Vatican bishop says China is best at implementing Catholic social doctrine

(Reuters/Thomas Peter)Paramilitary police officers stand underneath a security camera near Beijing's Tiananmen Square, China May 19, 2017. Picture taken May 19, 2017.

A high-ranking Vatican prelate has asserted that China's current communist regime is the "best [at] implementing the social doctrine of the Church."

In his remarks to the Vatican Insider about his recent visit to China, Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, had praised the Communist regime, saying, "Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese."

"The economy does not dominate politics, as happens in the United States, something Americans themselves would say. You do not have shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not take drugs," the bishop continued.

Sorondo claimed that China is better than many other countries at implementing Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si, and praised the Communist state for defending the Paris Climate Accord.

According to Catholic Herald, the bishop had accused U.S. President Donald Trump of being "manipulated" by global oil firms, and contended that the Chinese are working for the greater good of the planet, as opposed to those who follow "liberal thought."

Sorondo had visited the Communist state as part of the diplomacy efforts between China and the Vatican over the state of the "underground" church and the appointment of bishops.

"What I found was an extraordinary China. What people don't realise is that the central value in China is work, work, work. There's no other way, fundamentally it is like St Paul said: he who doesn't work, doesn't eat," he said.

The bishop concluded by saying China is "developing well" and now has "many points of agreement" with the Vatican compared to previous decades.

"You cannot think that the China of today is the China of [the time of] John Paul II, or Cold War Russia," the bishop said.

Sorondo had not mentioned the recent controversy about the Vatican's order to remove two Catholic bishops to make way for communist-backed, excommunicated bishops.

Last December, a Vatican delegation traveled to China to make an offer relating to two Vatican-recognized bishops.

As part of the agreement, one bishop would have to retire to make way for a state-backed bishop to succeed him, while another Vatican-recognized bishop would become an auxiliary or assistant to one who had been appointed by the government.

Catholics in China are divided between those who belong to the "underground community," which recognizes the pope's authority, and those who belong to the state-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association, whose bishops are appointed by the government.

An unnamed Vatican source has recently stated that China and the Vatican could sign an agreement regarding the appointment of bishops within the next few months. Under the new agreement, the Vatican would be involved in the negotiations for the appointment of future bishops, the source said, declining to provide more details.

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