A group of prominent Catholics in Hong Kong has expressed “shock” and “disappointment” over the Vatican’s reported plans to enter into an agreement with the Chinese government over the appointment of bishops and the status of the state-approved Catholic Patriotic Association.
While the writers convey understanding for the Vatican’s eagerness for greater freedoms in China, they are “deeply worried that the deal would create damages that cannot be remedied.” This concern comes in part from a profound distrust in the Chinese communist party and its promises.
“The Communist Party in China, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, has repeatedly destroyed crosses and churches, and the Patriotic Association maintains its heavy-handed control over the Church,” the letter declares.
The writes claim that the agreement would not only fail to guarantee the greater religious freedom but would also prove damaging to the Church by undermining its moral credibility, as well as the people’s trust.
The newly-revised Regulation on Religious Affairs actually allows for “stricter scrutiny over religions,” they note, and the forthcoming agreement will never result “in the Chinese government stopping its persecution of the Church, and ceasing its violations of religious freedom.”