Church in China: Confusion and More Confusion

Catholic Culture: The Vatican guidelines, made public January 28, observe that although government policies vary in different Chinese jurisdiction, registration “requires, almost invariably, the signing of a document in which, notwithstanding the commitment assumed by the Chinese authorities to respect also Catholic doctrine, one must declare acceptance, among other things, of the principle of independence, autonomy, and self-administration of the Church in China.”

The Vatican remarks that in an agreement with the Holy See—the details of which have not been made public—the Chinese government recognized the role of the Roman Pontiff, and the country’s constitution guarantees religious freedom. For these reasons the Vatican says that it will interpret the “Independence” of the Chinese Catholic Church “not in an absolute sense, namely as separation from the Pope and the universal Church, but rather relative to the political sphere.” Report is here.

Then again, the document guidelines support those clergy and bishops who will not register with the Patriotic Church. See CNA report here.