Chinese Catholics oppose Vatican deal
A Hong Kong cardinal who has spearheaded opposition to the Vatican’s rapprochement with China has called for help from Catholic traditionalists who oppose Pope Francis.
Former head of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, 86, attended a Rome conference on the limits of papal authority in what appeared to be the start of a new alliance.
China and the Vatican have been working on a deal on the appointment of bishops, which eventually could lead to diplomatic relations with Beijing. The Vatican has said no deal is imminent.
Some Catholics in China’s Hebei province are raising concerns over the anticipated deal.
About half of Youtong’s 5,000 villagers are Catholic.
The village has churches belonging to the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, two large underground churches and several unofficial home churches.
Chinese Catholics are split between the government-approved patriotic association and the underground church, which is persecuted and whose appointments are often not acknowledged by the government.
The underground churches are monitored but generally tolerated but many of the clergy have faced persecution and harassment.
Father Dong Guanhua from an underground church in Youtong said the Vatican-China deal would only draw more people to the unofficial churches. He expressed concern over any compromises the Holy See would make.
“The word ‘compromise’ sounds good, but to some churchgoers it will sound like you are abandoning your faith,” Dong told Reuters.
“People say I am trying to break away, but in fact I am sticking to the old road, while the Vatican’s policy changes,” he said.
Child porn charge
Meanwhile, Vatican police have arrested a former leading papal diplomat on charges of possessing and distributing child porn, which could result in a Vatican trial under laws revised five years ago.
The Holy See said Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, 50, a former envoy at the nunciature in Washington, had been arrested on the orders of Vatican City state’s chief prosecutor and was being held in the micro-state’s police barracks.
Capella faces 12 years in jail and a fine of up to €50,000 if convicted. He was recalled from Washington last August after the US State Department informed the Vatican of his possible possession of child pornography.
Washington made “an official request” for Capella’s diplomatic immunity to be lifted but the Vatican refused, according to a US source.
In February, the Vatican said it had renewed its anti-paedophile panel in an initiative by Pope Francis to address allegations of child sexual abuse by priests.
The panel had come under fire from two high-profile members, former victims who resigned at what they saw as a lack of reform and obstruction within the church.
The Vatican. Picture credit: Wikimedia