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April 5, 2005
This Should Not Be John Paul II's Legacy In Asia

The Vatican may cut ties with Taiwan and establish diplomatic relations with mainland China, according to the bishop of Hong Kong:

The Vatican is reluctantly ready to cut ties with Taiwan and recognize China if Beijing can guarantee religious freedom, the head of the Hong Kong Roman Catholic diocese said on Tuesday.

But a top Vatican diplomat denied any change to its position and said it did not expect any movement until after the election of a successor to Pope John Paul, who died on Saturday.

Speaking to Reuters, Bishop Joseph Zen played down media reports quoting him as saying that the Holy See was "thinking of giving up" Taiwan, which China's communist rulers have treated as a breakaway province since winning the civil war in 1949.

Beijing severed relations with the Holy See in the 1950s after expelling foreign clergy. Believers today must attend state-sanctioned churches which pledge loyalty to Beijing, although many secretly acknowledge the Pope's authority.

"If the Chinese government is willing to grant real freedom to the church in mainland China, then the Vatican would reluctantly be willing to give up its diplomatic relations with Taiwan," Zen said.

I cannot think of a worse legacy for the end of the JPII era than to knuckle under to Communist China -- a country that has persecuted Catholics who remained loyal to the Vatican for decades and who will likely still not allow them true religious freedom under any circumstances. It's more appalling than dumping a democratic autonomous state like Taiwan in order to coddle up to dictators like the Chinese politburo. Perhaps that argument can be made for the United States, as China presents a formidable military risk and engagement serves a greater good of keeping the hemisphere safe from war. However, the Vatican supposedly exists as the guardian of Truth on Earth -- and the US still stands by its commitment to protect Taiwan from Chinese attack.

One suspects that John Paul II had little to do with this notion of kissing the feet of Hu Jintao, and that this scheme may have percolated at the lower levels of the Vatican while the Pope's health declined precipitously over the past few weeks. May we pray that the new Pope have the strength and moral courage to keep their connection to Taiwan and force the Chinese to confront their harsh treatment Christians in general and Catholics specifically.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 5, 2005 6:01 AM

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» On Our Terms? from Maobi
Caprtains Quarters posts about the Holy See leaving Taiwan in favour of Beijing. Settle down boys, nothing in the article tells us its time to head for the hills yet. [Read More]

Tracked on April 5, 2005 10:06 AM

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