Early in 2018, a Brazilian organisation, the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute, sent a letter of support to Cardinal Zen, congratulating him for speaking out for the persecuted Church in China. In the letter, the Brazilian organisation points out how decades of fidelity to Rome brought great suffering upon China’s Catholics. This suffering was endured with heroism. The rise of Xi Jinping coincided with a time of renewed persecution, as the totalitarian regime tries to quash all associations not directly under its control.
Australian TFP added its name to a growing list of individuals and organisations around the globe who are signing on to the Brazilian organization’s letter. The letter, written in serene and elevated language, presents the facts of the case and the reasons why resistance to Rome’s détente with Communist China is not only necessary, but a sacred duty for all Catholics.
In a spirit of filial respect for Pope Francis, and with love for the sacred office of the Papacy, the letter nevertheless asks him to refuse all compromise with Beijing. This request arises out of concern for the Catholics of China, and for Catholics everywhere, who will be tempted to think the Church no longer opposes socialist materialistic systems that go against the natural order ordained by God.
Please sign the petition supporting Cardinal Zen.
Resistance to détente with Communist China is not only necessary, but a sacred duty for all Catholics
The Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute, a civic association that continues the work of the distinguished professor whose name it bears, together with the below co-signing autonomous sister organizations around the world, works to defend the perennial values of Christian civilization. Their directors, members, and supporters, are Roman Catholics who fight the onslaught of communism and socialism.
The fundamentally anti-communist position that results from the Catholic convictions of our organizations has been reinvigorated by the heroic resistance of the underground Church faithful to Rome. Its bishops, priests and millions of Catholic members refuse to submit to the so-called Patriotic Church, schismatic in relation to Rome, and entirely submissive to the central power of Beijing.
“Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:10]
“If the world hates you, know that it hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” [John 15:19]
Quoting these divine words of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we express our admiration for the one true Catholic Church in China – today under the communist boot – of which Your Eminence is a distinguished member and spokesman.
Under the communist boot
We see these persecuted Catholics as brothers in the Faith, to whom can be addressed the 1974 Resistance Declaration written by the eminent Brazilian Catholic leader, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (1908-1995), founder of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property and inspirer of autonomous TFPs and sister organizations throughout the world. That document is titled The Vatican Policy of Détente with Communist Governments – Should the TFPs Stand Down? Or Should They Resist?
As Your Eminence can read in the 1974 Declaration, Vatican diplomacy in both Eastern Europe and Latin America pursued a devious policy of rapprochement with communist regimes that was severely detrimental to true Catholics and would result in subjecting the Holy Catholic Church to the red despots.
On April 7, 1974, the press in Sao Paulo, South America’s largest city (cf. O Estado de São Paulo), reported an interview by Archbishop Agostino Casaroli, a Vatican diplomat who asserted, “Catholics are happy in the socialist regime” that Castro’s communists imposed on the unfortunate island of Cuba. Archbishop Casaroli went on to say that “the Cuban Catholic Church and its spiritual guide always seek to avoid causing any problems for the socialist government that rules the island.”
These statements by a high-ranking Vatican envoy – which coincided with the positions of other prelates who collaborated with communism – painfully surprised and caused moral trauma among Catholics faithful to the immutable social and economic doctrine taught by Leo XIII, Pius XI and Pius XII. This Ostpolitik, as it became known, was a source of perplexity and anguish and aroused a most profound and poignant drama in many souls. Indeed, over and above social and economic questions, it involves what is most fundamental, vibrant, and tender in the soul of a Roman Catholic, namely his spiritual union with the Vicar of Jesus Christ.
Not a word about religious persecution
We are now going through a similar, but even more dangerous, situation with the Vatican policy toward the so-called Patriotic Church submissive to Beijing.
In fact, the Catholic world is shocked by the visit to China of a Vatican delegation led by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli. While there, on behalf of Pope Francis, he asked the legitimate shepherds of the dioceses of Shantou and Mindong to hand over their dioceses and flock to illegitimate bishops appointed by the communist government and separated from the Holy See.
The words spoken by Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, and close advisor to the Holy Father, were words that came as a terrible and enlarged repetition of Archbishop Casaroli’s statements about Cuba thirty years earlier. According to the Turin daily La Stampa (2 February 2018), Archbishop Sorondo affirmed:
“At this moment, the Chinese communists are those who best implement the social teachings of the Church. The Chinese communists seek the common good, subordinate things to the general good.”
After visiting a country crushed by a dictatorship even more ruthless than the Cuban one, Archbishop Sánchez Sorondo, like Archbishop Casaroli, stated: “I found an extraordinary China; what people do not know is that the key Chinese principle is work, work, work. I found no shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not take drugs. China is defending the dignity of the person.”
He did not say a word about the religious persecution that communists inflict on our brethren in the Faith, on imprisoned bishops, priests, and faithful, or on the systematic and universal violation of the fundamental human rights of man, created in the image and likeness of God. The controversial and false assertions of this high-ranking Vatican prelate go far beyond the statements by Archbishop Casaroli in Cuba in the far-off year of 1974, and they injure the upright Christian conscience even more.
