Papal Crony Praises Communist China, Denounces America

By Steven Mosher Published on February 6, 2018

Recently back from his very first trip to China, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo is waxing ecstatic. “Those who best realize the social doctrine of the Church at this time are the Chinese.” So Sorondo gushed to the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, on Friday. “They seek the common good, subordinating all things to the general good.”

That reminds me of Lincoln Steffens’ awestruck assessment of the Soviet Union. He said: “I’ve seen the future, and it works!”

China is morally superior because it pays lip service to Global Warming? Really?

As we all know, Stalin’s USSR turned out to be one of the great killing fields of the Twentieth Century. Mao’s China was another.

China: A New Paradise?

Sorondo serves as the Chancellor of the both the Pontifical Academy of Science and the Pontifical Academy of Social Science. He’s not a reporter. “I found an extraordinary China,” he continued breathlessly. “You do not have shantytowns. You do not have drugs, young people do not have drugs. There is a positive national consciousness. They want to show that they have changed, they already accept private property.”

Archbishop Sorondo surely rode in a chauffeured limousine from the airport to his five-star hotel. He probably did not see any shantytowns. The route, after all, got carefully Potemkinized. Foreign visitors get a splendid first impression.

His government handlers didn’t hesitate to lie to him about politically sensitive topics. They may have assured him that China’s youth are drug-free. But the country’s National Narcotics Control Commission recently said otherwise: “China’s drug problem is severe and growing, with sharp rises in the abuse and production of synthetic drugs.”

China, for Sorondo, has “positive national consciousness.” It relentlessly “seeks the common good.” It’s also the main manufacturer of opioids such as fentanyl. Such drugs, illegally exported by China to the rest of the world, have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of young Americans, Canadians, and Filipinos.

How about China’s respect for “private property”? See the ongoing destruction of Catholic and other Christian churches in China. These churches stoof on “private” land. With the written permission of the Communist-dominated state. Which turned out to be worthless.

Chinese Communism Saving the Planet?

Sorondo’s most extravagant claim? That Beijing is “defending the dignity of the person.” How? By “following Laudato Si on the care of our common home [to limit CO2 emissions. . . China] is here assuming a moral leadership that others have abandoned.”

China is morally superior because it pays lip service to Global Warming? Really?

Is Beijing defending the “dignity of the human person” by forcibly aborting women who conceive children outside the Communist Party’s birth plan? Is the Party showing “moral leadership” by executing more people each year than the rest of the world combined?

Does Sorondo even know that China’s workers can’t organize free labor unions along the lines of Poland’s Solidarity? Or that workers who strike for higher wages — or for any wages at all — often face deadly force?

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America: The Enemy

Of course, no interview with Archbishop Sorondo is complete without a little America-bashing. He said: “The economy [in China] does not dominate politics, as it does in the United States. How is it possible that the petroleum multinationals control Trump, when we know that this is bad for the earth.”

No, Your Excellency, the economy in China does not dominate politics. But that is only because China is a bureaucratic totalitarian state. The Chinese Communist Party — and its politics — dominate not just production, but reproduction as well.

Sorondo’s slur that the oil companies, or anyone else for that matter, control President Trump is simply laughable. If anyone is his own man, it is Donald Trump.

Some of this nonsense is pretty much what we have one to expect from an anti-American Argentinean socialist. Especially one who thinks that the government can — if only we allow it enough power — to solve all social problems.

An Embarrassment to the Church

Sorondo, despite being the head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is known for being a sloppy thinker.

Not long ago, for example, he claimed that the Pope’s specific views on global warming were just as authoritative as the Church’s condemnation of abortion. Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, who studied theology under Joseph Ratzinger commented. He called these comments “worse than wrong. They are an embarrassment to the Church.”

But Sorondo is probably just as much Chinese dupe as socialist fellow traveler.

After you’ve been treated like visiting royalty, it seems churlish to remark on China’s continuing imprisonment of bishops or destruction of churches, even if they are your own bishops and your own churches.

