Current Events – An Atheist China Warms to the Vatican

Religious Persecution “Intensifies”

A recent article written by CNN reporters James Griffiths and Matt Rivers details the growing relationship between atheist China and the Vatican. (

While noting the increasing persecution of Protestants in China, the authors write of the “warming ties” between Beijing and Rome: “As the situation has worsened for Protestants, relations between the Vatican and Beijing are at their strongest level in years.

“Pope Francis has expressed his desire to visit China, and reports last year suggested the two sides were moving to a deal on the ordination of bishops, long a sticking point. …

“Asked about the potential for a deal, the Vatican would not comment, with a spokesman saying it was a ‘work in progress.’

“Father Simon Zhu, a Chinese priest in an officially-sanctioned church, told CNN, ‘We pray for this normalization between Rome and Beijing.’ ”

While the increasing improvement in the relationship between the two is heralded by some, it is viewed with skepticism by others. Retired Cardinal Joseph Zen, former Bishop of Hong Kong, remarked, “We are afraid it’s going to be a bad deal. There’s no reason to hope the Communists will change. They already have very tight control of the above ground church, their hope is to have the underground church under their control as well.”

The ultimate goal, of course, is for Rome to control both the “above ground church” and the “underground church.”

“And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never changes. The principles of Gregory VII and Innocent III are still the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. And had she but the power, she would put them in practice with as much vigor now as in past centuries. … While they are bent upon the accomplishment of their purpose, Rome is aiming to re-establish her power, to recover her lost supremacy.” The Great Controversy, 581.