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-China: Battle Over Catholic Church Control Heats Up

by Dr. D ~ July 19th, 2011

Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome

(Vatican via Wikipedia)

Chinese authorities have insisted for a long time that the Catholic Church in China is under government control and not subject to ‘foreign’ (Vatican) influence.

As a result of this policy, the Chinese government has chosen new Bishops over the Catholic Church in China and has kept the old ones loyal to the pope under house arrest.

Now the Vatican is responding in radical fashion by actually excommunicating the most recent Chinese priests elevated to Bishop including one who was ordained a Bishop just last week without the pope’s permission. According to the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI:

“deplored” the “illicit” ordination of the Rev. Joseph Huang Bingzhang and expelled him from the church because he was “ordained without papal mandate”.

Huang Bingzhang was ordained last Thursday as Bishop of the Diocese of Shantou in southeast China. He had been counseled by the Vatican numerous times to decline the ordination.

In the last year Chinese authorities have gone against the pope’s wishes and have ordained 3 new bishops –each have subsequently been rejected and excommunicated by the Vatican.

Meanwhile, Chinese government charged the Vatican with interfering with religious liberty in China. Hong Lei of the Chinese Foreign ministry said that the Chinese Catholic Church was independent and that:

any “intervention” by the Vatican constituted “restriction of freedom and nontolerance.”

Response: When does a Roman Catholic Church cease to be Catholic? When it no longer is subject to the pope and governance by the Vatican. There are still ‘underground’ priests and Bishops that remain faithful to the pope.

Chinese government interference in the churches of China is the major reason why so many Christian churches remain underground ‘house’ churches and organizations which are independent of the government.

Official government recognition brings with it government control over the leadership and message of the church. Something which is unacceptable to all those who want true ‘freedom of religion’ which china still does not have even though they want to claim it.               *Top

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