Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Vatican: A Test

WaPo reports today on the evolving decision by the Vatican to switch ties from Taiwan to China. This has become inevitable now that Taiwan has become a democracy. The interesting thing about this is not the rapproachment between two closely related forms of Authority-worship, Catholicism and Communism, but the hypocrisy with which I am certain this will be viewed with by the rest of the world. The Post observes:

Apart from Taiwan, the other main dispute between Beijing and the Vatican, over the power to choose Chinese bishops, has moved close to resolution as well, according to Ren Yanli, a specialist in church-state relations at the government's Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Under an informal system, he said, the Chinese government has taken to naming clerics it knows already have been named by the Vatican.

"And especially the newer bishops," Cardinal Zen said in an interview. "Everybody knows they were appointed by the Holy Father."

Vatican and Chinese diplomats could swiftly work out a formula acceptable to both sides if they received instructions to do so from senior leaders, Ren predicted. Only a few bishops from among the 120 active in China would have to be retired as part of a formal Vatican-Beijing agreement, he suggested. They include those most closely associated with the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, a government-sponsored group that refuses the pope's authority, and perhaps some veteran clerics who have taken sharply anti-government stands during their years in the underground church movement.


No, the really interesting thing is that I expect complete silence from the Yahoo Sold out to the Communists! crowd. There's no moral difference between selling out bloggers and internet activists in China so you can acquire the rights to market your web services, and selling out Bishops opposed to the regime so you can acquire the rights to market your religion. But I expect only the centralized, corporate entities selling tangible goods will be excoriated, while we will hear nothing about the centralized, corporate entity selling intangible goods.....

3 comments:

nostalgiphile said...

Sorry, but since I've blogged on both these issues--Google/Yahoo's China abuses (2/08) AND the actions the recent actions of the Vatican in China (2/25)--I consider this remark to be a bit of overblown rhetoric:

"No, the really interesting thing is that I expect complete silence from the Yahoo Sold out to the Communists! crowd. There's no moral difference between selling out bloggers and internet activists in China so you can acquire the rights to market your web services, and selling out Bishops opposed to the regime so you can acquire the rights to market your religion."

Slightly overstated, wouldn't you say? Actually there's a rather large moral difference between the two insofar as Yahoo is condemning (by offering material evidence) bloggers to prison sentences for profit, and the Bishops are getting what, a slap on the wrist?, for trying to save souls in China. Anyway, it's a queer morality where a prison term for the betrayed is morally equivalent to a priest being retired or sent to some other location for being anti-Communist.

In my view we'll have to wait and see what the Society of Jesus has to say about all this before we can conclude anything about what the Church's final role in China will be. Til then, the Chinese are actually less likely if anything to become Catholics with official Vatican-PRC relations established, so who really cares?

Michael Turton said...

Slightly overstated, wouldn't you say?

Of course. The point is to draw attention to the issue.

Actually there's a rather large moral difference between the two insofar as Yahoo is condemning (by offering material evidence) bloggers to prison sentences for profit, and the Bishops are getting what, a slap on the wrist?, for trying to save souls in China.

The issue is fundamentally the same -- selling out so as to gain access to a market.

Anyway, it's a queer morality where a prison term for the betrayed is morally equivalent to a priest being retired or sent to some other location for being anti-Communist.

As I said, selling out is selling out.

Michael

Taiwanonymous said...

If the Vatican isn't being called on selling out to China, it is because it is being compared to other nations, not other businesses. We are just recently noticing how businesses are selling out to China, but as for nations, they all sold out long ago.