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Letters

China and the Holy See

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 Contents - Nov 2014AD2000 November 2014 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The Extraordinary Synod on the Family - Peter Westmore
Episcopacy: Bishop Anthony Fisher OP appointed Archbishop of Sydney - AD2000 Report
News: The Church Around the World
Anglican: The Ordinariate in Gippsland: the first year
Human Life: Surrogacy: what the Biblical precedent tells us - Anne Lastman
Family: The global attack on religious belief and moral values - Alejandra Fabris
Law: What is the separation of church and state? - Frank Mobbs
Formation: 'I used to be a Catholic' - Audrey English
Youth: Ignite Conference fires up 1,200 young Catholics in Brisbane - Br Barry Coldrey
Why be a priest? - Fr John O'Neill
Why we make the Sign of the Cross - Cedric Wright
Scripture: Is the Hebrew Bible incomplete? - Andrew Sholl
Letters: Eucharistic Prayers - Franklin J. Wood
Letters: China and the Holy See - Francis Vrijmoed
Letters: Suicide prevention - Murray Cook
Letters: Rally for peace in the world - Bev Thomas
Support: Thank you! Fighting Fund passes $12,000
Books: EASTERN CHRISTIANITY: The Byzantine Tradition, by Laurence Cross - Paul Simmons (reviewer)
Books: HIDDEN PAIN: An Insight into Childhood Sexual Abuse, by Anne R. Lastman - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: Order books from www.freedompublishing.com.au
Reflection: The meaning of life and death - Archbishop Julian Porteous

Referring to a recent report by Catholic News Agency: "Pope Francis pursues a thaw in relations with mainland China", it is my hope that some background information may be useful.

Before the communists came to power in China, the Vatican had diplomatic relations with Chiang Kai-shek's Government through its nuncio, Msgr Riberi.

Although Chiang, after being defeated, escaped to Taiwan in 1949, Msgr Riberi resisted leaving China.

Only because of his being expelled in 1951 by the Communists did he leave China, but continued to seek every opportunity to return to the mainland, until the Vatican transferred its nunciature (and Msgr Riberi) to Taiwan.

At that time, Chiang's Government was still recognised by the UN as China's legitimate government.

However, when on 25 October 1971 the UN withdrew its recognition of Taipei by recognising Beijing, the Holy See did not switch its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Beijing.

In the years that followed other countries including the US established diplomatic recognition of Beijing, thereby leaving the Vatican as the only important country that still recognises Taipei.

This is strange because, contrary to the Holy See's firm attitude in 1949 of trying to stay in China even under the new Communist regime, this time, by failing to recognise Beijing, it deprives itself from having any say in the running of the Catholic Church on the mainland, because of Beijing's motto of "no recognition, no dialogue"!

Worse, because of the absence of a dialogue, the Chinese Government started to select and appoint its own bishops as they are reluctant to accept bishops who have to obey a Pope who as a Head of State (i.e., the Holy See) does not recognise them but rather Taiwan's breakaway Government through the nunciature in Taipei.

Consequently, as long as the Holy See does not substitute Beijing for its diplomatic ties with Taiwan (by cutting its diplomatic ties with Taiwan), as most countries did in the 1970s, a real dialogue with Beijing seems unlikely.

FRANCIS VRIJMOED,
Shenzhen, PRC

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 27 No 10 (November 2014), p. 16

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