bishop Su Zhimin, the underground Bishop of Baoding in Hebei Province, and his auxiliary Bishop An Shuxin were arrested by the Chinese government without trial or sentence about three years ago. They were simply taken away by the police. There were many other bishops and priests arrested by the Chinese authorities in the recent years. We thought that the Vatican would “fight” on behalf of these bishops and priests vigorously for their release from China’s prisons.
However, about Bishop Su Zhimin and Bishop An Shuxin, Holy See press office director Joaquin Navarro-Valls made a startling and unbelievable declaration on March 22, 1999 that “The Secretariat of State up until now has taken no step concerning the liberation of the two bishops of Baoding.”
Frankly, we were shocked. We expected that the Vatican would have taken steps to liberate these two heroic and good bishops from the first day of their arrest. The same would be true for any other bishops and priests. Has the Vatican now taken steps to negotiate with the Chinese government for the release of these two bishops? For this matter, has the Vatican taken steps to liberate any other bishops, priests, and other faithful currently in jail in China?
Another example: The government of the Peoples Republic of China confiscated the passport of His Eminence, Ignatius Cardinal Kung two years ago in March 1998, effectively making him stateless. The worldwide media reported the news of this confiscation. No one in the Holy See or in the local Bishop’s office indicated any concern about the Cardinal’s problem and no one offered any help to him!
4. Why is the Holy See’s 1988 Directive Largely Ignored and Violated even by members of the hierarchy?
As noted in many of the questions above, this directive has been ignored. Have other directives been issued by the Holy See that render this particular directive obsolete? If so, the faithful, especially those in China, have the right to know. If this particular directive has not been rescinded, why has the Holy See not enforced it among members of the hierarchy?
Of the eight directives presented by The Holy See in 1988, the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth are directly and concretely appealed to in the questions above (The application of the second and third directives are complicated by the schismatic nature of the CPA as well as by the Chinese government’s continued persecution of the Roman Catholic underground Church.)
5. Annuario Pontificio: This is an official Vatican directory of all world’s bishops appointed by and recognized by the Holy See. Yet, with the exception of His Eminence Cardinal Kung, none of the bishops of the underground Church is recognized in this directory.
For many years, the activities of most of the loyal bishops were truly underground. To protect their identity, Vatican had good reasons in the past not to disclose their names. Situations have now changed. Most underground bishops have willingly taken the risk of coming out into the open. The government knows their whereabouts better than anyone. The reasons for not giving them your recognition in the Annuario Pontificio due to identity protection no longer exist. The fact that you do not publicly list the Chinese loyal bishops in the Annunario Pontificio is being misinterpreted by people of all ranks as your reluctance to support your loyal bishops. Moreover, the Chinese government regards this situation, not as a friendly concession of the Holy See, but rather as a lack of support for these loyal bishops from the universal Church. It also causes great confusion in many dioceses of China about the true identities of Vatican appointed Ordinaries and bishops.
We beg you to give your loyal bishops the mandate needed to guide your flock of almost ten million. Please consider publishing in the Annuario Pontificio the names of those bishops who are known to have come out into the open. Those underground bishops, if any, who have chosen to remain hidden should remain anonymous until the appropriate time.
6. Chinese National Conference of Roman Catholic bishops: About eleven years ago in 1989, realizing the importance of a central strategic organization, the underground bishops established “The Chinese National Conference of Roman Catholic (underground) Bishops.”
As expected, the government retaliated. On the way back to their dioceses, all attendees of the Conference were arrested by the Chinese authority. Eventually, four bishops died in jail. Many were injured and became sick.
The Chinese National Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops was established according to the regulations of the Church. They drafted and passed the constitution of the Conference, elected officials, and completed all the required formalities for the approval of the Conference by the Holy See. We understand that all documents were submitted to the Holy See in 1989.
The underground bishops in China have lived under the Communist rules for almost half a century, and have survived many turbulent periods. Regardless of this most difficult situation, they have succeeded in increasing the Catholic population from three million to almost ten million. They are also experienced in Communist tactics and psychology. They are prepared to pay for their fidelity and faith with their life and blood as they are taught by the history of the Church.
We are convinced that in the long run, the recognition of the loyal Bishops Conference by the Holy See can only further energize the steady growth of the underground Church and will eventually force the Chinese Communist government to give the Roman Catholic Church legal status.
Eleven years have passed. The conference has stood the test of time. The imprisonment and the death of a few bishops did not result in the demise of the Conference. Now, what we urgently need is the Holy See’s public approval and acceptance of the underground Bishops Conference.
