Letter to Catholics in the People's Republic of China

The Pope’s long awaited Letter to Chinese Catholics is just out (beating the Motu Proprio–did anyone lose any bets?), and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. It will be very interesting, I am sure, and I will read it this week while I am at the JCMA Conference. You can read Fr Z.’s analysis in the mean time.

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6 Responses to Letter to Catholics in the People's Republic of China

  1. Past Elder says:

    Yeah, that’s what Christ said all right: “And when you appoint bishops to succeed you, make sure they pass muster with the civil authorities” (citation missing)

    And they worried the Motu would take the church back to the Middle Ages!

  2. Schütz says:

    I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, PE. Please keep your comments constructive, or I will remove them. It might be a good idea to take the time to read the letter before you pass judgement on the pastoral wisdom of its author.

  3. Past Elder says:

    I read the letter. That’s why I made the comment.

    One of the options, none of them mentioned in the letter but reported otherwise, under consideration to hit the “accord” mentioned in the letter to balance the claims of state and church is that the state would make the selection of the bishop but from a list of approved candidates by the church — sort of an “any of these guys would be OK” approach, or other forms of “dialogue” to arrive at a mutually acceptable candidate. As usual, the real action is behind the scenes, not in the nice public words.

  4. Peregrinus says:

    Christ was actually silent on the mechanism for the appointment of bishop. It’s up to the church to nut out how this should be done, and “that’s not what Christ said” is an equally valid object to any mechanism for appointing bishops, including nomination by Rome.

    Nomination by Rome has never been the norm in the Eastern churches, and I believe historically has not usually been the norm even in the Latin church. Having a formal role in the process for the (not necessarily Catholic) civil authorities has not been unusual. Nor, as Lutherans should know, has involvement on the part of the civil authorities been an exclusively Catholic practice.

    In fact, I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb here and suggest that there is no church anywhere with an episcopal tradition which has not at some time involved the civil authorities in the nomination of bishops – not the Anglicans, not the Lutherans, not the Catholics, not the Orthodox, not the Copts.

  5. Past Elder says:

    I agree with you, peregrinus, including your out on a limb suggestion, which I would say is not out on a limb at all but quite accurate. The practice of civil influence on ecclesiastical appointments has an impeccable (in the non theological sense)historical pedigree. My point was rather that, as the Revolution, er, Vatican II, was wrought upon us, it was my impression that this was part of the bad old days from which we were being delivered.

    This development re the Catholic Church in China to me is yet another example that instead we were plunged into yet worse days, that the Catholic Church has no possible claim to be the Church of Christ or the Church founded by Christ. It will do whatever it can to preserve its power, post Vatican II no less than before.

    Generally my comments along this line have more to do with the church’s internal matters rather than its political involvements. Assuming you are the peregrinus of Catholica Australia, I noted Mr Coyne’s recent posting after having attended a Tridentine Mass.

    He, Catholica Auatralia, and presumably you, and I are on opposite sides of the fence. But I respect all of you in that you do not deny that the fence is there. Mr Coyne stated precisely and exactly what is going on — that the theology and mindset encased in the “old” Mass is fundamentally incompatible with that encased in the “new”. He’s right, it is, and we differ only in which side to be on.

    That is an entirely different thing than saying oh no, it’s really the same thing, nothing has truly changed, we simply made the same thing even better, even more what it essentially always was. This is the line of the official church, and it resonates in those who seem to need some sort of “offical church”.

    As an ex-Catholic, I am more confortable with “liberal” or “contemporary” Catholics than with “conservative” Catholics, for the same reason I am comfortable with “traditionalist” Catholics — while I would disagree with each camp about what to do, at least each camp is clear and consistent about what is going on and what is at stake.

    One cannot say the same about the “official Church” which continues to black as white and white as black, true to neither and false to both.

  6. Past Elder says:

    The missing verb in the last sentence is “present”. I was mulling over whether to use that or “package” or “offer” and ended up using “none of the above”. Sorry.

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