The Vatican’s yellow fever: preliminary reflections on Chinese Catholicism

The Vatican’s yellow fever: preliminary reflections on Chinese Catholicism December 7, 2018

The basilica of Our Lady of She Shan, in Shanghai (China) – by Peter Potrowl, 30 May 2010 (CC BY-SA 3.0 [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.fr]), via Wikimedia Commons
Amidst reports that the Latin faithful in China are being persecuted more than ever since the signing of a deal between the Vatican and the People’s Republic of China, someone called me prophetic. With some reflection, I cannot take on this compliment. It does not describe my process, which simply revolved around not toeing the McCarrick line on bishops’ conferences, especially after he was revealed to be a predator.

Instead, as I then wrote on Facebook and now publish here, it is as I tell my Chinese Christian friends with regards to dating. Of all people who have trouble understanding these principles of romance, it is my sisters and brothers in Chinese Christianity, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox. Why this ecumenical problem exists will be a subject of a longer post some other time — it has, I think, a lot to do with the sacrifice of a Chinese way of the heart at the idolatrous altar of Western modern fantasy — but the analogy, I think, works. Oftentimes, in a situation of having fallen in love, one fantasizes and fantasizes and fantasizes and loses track of the actual situation. It is important, I tell them, to step back and ask what the actual situation is. Are you actually dating this person? Have you actually been out on a date? Did you get to know this person on this date?

Having worked out what the situation actually is, then you can ask two questions. First, how do you feel about the situation? Second, how do the other people in the situation feel about it?

I am not sure that this is a prophetic way of looking at this situation. However, I do know that when it comes to the Vatican and China, the Vatican is not only run by a bunch of single men, but it is also currently more single than the singlest of my Chinese Christian friends.

So much, as they say, for yellow fever. Most Holy Theotokos, Mother of Sheshan, save us.


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