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Two Vatican reassignments are raising questions about what's next for the Holy See's relations with the Chinese Communist Party. Some are extremely worried the Holy See might be planning to establish diplomatic ties with the CCP. Church Militant's William Mahoney has more from the chairman and cofounder of one watchdog group.
Benedict Rogers, human rights activist: "The silence, I think, is very worrying."
Benedict Rogers, head of United Kingdom–based Hong Kong Watch, hopes the Vatican will reassure Catholics, and the world, it's not planning on establishing diplomatic ties with the CCP.
The concern comes from the reassignments of Archbishop-elect Arnaldo Catalan and Archbishop-elect Javier Herrera Corona. Catalan, the chargé d'affaires of the apostolic nunciature in Taiwan, will go to Rwanda; and Corona, head of the Holy See Study Mission in Hong Kong, will go to the Republic of the Congo.
Rogers: "They appear to have been very suddenly and unexpectedly withdrawn from their posts and reassigned to other posts, with no replacements announced for them."
The new appointments are particularly troubling, with the pontiff reportedly receiving $2 billion annually since 2013, the secret Vatican–China Accord in effect since 2018 and the Vatican silent on the CCP's increasing crackdown on religious freedom.
Rogers is not the only person sounding the alarm.
Rogers: "I've been in touch with at least three Catholic journalists in Rome, who know the inside of the Vatican very well. They said they have also heard these rumors independently of me."
Moreover, Ta Kung Pao, a CCP-controlled newspaper, recently published 4 articles attacking religious freedom in Hong Kong, one of which bashes Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, Cdl. Joseph Zen.
Rogers: "The Chinese Communist Party's way of operating when they want to launch a major initiative or a major crackdown is very often to trail it in the State media, the pro-Beijing media."
When the Vatican was preparing to renew the secret accord with China in 2020, Cdl. Pietro Parolin, Vatican City's secretary of state, ominously stated it was "only a starting point."
In 2020, Cdl. Joseph Zen told Church Militant he had evidence to believe Parolin is "not a man of God."