First, of course, is the question of whether the pope is Catholic. This used to be asked only in jest, as a rhetorical device meant to convey rock-solid certainty about a given proposition. For example: --In a hypothetical cage match, could Grace Jones whoop up on Justin Bieber? --Get outta here. Is the pope Catholic? And so forth.
Now, though, this question is asked in all earnestness. Is the current pope, Francis, actually a member in good standing of the Catholic Faith? If not, then is he still pope? What percentage of dogma and tradition may a pontiff toss out of the Popemobile like so many peanut shells before he forfeits his position as leader of the faithful? President Trump was called unpatriotic, a traitor, just for daring to shake hands with a Russian in Finland. Will there be a VBI inquest into whether Francis has committed treason by having effectively become a Presbyterian? That I am even asking these questions in the first place is due to “the Francis effect” and is, yes, very, very surprising.
However, as the folks who sell food processors and spray-on insulating foam on the TV like to say: “But wait—there’s more!”
For, thanks to Francis’ most recent outrage against the magisterium and basic human decency (‘Which one?’ I can hear you asking…), we now have occasion to ponder yet another papal imponderable: Is there apostolic succession through the Maoist line? Hmm… now there’s a good question.
Later this month, the Vatican will sign a deal with the People’s Republic of China, a one-party communist dictatorship that Francis’ underlings keep calling a kind of Catholic social-teaching paradise. The rub of this deal is that the Vatican will recognize as valid the “bishops” that were appointed by the Chinese Patriotic Association, essentially a part of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In return, China will promise to allow more religious freedom for Chinese Catholics.
Here’s what the Vatican is not mentioning. China—which is still the world capital of forced late-term abortions and of abortion overall, perhaps due to which Vatican bishop Marcel Sánchez Sorondo recently called China “the best implementer of Catholic social doctrine”—is officially atheistic and permits no religion to operate outside of the complete control of the CCP. The Chinese government, not the Vatican and not the Holy Spirit, appointed or caused to be appointed, under pain of imprisonment and/or death, the fake “bishops” largely rejected by the real Chinese faithful and even by Cardinal Zen, the Hero of Hong Kong.
That is to say, the current Chinese government, which was founded by an act of sheer violence and terror and lying by Mao Zedong and his henchmen in 1949, has now arrogated to itself the authority to say who is and who isn’t a bishop in the Catholic Church. And Francis & Co. approve. (Perhaps Bergoglio can use the hammer-and-sickle crucifix that Bolivian dictator Evo Morales gave him as the official papal seal of approval for the China deal?)
If you thought Made-In-China plastic forks were everywhere, then just wait until you see how far Made-In-China authoritarianism has spread.
Now, although it will surely be news to Francis, who was apparently catechized by Sandanistas (or else at Marquette—hard to tell nowadays), Remnant readers will not need to be reminded that bishops are ordained by the laying on of hands, a practice stretching all the way back to the time of the Apostles. Neither Mao nor any other Chinese communist is in the Bible, and, despite the best efforts of the Vatican II crowd, Maoism isn’t even in the catechism (yet). After all, Mao set up a different sort of system than did Christ. The Prince of Peace inspired His followers to appoint successors with a blessing and an embrace. The Red Chairman of the East preferred the old “kill all your rivals and then have the college students kill everyone else” approach. The last communist warlord standing becomes the next communist warlord, and this person (who today is Xi Jinping, whom disgraced Cardinal McCarrick favorably compared to Pope Francis in 2016) decided along the way that they would appoint some bishops in their spare time. But surely we can agree that these appointments are utterly invalid. If the CCP’s pet “bishops” are bishops, then I, Dear Readers, am the Dalai Lama.
But wait a minute. Let me check… Actually, no, I can’t be the Dalai Lama, because I wasn’t reincarnated with the permission of the Chinese communists. You see, in 2007, the State Administration for Religious Affairs decreed that no one, but no one, could reincarnate without written government approval ahead of time. I cannot find among my papers anything from the State Administration for Religious Affairs approving the transmigration of my lama soul, so I am, alas, an illegal reincarnator and out of the running for lamahood. Them’s the breaks under a one-party dictatorship, I guess.
Somehow, though, Francis seems to believe that the same State Administration for Religious Affairs that forbids reincarnation for those who don’t fill out the right forms is going to allow “religious freedom” to blossom in China. That’s quite surprising.
Alas, what we can all see by now is that what Francis has really done is sell yet another raft of faithful Catholics down the river. And that’s not surprising at all.