Iniquitous agreement with the communist regime
The current drama of Chinese Catholics is also that of all faithful wishing to persevere as they face the Communist Leviathan. Yesterday and today, pressured by the Holy See’s diplomacy to accept an iniquitous agreement with the communist regime, they face this excruciating problem of conscience: Is it licit to say no to the Vatican ‘ostpolitik’ and to continue resisting communism, even unto martyrdom if necessary?
In the above-mentioned 1974 Resistance Declaration, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira affirmed (without having received any objection from Paul VI, or any subsequent Pope) that it is not only licit but even a duty to imitate Saint Paul’s attitude of resistance toward Saint Peter, the first Pope:
“Resistance is the word we choose purposely, for it is employed in the Acts of the Apostles by the Holy Ghost Himself to characterize the attitude of Saint Paul toward Saint Peter, the first Pope, who had taken disciplinary measures to sustain some practices from the old Synagogue in Catholic worship. Saint Paul saw in this a grave risk of doctrinal confusion and harm for the faithful. He then stood up against Saint Peter and “resisted him to the face” [Galatians 2:11]. In this zealous and inspired action of the Apostle of the Gentiles, Saint Peter did not see an act of rebellion, but rather one of union and fraternal love. Knowing well in what he was infallible and in what he was not, Saint Peter submitted to the arguments of Saint Paul. The Saints are models for Catholics. Accordingly, in the sense in which Saint Paul resisted, our state is one of resistance.
“To resist means that we will advise Catholics to continue to struggle against the communist doctrine with every licit means in the defence of their threatened countries and Christian civilization. To resist means that we will never use the unworthy resources of sedition nor, much less, take attitudes inconsistent with the veneration and obedience due to the Supreme Pontiff according to the terms of Canon Law.
“The Church is not, the Church never was, the Church never will be such a prison for consciences. The bond of obedience to the successor of Peter, which we will never break, which we love in the most profound depths of our soul, and to which we tribute our highest love, this bond we kiss at the very moment when, overwhelmed with sorrow, we affirm our position. And on our knees, gazing with veneration at the figure of His Holiness Paul VI, we express all our fidelity to him.
“In this filial act, we say to the Pastor of Pastors: Our soul is yours, our life is yours. Order us to do whatever you wish. Only do not order us to do nothing in face of the assailing red wolf. To this, our conscience is opposed.”
Illusion that communist China will change
In the 1970s, we were also happy to see in the glorious ranks of the Chinese episcopate the fearless resistance of Your Eminence’s illustrious countryman, Cardinal Yü Pin, then archbishop of Nanjing and dean of the Catholic University of Taipei, Taiwan (Cf. The Herald of Freedom, 15-2-1974, quoting a release from the Religious News Service). Cardinal Yü Pin told the above agency (and Your Eminence confirms this) that it would be an illusion to expect communist China to change its anti-religious policy.
Proof comes from none other than President Xi Jinping who, at the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, declared, “Culture should be harnessed to the cause of socialism and following the guidance of Marxism” and because of that, “Religion must also be Chinese in orientation and guided by the Party to adapt to socialist society” (The Washington Post, 18-10-2017).
Returning to Cardinal Yü Pin, who said, forty years ago, “We want to remain faithful to the perennial values of international justice … The Vatican can act otherwise, but that would not move us much. I think it is an illusion to hope that a dialogue with Beijing for Christians in Eastern Europe. If the Vatican cannot protect religion, it has no reason to pursue this matter. We want to remain faithful to our mandate but are victims of communist repression. With this rapprochement between the Vatican and Communist China we would lose our freedom. As Chinese we must fight for our freedom.”
We must continue the sacred struggle!
To these lucid and vigorous observations reminiscent of Saint Paul’s “I resisted him [Saint Peter] to his face” (Galatians 2:11), Cardinal Yü Pin added this moving remark: “There is an underground Church in China. The Church in China will survive just as the early Christians survived in the catacombs, and this could mean a true Christian rebirth to the Chinese.”
It is urgent to build resistance to the communist Moloch and the Vatican’s Ostpolitik
Accordingly, the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute, its co-signing autonomous sister organisations around the world, and the thousands of individual Catholics signing on to this message of moral support, hereby:
1. Express to Your Eminence, to the whole hierarchy, clergy and faithful of the underground Catholic Church in China their admiration and moral solidarity at this time when it is urgent to build resistance to the communist Moloch and the Vatican’s Ostpolitik. The bishops and priests of the persecuted underground Church in China, who are now resisting, stand before the world as living symbols of the “Good Shepherd who gives his life for his sheep.”
2. Affirm that they draw strength and invincible hope from the epic example of the martyrs persevering in China. Their Catholic souls acclaim these noble victims: “Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu laetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi nostril” [Judith 15:10]. These martyrs are the glory of the Church, the joy of the faithful, the honour of those who continue the sacred struggle.
3. Raise their prayers to Our Lady of China so that she may, with motherly care, help and encourage her Chinese children who are struggling to remain faithful despite these cruel and hostile circumstances.
Dr. Adolpho Lindenberg,
Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute
São Paulo, 25 February 2018
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