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The pope is hoping to renew the Vatican's secretive accord with China.
This according to an exclusive interview Francis gave to Reuters on Saturday.
In tonight's In-Depth Report, Church Militant's Dr. William Mahoney looks at the pope's ongoing betrayal of faithful Catholics in China.
Cdl. Joseph Zen: "They have sold our Church."
Hong Kong's Cdl. Joseph Zen lamented the clandestine Vatican–China accord, which was first established in 2018 as a provisional agreement between the Holy See and the Chinese Communist Party (or "CCP").
Yet despite the disastrous results of that deal, Francis declared in Saturday's interview, "The agreement is moving well, and I hope that in October it can be renewed."
Cdl. Zen: "Now, we are in a desperate situation. Humanly speaking, the Church is going to disappear ― the real Church."
The accord was renewed in 2020 and will likely be renewed soon for a third time.
In China, there are, in effect, two churches: those faithful to Rome, known as the "underground Church," and those approved by the CCP, known as the so-called official church.
And though the Vatican's ostensible reason for the secret accord is to ease tensions between Beijing and Rome, the actual results include ever-increasing persecution of the underground Church.
Cdl. Zen: "When the people in [sic] the underground, they are strong ― they are peaceful, but they are strong ― the government can tolerate [it]. Now, no more because the Vatican agreed to hand everything into their hands. So terrible things happen now."
These combined factors have made him a public enemy of the CCP, which is trying to cancel him communist-style.
Pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao targeted Cdl. Zen in January with a hit piece titled "Lawless Zen Abuses His Priesthood to Disrupt Hong Kong."
Naturally, Cdl. Zen pleaded not guilty. An upcoming trial is set for Sept. 19.
Meanwhile, reports indicate the CCP has been sending the Vatican money ― perhaps billions ― every year since Francis became pope in 2013.
Whether the pope's enthusiasm for the secret Vatican–China accord stems from poor catechesis, ideology, filthy lucre or some mixture of these, it's difficult to reconcile his fervor for the pact with his purported love for the Chinese people, especially his own suffering sheep in the underground Church.