Friday, December 08, 2006

Vatican and China quarrel over who shall appoint bishops for the mainland

Apparently, there's been trouble over this before.

Read it all.

What I find interesting is this:

The Vatican asserts that it must control the selection of bishops, although it has allowed governments and dioceses to suggest possible candidates.

Although the mainland church does not take instructions from the Vatican, the Vatican has never declared a schism between itself and the churches in China. The Vatican has taken the position that the differences are political, and not differences of religious belief.

Does anyone else hear echoes of the English Reformation? The situation in China is by no means a new one: European monarchs struggled with Rome for the power of appointment for centuries. (in the purest catholicism, of course, the church appoints its own bishops). That was one of the major differences between Rome and the English monarchs, too. If the Vatican can be so tolerant in the case of mainland Chinese Christians, why can't it rescind any schism between it and the CofE? Our position is as it always has been, that the bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in the English church. Surely Henry's headship of the Church was a 'political' difference, not a matter of religious belief. It wasn't too much different from the 'ancient privileges' that the French monarchs traditionally exercised over episcopal appointments. Granted, much of the English reformation and its Roman backlash was driven by money: Henry didn't want his money going out of the country, and Rome didn't want its fountain cut off in the middle of building St. Pete's. But surely that can be seen as merely political and not a matter of faith.

Does anyone know what status Rome gives to Christians in communist nations? particularly the old Soviet Union? What about Cuba and other communist Latin American states that discourage religion?

1 comment:

William Tighe said...

I find the premises of your argument dubious; see:

Henry's "political" Headship of the Church of England was without any precedent in English History; in addition, part of its scope was that he did, in fact, have the authority to promulgate doctrinal teaching (for the statement that the pope has no jurisdiction within the Realm of England itself has clear ecclesiological implications; and although he did consult such bishops as he please before doing so, nothing about the royal Supremacy required such consultation. And if you look at the Chinese "Patriotic Church" you wiull find that all of its leaders support (or at least do not oppose) China's coercive "population control" policies: they have never spoken out against coerced abortions and they support the government on the issue of mandatory contraception. So I think that the comparison leads to conclusions diametrically opposed to those which you seek to draw from it. In addition, have you forgotten the decrees of Vatican I about the primacy and universal jurisdiction of the papacy? For orthodox Roman Catholics, these are no more "negotiable" than the Nicene "homoousios" or any other definition.