China expert Father Bernardo Cervellera has rebuked a top Vatican Bishop for his ridiculous “exaltation” of Chinese society, which has “made the Catholic Church a laughingstock.”
In a stinging editorial titled “Bishop Sanchez Sorondo in Wonderland,” Father Cervellera, an Italian missionary and director of Asia News, has reacted to a recent interview with the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, in which the bishop painted China as the best place on the planet to see Catholic social teaching in action.
In his point-by-point fraternal reproach, Father Cervellera says that Bishop Sanchez was completely taken in by Chinese authorities in his single visit there, being shown exactly what they wanted him to see and nothing else.
In his ignorance, Bishop Sanchez describes China as a wonderland “that doesn’t exist,” Cervellera writes, in a fictional account of a land without slums, without drugs and without oppression.
“Let’s not even talk about religious freedom in China,” Cervellera writes. “Religious freedom should be a pillar of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. We should perhaps suggest that the bishop read the daily news of violence, arrests of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, abuse on domestic churches, and controls on official churches.”
“Maybe someone needs to tell Bishop Sanchez Sorondo that since February 1, with the implementation of the new regulations, all the unofficial churches have been closed and at least 6 million Catholics no longer have a place to meet,” he said. “The regime that ‘best shows Catholic social teaching in action’ has threatened arrests, stratospheric fines and expropriation of the buildings where the faithful gather,” he added.
“Furthermore, local authorities now forbid minors under the age of 18 from entering churches, even official ones. As one priest said, ‘China has transformed the church into a night club, only for adults,” he said.
The priest also takes issue with Sanchez’ risible depiction of China as a place where society flourishes and the common good is served, by placing the economy under the auspices of government.
Let’s not talk about the “naivete” with which Bishop Sanchez Sorondo speaks of China as “the place where one seeks the ‘common good,’ and where the economy doesn’t dominate politics,” he writes. In China, he continued, “economy and politics are the same thing; there the billionaires sit in the Chinese parliament and determine policies according to their interests, which are not those of the rest of the population.”
Yes, China has decided to remain in the Paris Climate Accord, Cervellera notes, yet “the country has the most devastated and poisoned environment in the world.”
“Idolizing China is an ideological affirmation that makes the Church a laughingstock and hurts the world,” he concludes.
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