Remember when Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo told us that “those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese”? I assumed he was just a relic of the 1960s and 1970s, when huge swathes of the Left romanticised Mao. (Others preferred Stalin or Che.)

Now I’m starting to wonder.

Last December, a delegation from the Vatican approached several underground Chinese bishops asking them to resign in favour of their “patriotic” counterparts.

Among them was Bishop Vincent Guo, who was ordered to make way for Zhan Silu of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. (Never mind Zhan was illicitly ordained and therefore excommunicated – that would have been swept under the carpet.) Guo would have then been appointed an auxiliary bishop under Zhan. He refused.

On 27 March it was reported that the Chinese government had arrested Guo. Happily, he was released on 28 March – but only on the condition that he no longer celebrate Mass in his role as a bishop.

So, maybe Bishop Sorondo has a point. The Chinese government is now enforcing its own version of Catholicism – by deciding which loyal Catholic bishops may or may not celebrate Mass. Medieval European monarchs used to play a similar trick, often with the complicity of a craven hierarchy.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin cannot have been surprised by this turn of events. He must have anticipated that Communist politicians would be emboldened by the veneer of legitimacy granted by the Vatican’s new willingness to share power. After all, that’s what happened in Vietnam, where Parolin negotiated a similar accord in 1996.

Even with negotiations under way, the Chinese government is closing Catholic parishes that allow children to attend Mass. They’re still actively working to absorb and mutilate the Church, on the (not unreasonable) assumption that faithful Catholics will undermine Communism.

The Church’s first duty is to save souls; to do this, she must secure her own liberty and autonomy. The Parolin Doctrine discards both.

Full story at Catholic Herald.