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Seattle Catholic
A Journal of Catholic News and Views
16 Nov 2001
China's Schismatic Church

Schismatic CPA "bishops" enjoy superficial freedom due to their promotion of abortion and rejection of the Supreme Pontiff

The CPA and the underground Catholic Church

With the Pope's recent message to China, many American Catholics were surprised to learn that the Chinese Catholic Church was in need of "reconciliation" with the Vatican. While travelling through China they may have attended seemingly Catholic Masses. They may have even seen Chinese priests invited into their parishes and seminaries — or so they thought. The recent papal pronouncement introduced many to the politics of Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA), but the reality of the situation is far worse than it is made to appear.

In the 1950's, the Chinese Communist Party declared Roman Catholicism "illegal" and drove the Church underground. Bishops, priests and laymen were imprisoned, tortured and murdered. Cathedrals, churches and other property were confiscated along with valuable art and relics. The horrible fate of the Ukrainian Catholics at the hands of the Russian communists was repeated in China. As was the case with the state-controlled Russian Orthodox "Church", Chinese Catholics had to accept the CPA or face the consequences. But, as in the Ukraine, millions of Catholics remained faithful in the underground Church through decades of extreme persecution.

Persecution of Catholics

For his fidelity to the Catholic Church in the face of communist oppression, the recently-departed Cardinal Ignatius Kung was forced to spend 30 years of his life in prison, much of that time in solitary confinement:

Cardinal Ignatius Kung (1901-2000)

Such persecutions are not ancient history or sad stories from the 50's. They are still going on:

The costs of being a Catholic in China today are severe:

Most Chinese Catholics are forced to worship secretly in homes fearing fines and imprisonment
Still, there are those faithful who continue the fight against all odds:

This is not ancient Rome, this is present-day China. The good are being martyred for their Faith in the most populous country on earth.

The CPA is completely and undeniably schismatic

To gain control over Catholics, the communists set up the Catholic Patriotic Association in 1957 as a state-controlled "Church" independent of Rome. The CPA's constitution explicitly rejects allegiance to the pope and is therefore schismatic under Canon 751:

This basic Catholic principle was affirmed as recently as 1995 when Pope John Paul II said:

Painting and icon commemorating the 120 Chinese Martyrs canonized in the year 2000
The CPA openly supports immoral and murderous state policies. In 1995, the CPA "bishops" drafted a pastoral letter calling on Chinese Catholics to support the country's horrific "population control" programs which include mandatory birth control, involuntary sterilization and forced abortion.

The CPA has illegally consecrated over 100 bishops without a papal mandate. Pope Pius XII7 and John XXIII8 both condemned these actions as violations of Canon Law (1382):

Remember Archbishop Lefebvre was officially excommunicated for the same crimes on a much smaller level. Despite the obvious schismatic activities, the Vatican has pronounced no official sentence of "schism" or "excommunication" on the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. In his "ecumenical" visit to China last year, Vatican Cardinal Roger Etchegaray responded to a recent illegal consecration of CPA bishops with an implication that it is a new and surprising action:

If that is repeated? Seeing as how that has been repeated 150 times over the past 50 years, this is a meaningless remark and an empty threat. The Cardinal goes on to comment on how Chinese Catholics are:

Referring to the plight of Catholics in China as an "unhappy separation" is a horribly insulting joke. The Chinese Catholic Church and CPA are not "separate" because of a lack of "dialogue" or "understanding". This isn't an intrareligious quarrel over minor issues. Catholics are persecuted and tortured for being Catholic while schismatics exchange their souls for "religious freedom".

