Wednesday, January 31, 2007
"As China's Bishops die off," the Wall Street Journal reports, in this long article (subscription required), "Clash Looms With Vatican."
As Beijing and the Vatican escalate their battle for control of the Roman Catholic Church in China, people like Bishop Liu Jingshan are caught painfully in the middle.
The head of a diocese in the dusty plains of western China, the 93-year-old bishop is one of the church's last living links with a pre-Communist China, when Catholics could freely profess their allegiance to the pope. Bishop Liu also serves in the compromised present-day world of Catholicism in this country, in a government-approved church which the Vatican and many Catholics view as illegitimate.
This is a huge story, and I commend the WSJ for devoting so many column inches to it. That said, as I have written here before, it is unfortunate that the storyline in pieces about China's efforts to run the Catholic Church always frames the issue as a "power struggle" between the "Vatican" and China for "control" over the Catholic Church. No, the issue is Catholic control of the Catholic Church.