In the abrupt report given below, Marshall Connolly, for Catholic Online, has an erroneous affirmation. He writes that the Pope ‘s rumored agreement with the Communists will respect his right to veto future episcopal appointments “chosen by the Chinese people.” Such a statement is, no doubt, an unintended gaffe. What he means to say, I am sure, is that the Pope will be able to veto episcopal candidates chosen by Chinese diocesan priests. And that veto, by the way — according to the rumors — can only be for “ethical” reasons. There is no mention in these leaks (as I have read yet) of “doctrinal” reasons. Moreover, “the people” do not choose who will be their bishops (unless one wants to bring up the unusual case of Saint Ambrose who, while only a catechumen, was, so to speak, popularly “elected” by the acclamation of the faithful in Milan). The Church is not a democracy. At times, priests and/or deacons (if there were no priests in the shepherd-less locale) have chosen their bishops in the early Church. That election, of course, awaited the approval of the local ordinary who did the ordaining.
In any event, this assertion of Catholic Online has been rumored about for weeks now. If true, it is a most unfortunate compromise that disregards the bishops (about 30) and priests of the papally-loyal Underground Church, whose clergy have not sought approval from the government — as have the clergy belonging to the Communist-controlled Patriotic Association.
Catholic Online: The Vatican will recognize four bishops appointed by the Chinese government in exchange for the right of the pope to veto future appointments chosen by the Chinese people. The decision represents a compromise to how bishops are appointed in China.
Until now, the Chinese government insisted on its right to appoint all bishops. At the same time, The Church continues to insist on its right to appoint bishops. [Am I missing something here? With this “compromise” exactly who is going to be doing the “appointing” in the future? I am confused at the moment. The Church cannot straddle down both sides of the street at the same time] Read the rest of the report here
On the other hand, we have an article from AsiaNews, which has more informed Catholic sources, that nothing has been officially decided yet as issuing from the ongoing dialogue with the Vatican and Beijing. Here is a relevant clip from AsiaNews:
In any case news reports on an “imminent” agreement are deeply upsetting for Christians who belong to the underground (unofficial) community who feel forgotten and put to one side in these dialogues. They fear that the Vatican, in a rush to achieve some results, is willing to compromises that pollute the Catholic faith.
One of these dreaded compromises is reconciliation with the eight illegitimate bishops (including three who have been officially excommunicated). Recent rumors claim that the Vatican is set to recognize four of them: Ma Yinglin of Kunming (Yunnan); Guo Jincai of Chengde (Hebei); Yue Fusheng of Harbin (Heilongjiang); Tu Shihua of Puqi (Hunan).
If it is true that China is pushing for the recognition of the eight bishops, it is also true that the Holy See continues to exact a real path of reconciliation and that implies a request for forgiveness from the excommunicated bishops, a judgment by the Pope, and a public gesture of apology from the bishop for having scandalized the faithful.
For the Holy See a similar process cannot come about by simply waving a magic wand. It requires each of the implicated bishops to follow a precise process and path. For the full article go here.