Earlier today, Steven Bannon is standing on the balcony of a main building in Vatican, Italy for a live-streaming broadcast with Miles Kwok in New York to reveal the secret deal of the Pope with the Chinese Communist Party and their crimes to oppress Chinese believers.
The following gives some background information for public viewers.
On 22 September 2018, China and the Vatican signed an agreement concerning the appointment of bishops in China. By this agreement the Chinese government recognizes the pope as head of China’s Catholics. The agreement works to maintain communications and to improve relations between both sides. However, it does not establish diplomatic relations between the Vatican and China. The Vatican currently has diplomatic ties to Taiwan, which China does not recognize.
Despite the agreement, the Chinese government continued its widespread religious crackdown, demolishing underground churches, including the Catholic Church, and in October 2018 right after the agreement, destroyed two Marian shrines, one in Shanxi and the other in Guizhou.
There are currently about 100 Catholic bishops in China, with some approved by Beijing, some approved by the Vatican and, informally, many now approved by both. After the agreement was signed, some bishops have been removed from office as they are not submissive to the communist government.
China broke off diplomatic ties with the Holy See in 1951, and In 1957, the Chinese government established the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which rejects the authority of the Holy See and appoints its own bishops. Many of the nation’s Catholics chose to attend worships in “underground” congregations.
Underground churches in China are considered illegal, although smaller groups of fewer than 5 members are sometimes tolerated by the government. The underground churches recognise only the Vatican’s authority, whereas these churches refuse to accept the authority of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
There continues to be tensions between underground churches and “open churches” which have joined the state-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
For Beijing, an agreement with the Vatican could allow them more control over the country’s underground churches.
It is not unusual that Chinese Catholics attending underground churches get arrested, detained without trial, even tortured. While there are churches for expatriates and expat Christians staying in China are allowed to have their own churches which are not interfered by the government, foreigners, including those of Chinese heritage, found involved with underground churches will be arrested and deported.
Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong had criticised the Vatican for its attempts at diplomacy with China’s government. He accused the Church of forcing bishops to retire in favour of replacements picked by Beijing.
The number of Catholics is hard to estimate because of the large number of Christians who do not affiliate with either of the two state-approved denominations.
The Holy Spirit Study Centre in Hong Kong, which monitors the number of Chinese Catholic members, estimated in 2012 that there were 12 millions Catholics in both branches of the Catholic Church.
Hebei Province has the largest Catholic Christian population in China, with 1 million Church members according to the local government.
By Staff editor