We beg the Holy See to consider granting official status to the Chinese National Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops as soon as possible. Please do not base your decision on the fear of the reprisal from the Chinese government. These short term harassments and persecutions will be there for some time to come, with or without any special action from Rome. These same persecutions always strengthen the faith of the clergy and faithful. History has proven that the Roman Catholic Church in China will never be destroyed by persecutions, but will be severely weakened by the misconception that the Holy See has abandoned the loyal Church.
1. DE FACTO IRRELEVANCE OF THE HOLY SEE 1988 DIRECTVE: According to item 8 of the Holy See 1988 directive:
“….It will be necessary….to assist the means of social communication….(to) clarify the position of the Church and may foster the comprehension of the diverse and complex problems….”
This item of the 1988 directive calls for the utilization of the means of social communication for the clarification of the position of the Roman Catholic Church on the question of the CPA of China. However, this open letter to the Holy See, and each of the questions raised in it, are testimony to the fact that Holy See’s position on the CPA of China is far from being clear. This letter seeks to gain such clarity for the sake of the universal Church on all of the issues discussed above.
2. CONTINUED HOSTILITIES – SECRET DOCUMENTS: The Chinese government has been and continues to be hostile to the loyal Roman Catholics in China who, despite increased and intensified persecutions, remain faithful to the Pope. Recent examples of these hostilities include the November 1996 Chinese government’s secret plan “to legally implement the eradication of illegal activities of the underground Catholic Church;” and the August 17, 1999 secret document stating that the underground Roman Catholic Church “must be eliminated.”
3. ENCOURAGING THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT: Even if unwittingly, bishops and/or the religious superiors in the United States or in any other free countries - who allow the education of CPA seminarians in their own seminaries with full tuition, room and board scholarships, grant priestly faculties to CPA priests, donate millions to the CPA, work with the CPA on various projects without asking permission from the underground Ordinaries - in fact are encouraging the Chinese government to continue its persecution of the Roman Catholic Church without fear of reprisal from the outside world. They thereby give the false impression that they support the Chinese government's repressive religious policy and condone that government's 50-year persecution of the Roman Catholic Church.
4. NO SUPPORT: Should not those Roman Catholic bishops and religious superiors friendly to the CPA bishops show some support and unity to the underground bishops by suspending these donations and projects to the CPA until the persecutions to the underground Roman Catholic Church stop? They have not done so.
5. OCEAN OF AGONY: Like so many tributary rivers ultimately pouring themselves together, each of the issues discussed above has been a source of tribulation for the underground Roman Catholic Church in China; and together, they have formed a veritable “ocean of agony” for faithful Catholics in China. This seems so terribly wrong and so grossly unfair.
6. PERSECUTIONS BY OUR OWN CHURCH: It is therefore no wonder that the 9-10 million loyal Catholics in China are very heart-broken and confused. In their hearts, they know that Papal primacy is one of the basics of being a Catholic. In their hearts, they know that Holy Father is firmly behind them. In their hearts, they know that Holy Father will never abandon them. However, facing all these confusing and contradictory events, the loyal Catholics are experiencing, as one of the underground bishops has confided to us, neglect and abandonment by our own Church. This experience causes far more painful suffering than does incarceration in a Chinese Communist prison.
7. PAPAL AUTHORITY BECOMING IRRELEVANT: The Communist government did not succeed in eliminating the three million Catholics by coercion and persecution in the 1950s. Now the government is hoping to defeat the Roman Catholic Church from within its own Church through misinformation, deceit, and confusion over and in addition to the intensified persecutions! The Chinese government is trying very hard to erode the respect, confidence, obedience and loyalty of the “underground” Church to the Holy Father to the extent that when the chips are down, the issue of the Papal authority in the Catholic Church in China would become irrelevant.
8. NOT SPEAKING OUT: Needless to say, the CPA is in a state of schism. Its bishops have publicly demonstrated their aberration from the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. The Chinese government has intensified its persecution of Roman Catholics who remain faithful to the Pope. How in conscience can bishops in the United States continue their practices as outlined above, and how can the Holy See not speak out forcibly and act on these matters in no uncertain terms?
9. NEED OFFICIAL AND UNAMBIGUOUS RESPONSE: For many, it appears that the Holy See itself struggles internally between the attraction to political expediency and fidelity to the divinely established communion with the Successor of Peter. This is why we think that it is both important and urgent that our questions receive an official and unambiguous response.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Cardinal Kung Foundation
A final editorial note. Joseph Kung, who differs from me on the matter of the nature of the apostasy we face at this time, is an intellectually honest, brave and stalwart son of the Church. He expressed the conviction in the Open Letter above that the Ratzinger/Benedict would never abandon the underground Church in China. Current indications are that this conviction does not coincide with the actual facts.