On Sept. 22, 2018, a secret deal was signed by the Holy See and the People's Republic of China, and the now-infamous Vatican-China accord was initiated by the Pope himself.
The subject matter of the so-called breakthrough — which was denounced by faithful Catholics as a sellout — was the appointment of bishops.
The deal was renewed two years later in October 2020, in attempts to legitimize the schismatic Catholic Church in China (as it recognizes illicitly ordained Chinese bishops). In China, there are two groups of Catholics:
The CPCA is recognized and operated by the Chinese Communist Party. It does not swear allegiance to the Magisterium of the Church but rather is obedient to the communist Chinese government. These Catholics are legal and in good standing with the communist nation they are in.
The underground Church, on the other hand, is the true Catholic Church in China — as it is loyal to Rome and always has been. In the eyes of communist China, these Catholics are criminals.
Background on this deal takes us to Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People's Republic of China, who turned the country communist in 1949.
When this happened, a Vatican official responded saying, "The story of the catacombs is being reenacted in China." He also noted what was already happening to the Catholic Church in China as he stated, "Many seminaries have been closed and seminarians obliged to disperse."
Two years later, in 1951, the Chinese communist government ordered the permanent expulsion of Abp. Anthony Riberi. Riberi was the papal nuncio to China, and once he was kicked out, official relations between Red China and the Vatican ended.
Four years later, as the underground Church was being formed, Bp. Ignatius Kung was arrested. Kung was the archbishop of Shanghai, and he was arrested along with several hundred priests and other Church leaders for not going along with the communist takeover.
In 1957, the communist-sponsored Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics was established — this was the birth of the official fake Catholic Church in China as it cut all political and economic ties with the Vatican.
A year later, in 1958, and Pope Pius XII wrote an encyclical responding to the situation in China. With regard to the illicitly ordained communist clergy, Pope Pius declared an excommunication for the consecrator and anyone who has received consecration.
As Chinese Catholics continued to be persecuted over the decades, in 1985, Abp. Kung was finally released after being jailed for nearly 30 years. Kung, who was secretly elevated to cardinal in 1979, got to meet with Pope John Paul II in 1991 — the same year China restricted religion even more, as the communists began their "nationwide crackdown on illegal religious activities."
Although the Vatican-China deal was signed in 2018, it had been in the works since 2013, within the two months of Francis being elected. Pope Francis tasked one of the most influential men in the Church, Cdl. Theodore McCarrick, with heading up the deal.
The spearheading of the China deal by McCarrick is well-documented by Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò, the papal nuncio to the United States at the time.
In Viganò's bombshell testimony, he records an encounter he had with McCarrick on June 20, 2013 at Domus Sanctae Marthae (St. Martha's House), a guest house for clergy and also where Pope Francis lives. In Viganò's testimony, he recalled: "As soon as I entered the hall I met Cdl. McCarrick." McCarrick immediately said to him, "The pope received me yesterday; tomorrow I am going to China."
Two months after sending McCarrick to China, Pope Francis appointed Cdl. Pietro Parolin secretary of state. Over the next five years, he and McCarrick would end up shaping the current Vatican-China deal.
Throughout the years, McCarrick traveled many times to China. He was actually featured as a keynote speaker in 2013 and 2014 by CEFC China Energy (China Energy Fund Committee), an energy company currently owned by the communist government. The chairman at the time was Ye Jianming, the same Chinese businessman who, according to the United States Senate Committee, was a frequent figure in Hunter Biden's financial dealings in China — funneling nearly $5 million to Biden's law firm in 2018.
In McCarrick's 2014 keynote speech, he started off by saying, "It is a special pleasure to be back with the China Energy Fund." He went on to draw so-called connections between "the doctrines of Catholics and the communist doctrine." The now defrocked and criminally charged cardinal also went on to say, "We got to get President Xi to meet Pope Francis, and that's one of my hopes."
Today, faithful Catholics in China remain persecuted as the Vatican's deal with the atheistic communist country continues. Since the 2018 deal, there have been five Chinese bishops consecrated.
Watch the full episode of Mic'd Up — The Vatican and the CCP.