Pope Francis Ditches Underground Catholic Church, Makes Deal With Communist Government

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, of Hong Kong, walks in St. Peter's Square after attending a cardinals' meeting, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 6, 2013.

By John Zmirak Published on January 24, 2018

I won’t try to fathom his motives, but Pope Francis has just betrayed the underground Catholic Church in China. He has made a deal with the collaborationist, Communist-led front group instead. As the Catholic Herald (U.K.) reports:

The Holy See has reportedly asked two Chinese bishops to stand aside to make way for illicitly ordained, Chinese government-backed counterparts.

A Vatican delegation asked Bishop Peter Zhuang of Shantou and Bishop Jospeh Guo Xijin of Mindong to retire or accept demotion in order to smooth relations with the Chinese government.

Asia News, the outlet of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, reports that 88-year-old Bishop Zhuang received a letter dated 26 October asking him to resign to make way for the government-backed Bishop Huang Bingzhang.

Bishop Huang was excommunicated in 2011 after being consecrated without Vatican approval. He is also a member of the National People’s Congress, the Chinese parliament. …

Sources said Bishop Zhuang burst into tears on hearing the demand. …

An underground priest in Mindong said Catholics would feel conflicted over the move. “We of course feel hard to accept but do we have the right to oppose the Vatican?” He said that he may leave the priesthood over the Vatican’s decision.

How many millions of underground Catholics will see this betrayal for what it is? How much credibility will the Catholics of China have now, when they operate as a wing of a totalitarian government? When the people of China look for ways to escape the suffocating embrace of crony bandit socialism, where will they turn?

As I wrote on Twitter when I read this news:

None of my fellow Catholics could think of a decent answer. Nor can I.

The Gospel in China

China fell to the xenophobic, genocidal tyranny of Mao Zedong in 1949. As part of purging the country of foreign influences and rivals for power, Mao banned all Christian missionaries. Back in high school I met Father Raymond de Jaeger, an aged Jesuit who’d evangelized in China — and spent many months in a concentration camp. (Read his powerful memoir, The Enemy Within.) He told grueling stories of the viciousness armed atheists aimed at harmless preachers, who’d done nothing worse than open schools and feed the poor.

Catholic missionaries arrived in China back in the 17th century, while Protestants came in great numbers two centuries later. In college I learned about Yale in China, a program begun at the turn of the 20th century. Members of some of the wealthiest families in America gave up everything to preach the Gospel in China. Some formed families there, and birthed several generations of energetic Christian evangelists.

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But that was before Mao imposed his vicious regime. Beyond hunting missionaries, he demanded that all native Christians form up in groups controlled by the Communist Party. They could have no foreign connections. For Catholics that meant either prison or death, or cutting themselves off from the Vatican. Those willing to make a deal with the Communists formed their own separatist church, its bishops and preachers picked by the Chinese Communist Party. That’s the same party that imposed mass famines upon the people, then in the 1980s demanded forced abortions by the millions.


The Collaborators and the Resistance

No big surprise, but the only Catholics with any credibility in China are those who wouldn’t play ball. The “underground church” consisted of priests and bishops who kept secret ties to Rome. Thousands were sent to prison, or tortured, or killed. Likewise, millions of faithful Protestant Christians still meet in illegal churches all across China. Their refusal to collaborate with that corrupt, evil regime is a blazing witness of faithfulness. Growth in China’s churches is impressive, and almost of all of it takes place among those who resist the government.

How much credibility will the Catholics of China have now, when they operate as a wing of a totalitarian government?

The Future of Faith in China

In the 1970s and 80s, the people of Poland ignored the priests who’d cut deals with their Communist tormentors. Instead they sought out those who’d gone to prison. Who’d faced down the despots, whatever the cost. They rallied to the faithful priests and bishops on the model of St. John Paul II.

Likewise, if the Gospel ever captures the whole of China — and I think it will — the people will shun the Party-approved operatives of the sold-out Catholic church. They will look to the underground faithful: remnant Catholics and Evangelicals who shun such deals with the devil. And then they will rise up and bring one of the world’s great civilizations to Jesus.


UPDATE: According to the Catholic Herald:

Cardinal Joseph Zen, China’s most senior cleric, has made an eleventh-hour appeal to the Vatican to call off its agreement with China….

[I]n an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cardinal Zen calls the plan “unacceptable” and a “surrender”….

Cardinal Zen also tells the faithful that, if the underground Church in their area is replaced by the CCPA, they should just pray at home. He warns them against the temptation to schism, saying that even if the Pope signs the deal they should not rebel against him.


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  • Hmmm…

    Lord, have mercy. Let this dear, dedicated man know that even when his church has failed him, YOU will never do so. Send others to help him; show yourself strong on his behalf. Turn this bitterness to abounding in your love and care. Give him grace to trust you for the way when there seems to be no way.

  • Pope Francis is hard to swallow. I pray we have a new Pope soon.

    • Facebook User

      “Pope Francis” is a DEMON and he will be dealt with by God soon. He is a stupid OLD communist who will soon be in the deepest depths of hell with his comrades! I am not holding back any longer! We have an anti-pope in the Vatican.

