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Theodore McCarrick was laicized in February 2019, but his fingerprints remain everywhere in the Church, especially in China. McCarrick played a massive role in orchestrating the sneaky Vatican-China deal. Church Militant's Hunter Bradford introduces Hong Kong's newest bishop and what the future holds for the compromised Church in China.
The Chinese Communist Party might be pleased with the new bishop in one of China's biggest cities.
On Saturday, Stephen Chow was ordained bishop of Hong Kong.
Chow previously served as the provincial of the Jesuits' Chinese province.
The newly ordained bishop has his work cut out for him. Hong Kong police have been cracking down on citizens protesting the government, no matter how young they are.
It's all part of Beijing's maneuvering to gain tighter control over Hong Kong, chipping away at the democracy and autonomy the people had cherished for more than two decades.
Catholics played a significant role in the 2019 pro-democracy protests, which were pushing back against communist encroachment.
One Catholic leader in the movement, Jimmy Lai, is currently behind bars after authorities found him guilty of attending unlawful protests.
The 2018 China-Vatican accord gave the communists power to decide who becomes bishop in China.
Critics believe the deal has only made persecution worse for Chinese Christians.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: "The two years, uh, since [the Vatican-China] agreement — the things went wrong, wrong, very wrong. Because, uh, the underground received no support from the Vatican. The older bishops die and the Holy See don't give new bishops to the underground."
Hong Kong is one of several jurisdictions where the communist government doesn't directly pick the prelate. But it's likely authorities find ways to exert influence; the communist leadership wants to demolish Catholicism. Xi Jinping has been bulldozing Christians and their buildings for years.
Chow said he thinks "listening and empathy" are very important to heal the divisions within Hong Kong, adding "unity is not the same as uniformity."
Father Matthew Zhen of Beijing: "What I can be sure of is the Chinese government would never demolish a church randomly, unless the Church is illegal, or as we call it, an 'unauthorized construction.'"
Local faithful hope bishop Chow will be a holy prelate who does what's right for the troubled diocese.
As of last summer, eastern Chinese locals estimate around 1,700 crosses have been removed from their buildings by the corrupt communist regime.