New reports indicate that a deal between the People’s Republic of China and the Vatican is imminent. If inked, the pact may have serious implications for the religious freedom of Catholics in China, as well as for diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which the Vatican currently recognizes as the official representative of faithful Catholics in China.
The deal purportedly grants the Chinese government power to nominate future bishops. It would also require the Vatican to recognize seven excommunicated Chinese bishops currently operating in China without recognition from Rome.
When the notion of a deal was first raised, Catholics around the world voiced concerns over the role the Chinese government would play in the appointment of Catholic bishops. Under the proposed deal, the pope has veto power over bishops nominated by Chinese authorities. In all other countries, the pope possesses sole authority to appoint bishops.
News of an impending deal comes amidst a crackdown on people of faith throughout China. A Human Rights Watch report estimates that over a million Muslim Uighurs are currently detained in re-education camps in the western province of Xinjiang. Rising persecution of Protestants in China grabbed the attention of lawmakers in Congress who condemned reports that Chinese authorities are burning Bibles, imprisoning pastors, and tearing down crosses from churches.
Religious persecution has long been a feature of Chinese Communist Party rule. Since the 19th Party Congress last October, however, religious persecution has risen substantially. New Regulations on Religious Affairs, instituted this February, represented an extension of the party’s attempts to Sinicize religious practice—essentially an effort to secularize religion so that it serves the party’s ends.
Go here to read the rest. If Pope Francis were an anti-Pope deliberately attempting to harm the Church, in what way would he be acting differently?