May 02, 2006

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Jake van der Kamp in the SCMP on the latest spat between the Vatican and China (and just as they were getting all chummy):

Consider the facts. A distinct community within a larger one elects its own immediate leader rather than have this leader imposed from above by a central governing authority that insists on absolute sovereignty in such matters. It is just the sort of thing that Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun has long advocated for Hong Kong. Bring on democracy, he thunders at Beijing from every pulpit and podium that he can find. Let Hong Kong choose its own chief executive.

But when the priests, nuns and parish representatives of the Roman Catholic Church in Kunming then elect their own bishop rather than have the choice foisted on them by the Vatican, he suddenly discovers a different message. It's sabotage, he protests. The choice ought to be made by the Pope alone. The central governing authority must have absolute sovereignty in such matters.

Have I already said in this column that our cardinal has difficulties understanding the meaning of the word hypocrisy?

posted by Simon on 05.02.06 at 09:46 AM in the Religion category.


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Jake is out drawing false equivalencies between a private religious order and a public government again.


Never did think Jake was one of the brighter bulbs in the box, but he really should keep his mouth shut instead of proving it time and again.

{Now if the Chinese are really wanting to name their own bishops, they should go the way of King Henry VIII and split with the Vatican completely and found their own Church.}

posted by: Tom - Daai Tou Laam on 05.02.06 at 03:21 PM [permalink]

I agree with Tom. Rarely have I read such fatuous nonsense. People choose their religion by choice. In China no one chooses the government.

And who is naive enough to believe that "the priests, nuns and parish representatives of the Roman Catholic Church in Kunming ... elect their own bishop ..."?

Give me a break! Such matters are decided on, like evereything else of this nature, by the Beijing government.

posted by: Sojourner on 05.02.06 at 05:11 PM [permalink]

I agree mostly with Jake.

My disagreement with Jake: I wouldn't call the mainland bishops 'elected from bottom-up' (which is obviously not).

But his conclusion is spot on.
This is about negotiations based on interests. All this shows is that Vatican/Zen are not allies of democrats, but quite the opposite.

Zen and Apple Daily made themselves look stupid and hypocritical. They betrayed all those who support democracy in HK and mainland China.

I believe Lai did not try to influence editors in AD. But who will say something like Jake in AD? So this democracy fortress is blindly following Zen, because the big boss is a devoted catholic. "Self-censorship" or "conflict of interests"?

posted by: sunbin on 05.02.06 at 06:25 PM [permalink]

Sunbin, I'm surprised that you have issues distinguishing between private and public. Though I'm not surprised that you'd take a cheap and fatuous dig at Apple Daily along the way.

Apple Daily... private business.
Roman Catholic Church... private religion
Communist Party of China... private political party
Government of China {if and when the CCP is willing to draw the bright line between the public government and the private party}... public institutions

The CCP wants to pretend that they allow religious freedom on the mainland by pretending to allow a foreign-dominated hierarchy to operate within China, while the reality is they don't allow a foreign-dominate hierarchy to operate in China.

They've appropriated the brand name of the Roman Catholic Church, just like brandnames get stolen on the mainland every day in order to sell cheap and shoddy imitations, in order to bolster the CCP credibility with the world.

posted by: Tom - Daai Tou Laam on 05.03.06 at 09:14 AM [permalink]

well....if CCP is private, why is PRC public?
you made a good point that there is no difference between these four, all 'private institutions'.

i am not taking a dig at AD. i have great respect and expectation on AD. i wish it can behave like a 'public' institution, as it declared to be so.
i would not even bother to take a dig at "the sun", or epoch times.

back to the prc-vatican spat. this is simply a way of negotiation. because the main obstacle is who gets to say what in the bishop nomination. what PRC is saying is,
"while we are negotiating, we will name our bishop. so yield to our terms or we will name these 40+ bishop one by one while we get bogged down on these terms......"

i think it is very smart moves.

i am impartial between these 2 dictators. and i am happy to see them fight. :)

posted by: sunbin on 05.03.06 at 04:00 PM [permalink]

it goes without saying , that although china and vaticann city are miles apart culturally , geographically and racially , yet , the string of religion holds them together. too bad , that the religion link is currently anegative one. let's hope , that things get better with the passage of time.

posted by: sam on 05.03.06 at 07:12 PM [permalink]

Does the Pope allow the CCP reciprocal rights to set up and run *their* organisation within the Vatican without interference? I think he needs to do that before bleating about unfair treatment.

On branding - good point, Tom, though our left-footed friends would surely have to come to the table with clean hands, and to do that they would have to first pay the Jews 2,000 years of royalties.

posted by: fumier on 05.04.06 at 11:42 AM [permalink]


I usually like to see dictator's fight. However, when one dictator's biggest weapon is nukes and the other's biggest weapon is excommunication, I tend to root for the latter.

posted by: Mnne on 05.04.06 at 11:16 PM [permalink]

not really good examples. pick another.
no one is going to nuke vatican any time in the next millenium, but excommunications has already been delivered.

posted by: sunbin on 05.05.06 at 12:21 PM [permalink]

I have to agree with Tom on this one. Jake's material on this is somewhat annoying. But I think that it is somewhat more than just a public/private debate. There is a element of freedom to choose here. People can choose another religion if they disagree with the governance of the Catholic church enough. Presbyterians, for one, elect their representitives. Largely, the US system of goverance adopted many of the Presbyterian churches methods. One recalls the reformation.

But, if one is born in China, short of leaving China, one does not have the freedom to choose.

posted by: glenzo on 05.08.06 at 05:09 PM [permalink]

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