Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong and a Catholic leader who has spent his life resisting the totalitarianism of Communist China, said the deal orchestrated by Pope Francis and the Vatican with the Communists to "regularize" the Catholic Church in China is "an incredible betrayal" of the Faith, a "compete surrender."
He also called on the Vatican secretay of state, Pietro Parolin, to resign.
"They're giving the flock to the wolves," said Cardinal Zen, as reported by Reuters. "It's an incredible betrayal.
Parolin "should resign," said Zen. "I don't think he has faith. He is just a good diplomat in a very secular, mundane meaning."
The Catholic Church has not had official diplomatic relations with China since 1951, a situation created shortly after dictator Mao Zedong and the Communist Party seized control of the country and started exterminating their political opponents. In 1957, the Communists created the Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA), a government-run "Catholic" church designed to compete with the real, underground Catholic Church.
The bishops and priests of the CPA are selected by Communist officials and they must adhere to the socialist teachings of the government. This includes support for abortion, contraception, and easy divorce, practices contrary to the moral teachings of the true church. Today, there are about 5 million Chinese Catholics in the CPA and about 7 million in the underground church, which is headed by bishops and priests loyal to Rome.
To normalize diplomatic relations with China and unify the CPA with the underground church, Pope Francis has agreed to allow the CPA, which is run by the Communist government, to select the bishops who will oversee the Catholic Church in China. The pope apparently will have veto power over any bishop selected but it is unclear how many vetoes he is allowed. Also, it is unclear how clergy who support abortion, for instance, could be ordained or elevated in the church.
Commenting on the arrangement earlier this year, human rights activist Chen Guangcheng said, "This, in fact, is the equivalent of selling out God’s home to the Devil."
As for the Vatican diplomats spearheading the deal, Chen said, "Are they pretending to be naive, or are they really that naive? Are they really trying to lead the Catholic Church, which has more than one billion followers, to make a deal with the anti-Christian and antichrist CCP?"
"At the time when the Chinese people are constantly awakening and moving toward revolt, knowing that the dictatorship is the source of so much social injustice; at the time when Western countries are gradually recognizing the evil nature of the CCP and see the dawn of China’s impending revolution, the Vatican’s making a deal with the devil CCP, [which] will not only humiliate the Vatican itself but it will also tarnish the church of God that it supposedly represents," said Chen.
In the last year, Chinese Communist officials have banned children from attending Mass in some provinces, as well as Protestant, Buddhist, Muslim, and Falun Gong worship services.
Also, there have been widespread reports of Communist Party crackdowns on nearly all religious services and reports of crosses, Bibles, and churches being burned.
The Vatican deal with the Chinese government is a "complete surrender," said Zen. "It's a betrayal [of our faith.] I have no other words."
It is estimated that 65 million Chinese have been killed as a result of Communist policies in that country.