    • Michael McDermott

      A very substantial understatement me thinks!

  • Billy Barroo

    Hes been known as the commie pope for years.

  • Chip Crawford

    This is really, really …. hard … to believe. There was a clue in Chile when he accused the victims of clergy abuse. The man has truly left the fold with this. Frankly, to me, this is End Time stuff, with various ones lining up where they will eventually be. I pray all in that church look to their God when indeed man has failed. Do not think the two are intertwined. If ever so, this Pope, who is a mortal man, has disconnected himself. This is not the workings nor the words as referred to above of the Father in Heaven, nor a man of God. Catholics: Be people of God regardless of what one leader does. Do not compromise yourself. Eternal salvation is God-dependent Alone.

  • Patchy McPatchface

    Why is anybody surprised after he awarded Lilianne Ploumen, a Dutch abortion activist with one of the Vatican’s highest honors? Ploumen officially was given the medal and title Commander in the
    Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great, a knighthood of
    the Holy See. #NotMyPope

  • Jim Walker

    Everything he touches, rots.

  • Jennifer Hartline

    Cardinal Zen sounds like a real saint. God bless him.

  • ArthurMcGowan

    Nothing to worry about. Everyone knows about Bergoglio’s firm opposition to abortion–forced or otherwise. Just ask Emma Bonino and Lilianne Ploumen.

    • Maggie Sullivan

      Well said……..

  • Maria

    That is really really upsetting. I can’t imagine what they are thinking of; throwing every martyr that ever was under the bus through this action to Chinese Catholics. What is going on in that weird place that used to be the Vatican. Is the Pope a Catholic?

  • Morenowthanever

    Coming from a man who has “ditched” our Lord in his life and instead believes only in the gospel of man, perverted men at that, why would anyone be shocked about his belief in a communist state over living saints?

  • mr. producer


  • Another area that is not black nor white, but grey? Or perhaps it’s the “God of surprises”?

    • Maggie Sullivan

      Betraying these Catholics is as black as the pits of hell……….

      • So much for Pope Francis’ quasi-Conciliarism and his beliefs in “collegiality”. It’s okay for Malta and Germany but not, it seems, for China.

  • lindenman

    This isn’t totally without precedent. In the 1920s, Pius XI sought rapprochement with France’s anti-clerical Third Republic. I’m not sure whether any bishops were thrown under the bus, but the Holy Office did end up proscribing l’Action francaise, an anti-Republican movement that, at that time, enjoyed the support of the greater part of the clergy. Not saying I like what Francis did, only that he’s not unique in making this kind of diplomatic U-turn.

    • mr. producer

      But were French Catholics underground at the time, in fear of their lives?

      • lindenman

        No, but the government had passed a law seizing Church property and claiming vast powers of oversight in Church affairs. Pius X, who was pope when the law passed, thought it such an outrage that he dedicated an encyclical to condemning it.

        • “France’s republican government had long been strongly anti-clerical. The Law of Separation of Church and State in 1905 had expelled most religious orders from France, declared all Church buildings to be government property, and had led to the shutting down of most Church schools.
          Since that time Benedict XV had sought a rapprochement, but it was not achieved until the reign of Pius XI.

          In Maximam Gravissimamque (1924) many areas of dispute were tacitly settled and a bearable coexistence made possible. In 1926 Pius condemned Action Francaise, the reactionary monarchist movement which had until this time operated with the support of a
          great many French Catholics. Pius judged that it was folly for the French Church to continue to tie its fortunes to the unlikely dream of a monarchist restoration, and found the movement’s tendency to defend the Catholic religion in merely utilitarian and nationalistic terms, as a vital contributing factor to the greatness and stability of France, unorthodox. Although the condemnation caused great heartache for many French Catholics, most obeyed and Action Francaise never really recovered.”

          What Francis appears to be proposing is a Gallican settlement whereby a Communist, violently anti-Christian State, that persecutes Christians, controls the Church, appoint bishops and becomes part of the regime.

          • lindenman

            Not a bad way of putting it.

    • James

      Pius XI did the same with anti-clerical Mexico, which was a serious mistake.

      • lindenman

        And then came Ostpolitik. No, there’s nothing new in popes making strategic concessions, or in large numbers of faithful Catholics discovering, to their dismay, that their vital interests were conceded.

      • Zmirak

        Exactly. Catholic laymen should have learned then NEVER to let naive clerics negotiate on their behalf.

        • James

          At what point do Catholics just ignore the clerics and become Protestants?

  • Billy Chickens

    I wonder what Benedict is thinking about this.

  • Gail Finke

    This is very upsetting.

  • Michael McDermott

    The Truth is now there for all to see! Bergoglio martyrs his compatriot clergy – in the name of what and who?

  • Oliveoil3

    If ever there was hope that there is some good in the Pope’s heart, for me it is now extinguished. He has created such confusion among Catholics about what is good and what is evil, and criticised capitalism and now betrayed and put the lives of many in danger.

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