But not for loyal Chinese Roman Catholics. And many Roman Catholics, Chinese as well as others, have clearly seen this.
They can see have been sold down the river by their own pope and his henchmen. They have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Having remained loyal to Rome even when persecuted for their stand, Rome has now thrown them under the bus. The Jesuit pope has followed the Jesuit maxim: the end justifies the means.
Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office and who was quoted above, announced after the signing: “This is not the end of a process. It’s the beginning. This has been about dialogue, patient listening on both sides even when people come from very different standpoints. The objective of the accord is not political but pastoral, allowing the faithful to have bishops who are in communion with Rome but at the same time recognized by Chinese authorities.” It would be charitable to say that Burke was just ignorant of the real purpose of the accord, but given that he is director of the Vatican press office this is extending a charitable view of his statement beyond all common sense. The objective of the accord is not political but pastoral? What do the Communist Chinese authorities care about “pastoral” objectives? Of course it was political! Both sides viewed it as a political victory and advance. Yes, Chinese Romanists will now have bishops who are in communion with Rome and also recognised by the Chinese government – but this should bring no joy to any Chinese Romanists! China will only recognise pro-Communist bishops, and Rome will only appoint such bishops – and caught in the middle are millions of Chinese Romanists whose bishops will now put the advancement of China and Chinese Communism above the needs of their own flocks. And all with the Vatican’s approval, which is far more interested in advancing Vatican political influence over China than it is in protecting its own people there.
And there is something else. For Francis I himself, there is also much personal glory and prestige to be gained by this accord: “the Pope is imagining, observers in Rome have said, that he, a Jesuit, will finally accomplish the long-postponed mission of Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), the Jesuit who almost 500 years ago went to China and tried to convert China – and failed. Some even go so far as to say that this achievement would be the single thing this Pope would most like to accomplish(!). Hence, his apparent sense of urgency about signing this accord.”
According to a statement released by the Vatican, “Pope Francis hopes that, with these decisions, a new process may begin that will allow the wounds of the past to be overcome, leading to the full communion of all Chinese Catholics. The Catholic Community in China is called to live a more fraternal collaboration, in order to promote with renewed commitment the proclamation of the Gospel.” Stripped of its nice-sounding Popish religious jargon, this statement bluntly says: Chinese Roman Catholics are now required to collaborate with the Chinese Communist government.
What a betrayal of all those Chinese Roman Catholics who in the past were often brutally persecuted for remaining faithful to the Roman pope and refusing to accept the Communist government’s control over their “Church”! Reporters even asked Francis about this. And what was this wily Jesuit’s reply? Displaying shocking callousness to their suffering, here it is: “Some Catholics in China ‘will suffer’ and feel betrayed, he said, ‘but they have great faith’ and in the end will trust the pope.”