A new report from The Wall Street Journal highlighted the criticism going towards Pope Francis over his recent actions in China.
Pope Francis ’ recent decision to replace two Chinese bishops loyal to Rome with selectees of the country’s Communist government, heralding his broader moves to reset the Vatican’s ties with Beijing, has drawn cries of betrayal from advocates of the country’s long-persecuted “underground” Catholic Church.
The pope’s actions in China are characteristic of a leader who has repeatedly practiced realpolitik to achieve important goals. But they clash with Pope Francis’ image among many Catholics and others as a defender of the oppressed—a profile likely to be further tested by his campaign to improve Vatican-China relations after seven decades of estrangement.
The pope has decided to recognize seven government-appointed Chinese bishops, according to a person familiar with the matter, in a major concession to Beijing in pursuit of warmer relations and—in the very long term—possible reestablishment of diplomatic ties broken in 1951. As part of that decision, Pope Francis has moved to replace two bishops loyal to the Vatican with prelates from China’s state-controlled Catholic church.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, a former bishop of Hong Kong, wrote on Monday that the Vatican seemed to be “selling out the Catholic Church in China.” Vatican officials now expect the pope’s stance in China to provoke more such criticisms from Chinese Catholics who reject government control of the church.
This isn’t shocking at all from Pope Francis. As we have seen in his interactions with Radical Islam Pope Francis has continually refused to stand firm and behind Catholics being killed in The Middle East. He instead has shaken hands with terror group leaders. That same tactic is now being exercised in China. We have to hope that Pope Francis is making the correct move by caving to the demands of the Chinese because if not the Catholic Church will take a hit.