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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - A top U.K. human rights advocate is condemning Pope Francis' silence on religious persecution in China.
In a July 29 foreign policy op-ed, Catholic convert Benedict Rogers, co-founder and chair of Hong Kong Watch, lamented the lack of protest from the Vatican:
It is Francis's silence that shocks me most. Almost every Sunday, as he prays the Angelus, he rightly references some injustice somewhere in the world. He has spoken often in the past not only of the persecution of Christians around the world but of the plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar; the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and Nigeria; and religious freedom for all. One country — and one country alone — is noticeable by its absence in his prayers and statements: China.
Rogers noted that Francis has been silent on the persecution of Catholics since September 2018, when he agreed to recognize communist-approved bishops.
"Two years ago, the Vatican made a deal with Beijing that bought the pope's silence," Rogers asserted. "His silence speaks to the dangers of the deal made with China by the Vatican — and demands that others in the church speak out."
"When I say 'bought,' I am not suggesting impropriety," Rogers, an admirer of the pontiff, clarified. "I love this pope and his focus on mercy and forgiveness. On almost every other matter, and I write as a Catholic who converted seven years ago ... I agree with Francis."
"I write not as a hard-line conservative hostile to Francis but rather as someone who loves him but is perplexed by how badly wrong he has gone on China," he added.
Rogers also observed that Pope Francis is not the only leader remaining silent on religious persecution. Most Muslim-majority countries, he noted, have said nothing in the wake of Beijing's use of isolation, indoctrination, forced birth control and torture to change the religious, political and ethnic identities of more than a million Muslims in the country's northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Since 2017, Chinese authorities have sent an estimated 1.8 million people — mainly Muslims and ethnic minorities — to internment camps.
As Church Militant reported in February 2019, for over two decades serial homosexual predator Theodore McCarrick helped lay the groundwork for the 2018 China-Vatican accord recognizing communist-appointed bishops.
With new data suggesting the disgraced ex-cleric may have actually been a communist plant — and allegations that the Vatican is accepting as much as $2 billion a year from China — McCarrick's efforts at establishing relations between Beijing and Rome are attracting renewed interest.
The Vatican has delayed for two years the release of a promised report detailing McCarrick's crimes.
The Vatican-China agreement — decried by Cdl. Joseph Zen as a "total sellout" of Chinese Catholics — is coming up for renewal.
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