Cardinal Parolin issued a statement explaining the motives and expectations of the Vatican in signing the agreement with the government of the People’s Republic of China. He says:

“The signing of a Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China is of great importance for the promotion of peace. The objective of the Holy See is to create the condition of a greater freedom and organisation, so that the Catholic Church can dedicate itself to the mission of announcing the Gospel and contribute to the spiritual and material prosperity of China, of the world as a whole. What is required now is trust and to have good Pastors, recognised by the Pope and by the Chinese Government. And we hope that the Catholic Church in China can perform the duty of the Church, which is the announcement of the Gospel and, at the same time, contribute to spiritual and material growth, of China and to peace and reconciliation in the world.”

Cardinal Parolin’s explanation can be reduced to the following points:

1) the Church will be granted more freedom to carry out its mission of preaching the Gospel;

2) Catholics in China will contribute more to building up their country;

3) the agreement will bring peace to China and the world.

None of these objectives will be realised. The Communist Party is not signing this agreement to give the Church more freedom, but to take away what little freedom it has. China’s Catholics will not contribute any more to the building up of China than they are doing at the moment, unless the Cardinal means they will now be allowed to integrate themselves fully into the Communist Party. Peace will never be a fruit of this agreement because the Chinese socialist state is not built on peace but on totalitarian tyranny. The only peace Beijing knows is the docility of submission, the silence of the prisoner at the mercy of the jailor. Nor will the agreement lead to world peace. Appeasing the tyrants of Beijing will convince them that ‘might is right’ and China is unstoppable in its drive towards world hegemoony.

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