It is an exhilarating experience to be flattered by a coterie of Chinese officials. They carefully gauge your political sympathies. They know how to appeal to them while flattering you. The treatment has made better men — Henry Kissinger, for example — lose their heads. So one might excuse Soronda by saying that he is a victim of China’s exquisite skills in barbarian management.

The Royal Treatment

After you’ve been treated like visiting royalty, it seems churlish to remark on China’s continuing imprisonment of bishops or destruction of churches, even if they are your own bishops and your own churches.

I suspect that Sorondo was also, in his clumsy way, trying to blunt criticism of the forthcoming agreement between the Vatican and the Chinese Communist Party over the appointment of bishops.

If China is really, as he claims, doing such a remarkable job carrying out the “social doctrine of the Church,” then the implication is that we should just overlook its persecution of the Church itself.

Torturing Christians

We should overlook the findings of the U.S. State Department. Its most recent annual report on freedom of religion found the Chinese government “physically abused, detained, arrested, tortured, sentenced to prison, or harassed adherents of both registered and unregistered religious groups for activities related to their religious beliefs and practices.”

We should put all that aside. Why? For the sake of an agreement which cedes control of both the Patriotic and Underground churches in China to the Chinese Communist Party.

Perhaps Sorondo and others in the Vatican seem deluded. Communist Party negotiators convinced them that if the Vatican orders the Underground Church out of the catacombs and allows Beijing to choose its bishops, that the CCP will reciprocate by allowing greater scope for religious freedom and practice. If so, nothing could be further from the truth.Bully of Asia - COVER v5__1517902683_70.123.104.176

The Bully of Asia

As I write in Bully Of Asia, the CCP still:

practices ‘brainwashing’ not merely on outspoken dissidents but on everyone. The point of the ‘self-criticism’ sessions that were a regular feature of life under chairman Mao — and that have been reinstituted under Party Supremo Xi Jinping — was to bring everyone’s thoughts into alignment with the Party’s. Even today, there is nothing akin to a Western ‘right of privacy’ or ‘right of conscience’ that would prevent the Party-State from imprinting its policies wholesale on the minds and bodies of its subjects. … Big Daddy Xi [as he is called in China] is ratcheting up controls over all kinds of ‘thought work’ and has made it clear that all Chinese media must serve the interests of the ruling Communist Party.

Of course, I’m an American. So Archbishop Sorondo would probably discount what I have to say. But I will say it nonetheless: Those of us who know Communist Chinese officials as the most duplicitous and masterful manipulators on the planet know that Chinese Party-State will violate any agreement that is signed before the ink is dry on the paper.

Giving the Communists Control

And whether Sorondo understands it or not — and I would guess he doesn’t have a clue — there’s only one reason why the Chinese Party-State wants an agreement with the Vatican at all. For control. It wants to control the appointment of bishops so that it can create a breakaway national church. It wants to control and limit the contact of that church with the outside world, and to put it on a path to gradual extinction.

Most of all, it wants to force the Underground Church out into the open. There its heroic bishops will give way to state lackeys. Its members more effectively watched. Its preaching stopped.

That the Vatican is contemplating cooperating with this scheme is mystifying. Why would any believing Catholic consent to hand over millions of believers in China to an officially atheistic Communist Party that is hostile to Catholicism, treats Catholics as second-class citizens, and will not even let them serve in the government or the military?

What You Must Do, Do Quickly

It is, as Cardinal Zen says, nothing less than a betrayal of faithful Catholics in China.

If Archbishop Sorondo and others in the Vatican ignore the true Church in China, if they’re determined to cave to the Chinese Communist Party, then they should simply shut up and do so.

Don’t insult our intelligence. Don’t claim that the Communist revolution has finally produced a society that has solved all of mankind’s social ills. Or that the Chinese Communist Party has done a better job implementing the social gospel than, say, the United States of America.

We’ve heard that claim before from political pilgrims to China going all the way back to Edgar Snow, who in Red Star Over China tried to convince us that Mao Zedong was building heaven on earth.

I will let you, dear reader, decide whether the Archbishop should be treated as a laughingstock or a liar, a dupe or a fellow traveler.

But, for whatever reason, he is propagating a myth as old as Marxism. And it is a myth that kills.

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