Rorate Caeli

Why is this Bishop smiling?

While bishops are forced by the government of the People's Republic of China to take part in illicit consecrations, and others have to be protected by their clergy from the threat of kidnapping by government agents (see report by AsiaNews), the Brazilian Episcopal Conference (CNBB) actually welcomes a delegation of the State Administration for Religious Affairs of the same regime. They were invited to Brazil by the (Protestant-run) Brazilian Bible Society and were received by the Secretary of the Episcopal Conference, Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner: "Led by the vice-minister for Religious Affairs, Jiang Jianyong, and 11 other civil servants of the Chinese government, the delegation visited the CNBB [on July 14] with the goal of knowing the work accomplished by the Catholic Church in Brazil and to propose an exchange between both Episcopal Conferences[sic]." (Source: Brazilian Episcopal Conference; tip: Fratres in Unum)

So, while the Holy See is theoretically in charge of excruciatingly difficult negotiations with the Beijing regime under terrible circumstances, the Brazilian Bishops are conducting a parallel Ostpolitik with the persecutors of the Church in China, amidst smiles? Good grief...

[Note (1610 GMT): The news item has now been removed from both the Conference website and its blog. Thanks to Fratres in Unum for saving this indelible picture, which we ask our many readers in the Eternal City to make known to the appropriate authorities of the Holy See: the image of a Church out of control.]

[Note (1900 GMT): Fratres in Unum also managed to save a screenshot of the Conference blog, with even more smiles and laughter, while faithful priests and bishops remain under arrest or under watch in the People's Republic (click to enlarge).]