Earth’s highest Catholic institution appointed a communist sympathizer on Sept. 5.
The Vatican faces a new scandal after controversially accepted Father Joseph Cui Qingqi’s nomination for Wuhan’s next bishop.
Cui will be ordained at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, on Sept 8. This is despite him being the only candidate the Beijing-linked Chinese Catholic Church bodies proposed for the role.
The Vatican did not file any complaints and simply approved his appointment according to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions’s official publication, AsiaNews.
Italian newspaper La Stampa reported Cui has a track record for advocating Chinese Communist Party (CCP) interests.
The Wuhan church previously tried to reassign priests to parishes in the diocese without prior CCP approval back in 2012. Father Joseph Shen Guo’an, who was temporarily in charge of the Wuhan diocese, announced the reassignment during Mass in the diocese.
The congregation enthusiastically applauded but CCP officials were rather displeased and quickly intervened. They questioned the priest’s actions and warned him not to make any changes without their authorization.
Local authorities summoned another priest from the diocese, Cui, who arrived directly from Beijing. La Stampa revealed Cui was “seen with government officials before arriving in the diocese” at the time.
The CCP’s Religious Affairs Office seemingly retaliated by relieving Shen and several other priests of their duties. BL understands Cui will replace Shen.
AsiaNews revealed the incoming bishop’s appointment had “long been hoped for, as proof and [an] autonomous symbol of the official church that is recognised and controlled by the CCP.”
The decision came as part of broader agreement framework reached between Pope Francis and the CCP in 2018. Five bishops have already been appointed who the Chinese Church previously selected internally. Earlier appointees tended to oppose the communist regime.
The controversial agreement raises multiple integrity questions since elected bishops have to swear allegiance to the CCP, and distance themselves from orthodox Catholic practices. The Chinese regime also has a long history of religious persecution, and believers have constantly been targeted for their faith.
After the framework was extended in 2020, the safety of millions of Christians in China was arguably compromised. BL understands this is due to the CCP’s severe persecution of spiritual groups that fail to adhere to Marxist-aligned amendments to Christian teachings.
The Chinese Catholic Church has long been divided between the “underground” church, in full communion with Rome, and state-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA)–which is loyal to the CCP.
Authorities consider the agreement to be a tool for forcing underground church bishops and clergy to join the CCPA.
As Breitbart News reported, a growing number of Chinese Catholics have criticized the Vatican’s agreement with the CCP. They believe the deal emboldens officials in persecuting Christians.
The Christian community is not the only religious minority suffering mistreatment. Thousands of Uighur Muslims are held in concentration camps. They are subjected to forced labor, abortions and sterilizations.
The peaceful Falun Gong meditation movement, which teaches adherents to behave according to truth, benevolence and tolerance, also faces brutal persecution, arbitrary arrests, torture and forced organ harvesting since 1999.