Your imminence Cdl Zen, welcome to the weaponized ambiguity that surrounds the twilight zone of Francis the Merciful. I am so deeply sorry for the Christians in China.
“The provisional agreement between the Holy See and the Chinese government is a secret deal,” the cardinal said, “and no one knows exactly what it specified.”
“Government officials are trying to pressure all Catholics to join the Patriotic Association,” Zen said, “but this has not been mandated by the Vatican. There has been no merger between the Catholic Patriotic Association and the underground church.”
Still, he said, “the communists are taking advantage of the confusion to try to force Catholics to join.”
“We need to study our history,” the cardinal said. “Why are there two Catholic communities in the first place? There was a reason. The Catholic Patriotic Association teaches against Catholic doctrine and this has not changed.”
“On October 13, Father Su Guipeng of the diocese of Zhangjiakou was arrested and detained for two and a half months of forced indoctrination for refusing to join the CPCA. Following his release, he has remained under close surveillance and has been prohibited from celebrating Mass for believers. Many other priests in the same diocese have been subjected to similar restrictions, making it difficult for believers to attend regular Mass.
Another priest in the same diocese said that since the Vatican-China interim agreement was signed, the plight of the underground Catholic Church has become increasingly perilous. He believes that forcing underground churches to join the CPCA is more than an effort to “sinicize” Catholicism. In fact, it is aimed at controlling churches, decreasing their number and ultimately, eliminating them entirely.”