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What totalitarian governments want from churches

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  • Bushunow, Peter
    I would like to bring to your attention an interesting editorial which appeared in Friday s (March 31, 2006) Wall Street Journal, Benedict s Chinese Flock.
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3, 2006
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      I would like to bring to your attention an interesting editorial which
      appeared in Friday's (March 31, 2006) Wall Street Journal, "Benedict's
      Chinese Flock."

      The editorial starts "the Vatican is working hard on restoration of ties
      with China. But there is a catch.

      "Beijing insisted yesterday that the Holy See agree not to intervene in
      China's domestic matters, including the appointment of clergy. China
      boasts an "official" Catholic Church of about five million, whose
      priests pledge fealty to the Communist Party as a condition of serving
      their congregations." There is also an "unofficial" church which
      recognizes the Pope of Rome as their spiritual father, who are
      persecuted by the Chinese authorities.

      The newspaper editor suggests, "Both sides might do well to agree to a
      Vietnam-like compromise. In Vietnam the Holy See is recognized, but
      must consult with the Communist government before naming new clergy.
      While that offends Catholic purists, it's given Vietnam's Communist
      Party a better image; the Church, a new flock"

      I see this as a clear exposition of the demands communist governments
      place on religions organizations. Chinese ministers are not interested
      in the morals of their own people, they want to use recognition by the
      Catholic church as a public relations ploy to improve the image of the
      Chinese government in the world community.

      I believe this is very similar to the situation the Russian Orthodox
      Church faces today. Putin has taken a very strong interest in church
      affairs. He is pushing Patriarch Alexy to try to absorb the independent
      ROCOR to bolster his own authority. He is pushing the Patriarch also to
      increase ties with the Vatican, with muslims etc. This is a direct
      extension, a direct historical continuation of the soviet use of the
      Moscow Patriarchate as a publicity organ in Russian and in the World
      Council of Churches.

      Those who say that there are no more communists in Russian government
      are too optimistic.

      I pray our Bishops don't enter a similar "Vietnam" compromise.


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