History Sure Does Repeat Itself

Who would have thought we would be replaying the 11th and 12th century investiture controversies a thousand years later in China:

Pope Francis has decided to accept the legitimacy of seven Catholic bishops appointed by the Chinese government, a concession that the Holy See hopes will lead Beijing to recognize the pope’s authority as head of the Catholic Church in China, according to a person familiar with the plan.

For years, the Vatican didn’t recognize their ordinations, which were done in defiance of the pope and considered illicit, part of a long-running standoff between the Catholic Church and China’s officially atheist Communist Party.

The pope will lift the excommunications of the seven bishops and recognize them as the leaders of their dioceses, according to the person familiar with the situation.


  1. SamWah:

    Remember, he's a Socialist.

  2. Agammamon:

    "Holy See hopes will lead Beijing to recognize the pope’s authority as head of the Catholic Church in China,"

    So, the Pope is trying the 'Queen Elizabeth' approach to ruling - 'yes, we promise to do whatever you tell us to do as long as you only tell us to do the things we wanted you to tell us to do in the first place'.

  3. Bistro:

    Ah I am so looking forward to another papal captivity when the Chinese decide to cut out the middle man and just name their own pope and set him up in a palace they buy for him in Avignon.

  4. Dan Wendlick:

    Snarky Lutheran comment:
    "Is the Pope Catholic?" is no longer a rhetorical question.

  5. marco73:

    My goodness, wouldn't the Forbidden City make an absolutely fabulous new Vatican?
    Maybe someone needs to ask Dear Francis just how large a check he would want to start the moving process.

  6. kidmugsy:

    For many years the kings of both Spain and France appointed their own Roman Catholic bishops. There's nothing new about this - except perhaps that it's harder for a Chinese army to reach Rome.

  7. John Moore:

    This pope is unfortunately of the "liberation theology bent" - basically, a communist. In the case of China, it is hard to see a benefit to accepting as bishops operatives of the totalitarian state. He is in error with this, as he is about global warming and many other issues. I say this as a practicing Catholic.

  8. kidmugsy:

    He may well be wrong but what he's done has got precedents. Anyway, what do you expect? The only decent pope in a couple of millennia was the Polish chap.

  9. Daniel Barger:

    Jorge Bergoglio is a communist. China is communist. This is just "professional courtesy".

  10. Mercury:

    Actually this sounds more like Facebook agreeing to play by China's rules in order to get their platform on the mainland.

  11. Robert Rounthwaite:

    Did you see this fawning praise? "at this moment, those who best realize the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese." https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-official-praises-china-for-witness-to-catholic-social-teaching-21595 And a rebuttal, if you needed one: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/catholic-church-china-bishop-praises-communist-state/ Note that the first link is from an official news agency of the church.