Pope drops Hong Kong reference from Sunday talk

A very cautious statement in text delivered to press beforehand, but no go anyhow for the talk itself.

The curious omission of those sentiments led to speculation that the Pope’s message— mild as it was— was suppressed out of concern that it would provoke an angry reaction from sensitive officials in Beijing. The Vatican has been extremely careful to maintain friendly relations with the Chinese regime, and has avoided public expressions of concern about threats to religious liberty— both in Hong Kong and on the mainland.

Vatican officials are reportedly anxious to renew a secret agreement with Beijing, governing the appointment of new bishops in China. The agreement— which has been strongly criticized by Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former Bishop of Hong Kong— is due to expire in September of this year.

Under the terms of that agreement— the details of which have never been made public— the Chinese government recognizes the authority of the Pope to appoint new bishops, from a slate of candidates proposed by the Beijing regime. But to date the agreement has failed to produce a breakthrough in the installation of new bishops. The South China Post reports: “No new heads have been chosen for the 52 bishop-less dioceses in the two years since the agreement was signed, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations, who declined to be named.”

A bit of shaking hands with the devil, one fears.

via News Headlines | Catholic Culture