Catholic support of the CPA

Despite the CPA's refusal to be part of the Catholic Church, many Catholics treat them as such, ignoring the millions still fighting for the Faith. In New York and San Francisco, CPA priests are even granted priestly faculties to offer Mass and administer sacraments as if they were Catholic. This is completely contrary to the Holy See's 1988 directive that:

These impostors are also allowed to train in American seminaries with all expenses paid in full by Maryknoll scholarships. Underground Catholic seminarians are ignored and must depend on meager private contributions to receive training in barely adequate accommodations. According to Maryknoll representatives and seminary employees, this program is encouraged and supported by the Vatican.13

Catholic charities, religious orders and even bishops routinely give financial contributions to the CPA without so much as acknowledging the true Catholic Church in China.

Secretly Catholic?

Some justify the scandalous support of this fake "Church" with the claim that many CPA members are "secretly loyal to the Pope". This claim has been repeated by Catholic World News on at least three occasions:

There are also rumored "secret reconciliation" agreements between the CPA and the Catholic Church.

Even if the "secret reconciliation" claims are true, the Vatican seems to be sending the message that it's not necessary to remain Catholic in a hostile country, or that it doesn't matter what you say or do in public so long as you're secretly a Catholic. Are the 10 million persecuted Chinese Catholics who daily risk imprisonment, torture and death taking unnecessary measures? Should they silently go along with China's Satanic "population control" policies? Are they suffering in vain?

Absolutely not — being "secretly" Catholic in an underground Church is one thing; doing so while promoting forced abortion is quite another. Such secret arrangements while cooperating with evil are not and have never been morally acceptable. Catholics are called to accept persecution and even death before denying their Faith or cooperating with Satan. The Roman martyrs knew very well that they could not possibly partake in (much less encourage) the government's pagan worship while remaining "secretly" Catholic. As Christ Himself told his disciples:

Granted not everyone will have the strength and courage to accept the rose of martyrdom in a given situation. Even St. Peter denied Christ and had to be admonished by Him on the Appian Way before finally meeting his death by crucifixion. But those who are blessed with the grace to do so should be praised as martyrs and treasures of the Faith, not ignored for their efforts in favor of those who took the easy way out. For what is the point of last year's canonization of 120 Chinese martyrs if the modern martyrs still facing persecution are ignored? Is martyrdom a product of times past in a distant age?

In 1535, St. Thomas More observed from his Tower of London prison cell three Carthusian monks being led in a cart to their death. He remarked to his visiting daughter:

Soon after, he shared their fate and with his final words proclaimed:

Such are stories of men whose lives and words inspire and encourage future generations of Catholics through the worst of times — stories of courage, faith and honor in the face of the worst persecutions imaginable. Similar stories will never be told of the Chinese priests who caved in to the communists' demands, betrayed the successor of Peter, openly promoted the most diabolical "population control" policies in history, then secretly pledged allegiance to the pope when it served their interests. This is not the Catholic heritage.

St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher accepted torture and death rather than leave the Catholic Church for a national imitation. Cardinal Ignatius Kung refused to accept the evil CPA and preferred to spend decades in prison. They were not seeking earthly fame or recognition; they were simply Catholic and could not possibly do otherwise. Millions of persecuted Catholics in China make the same choice every day and deserve the Church's support. They are willing to sacrifice their health and lives for the one thing that truly matters. What are their leaders in the Vatican willing to do for them?

Current dialogue and ecumenical efforts

The Cardinal Kung foundation has published an open letter to head Vatican officials (including Cardinals Ratzinger and Sodano) asking for clarification on the status of the CPA and explanations for the lack of appropriate action. To date, no official answers to these questions or explanations have been given.17 Instead, the answers have come in the form of disturbing ecumenical gestures which have included Cardinal Etchegaray's recent concelebration of Mass with CPA bishops at a Marian shrine stolen from the Chinese Catholics.18

During the previously mentioned papal address commemorating the 400th anniversary of Matteo Ricci's arrival in China, Pope John Paul II apologized for the actions of unnamed Catholics:

He failed to mention exactly which "members" and which "errors" he was apologizing for. Was he asking forgiveness for the work of the missionaries who saved millions of souls in a pagan nation? Or for bringing the Faith to a country which still has 10 million Catholics despite the government's best efforts to eradicate them? Was it an apology for the efforts of the recently canonized Chinese martyrs? or Cardinal Kung? or St. Francis Xavier? or Matteo Ricci on the very day he was being commemorated?

