"A newspaper controlled by the Chinese government has praised Pope Francis for making 'concessions' to the Communist regime that have effectively resulted in the Vatican legitimizing excommunicated bishops loyal to the regime while forcing legitimate bishops of the underground Church into retirement.
The Global Times told its readers in a February 5 editorial titled China-Vatican relations take clearer shape that the Roman pontiff had made 'substantive concessions to China on bishop appointments.'
It called the on-going Beijing-Vatican negotiations 'tremendously beneficial to Catholics,' without specifying that it was likely referring to those Catholics who belong to the government-run Patriotic Catholic Association, what Chinese Cardinal Zen called a 'new...schismatic Church.'
The Beijing-Vatican negotiations are not yet finalized. The Global Times suggested that the Vatican allowing Communist China to appoint bishops would 'reflect Catholics’ ability to adapt to changes.'
The article praised the 'wisdom' of Pope Francis, saying that the negotiations are taking a 'clearer shape' despite the opposition of 'Western media and certain radical religious groups opposed to enhanced Sino-Vatican ties.'
The article comes at a time when the Vatican is receiving heavy criticism from Catholics around the globe for what Cardinal Zen says amounts to 'selling out the Catholic Church in China.' Critics say that the Vatican’s negotiating strategy in China is nothing more than 'simply negotiating the surrender of the underground Church 'to the false church created by the Communists."
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