Such gestures seem by design to allow for different interpretations by different audiences. The Chinese communists can take it as an apology for numerous saints and martyrs while many faithful Catholics can regard it as only referring to obscure incidents too vague to matter. But it didn't work. China responded to the Pope's general apology and subsequent request for "dialogue" with a demand for a specific apology for last year's canonization of 120 Chinese martyrs. Also required would be the Vatican to break all future diplomatic ties with Taiwan. We can only hope and pray both demands are rejected. Apologizing for canonizations would be a new low in an already embarrassing array of ecumenical gestures, and a betrayal of Taiwan would weaken the stance and undermine the efforts of several Catholic countries in Central America.

Additionally, China requires a Vatican agreement not to "interfere with China's internal affairs using the pretext of religious issues". These "issues" include the most evil and murderous "population control" policy mankind has ever known. An "issue" that has only gotten worse since the "fall" of communism and is fully supported by the morally bankrupt United Nations.20 Rather than expressing shock and horror at such a ridiculous "demand", Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, responded with confidence that "technical solutions" could be found to allow such an agreement.21 Would these "technical solutions" involve a sinful agreement to remain silent in the face of such obvious evils? Will it be an "agreement" that that can be interpreted in several different ways? That didn't work with the apology so it's doubtful it will work again. And how exactly does a "technical" solution differ from an "actual" solution? Is it really a solution at all or a diplomatic slight of hand intended to further fruitless and scandalous "dialogue"?

As with the Russian Orthodox, Vatican officials seem less interested in converting the schismatics than building up and supporting them in hopes of a future "reconciliation" of the group as a whole. But even if one remains blindly optimistic as to this plan's potential for success, can "reconciliation" even happen without the schismatics submitting to the Roman Pontiff and shedding their dogmatic errors? Is this process helped by the Vatican's refusal to make them accountable for their actions and truthfully informing them as to the spiritual consequences they face? Has any Schismatic "Church" thus far agreed (even partially) to denounce their schism and the accompanying dogmatic errors? Finally, are these questionable "ecumenical" tactics worth betraying millions of persecuted underground Catholics? The answer to each is an unqualified 'no'.

Pope John Paul II greets Cardinal Kung

Hundreds of Catholic bishops and priests are in prisons and "labor reform camps" for defending the Faith. The more appeals that are made to Rome, the more support the CPA receives. It has been said before that many of the novel actions coming out of the Vatican are insulting to martyrs. That is not some traditionalist overreaction but the exact claim of the martyrs themselves, including Cardinal Ignatius Kung who said as much and more in his nationally televised homily of June 29, 1994:

Chinese Catholics need much more than just a "technical solution".

Peter Miller
Seattle, WA

1 Fatima News (3/00)
2 Cardinal Kung Foundation Web Site ( [CKFWEB]
3 Ibid.
4 ZENIT (11/7/01)
5 Code of Canon Law - 751
6 Pope John Paul II - Speech in Manila (01/95)
7 Ad Apostolorum Principis (1958)
8 Ad Petram Cathedri (1959)
9 Code of Canon Law - 1382
10 CWNews (9/25/00)
11 Ibid.
12 Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, China Advisory Prot. 3314/88 (9/88)
13 Cardinal Kung Foundation, "Open Letter" (3/28/00) [OPLTR]
15 CWNews (6/20/01; 9/27/01; 10/31/01)
16 [OPLTR]
17 Ibid.
18 CWNews (9/25/00)
19 ZENIT (10/26/01)
20 S. Mosher, "UNFPA Hides Coercion Behind a Green Front" (11/2/01)
21 ZENIT (10/29/01)
22 [OPLTR]
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