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).]


  1. Anonymous5:00 PM

    My, that looks really bad... No wonder they took it off their website.

  2. My apologies but which one is the bishop?

  3. Anonymous6:40 PM

    The terrible situation of the Church in China today is caused, at least partially, by the liberal clergies outside China. Cardinal Zen in HK has rebuked one of them openly. They go to China for their greater glory, not minding the discipline or the tradition of the Church.

  4. Prof. Basto9:29 PM

    This is an absurdity!

    And it is painful to me. I am ashamed of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference.


    The Bishop is the one with the white "clergyman shirt", which he wears with a business suit but apparently without pectoral Cross.

    Perhaps the Cross would offend the Chinese "Episcopal Conference".

    Note that the term "both Episcopal Conferences" is used, as if the CNBB recognized the Patriotic Association as the legitimate Bishops of China, and the state organ as an actual Catholic Episcopal Conference with ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

    The Brazilian Episcopal Conference and many others should be dissolved.

    While there are a few good bishops, and they are a minority, the Episcopal Conference only serves to harm their good work.

    And, given the decadent state of the clergy in this formerly Catholic Nation, the number of dioceses should be greatly reduced, with the concentration of larger areas under the same bishop, because presently, finding worthy prelates to fill all ecclesiastical vacancies must be an impossible burden.

    And, if the candidates are not good, it is no wonder that in the end of the selection process the result is a bad appointment.

  5. Anonymous9:52 PM

    As a Brazilian citizen, I can assure you that I am not surprised at all. The CNBB (the National Conference of Bishops) doesn't talk much about the Faith but it is really into supporting leftist/marxist agenda, groups, etc...

    The only known Catholic priests there nowadays are charismatics (neo-protestants) that LOVE to sing, sell CDs/DVDs and appear on TV shows. Really, I am not joking, it is quite depressing.

    When I was 15-16, in the mid-90's, a priest during his sermon encouraged the faithful to vote for the socialist/marxist party. I thought it was a good idea to just leave the mass (mess?).

  6. Lee Terry Lovelock-Jemmott10:14 PM

    I know this is not Christian neither Catholic but I say that all heretics and modern day ecumenists need to be hanged for their earthly treason. Then again, that would only be the way of the heathen and devil worshipping Muslims and atheists who adhere to the flesh of man.

  7. I'm brazilian, and I pray for the extinction of brazilian episcopate. Please, Holy See!!! Let our dioceses die! If there's no catholic priests, don't give the episcopal consecration for this kind of men.

    I'm so tired of all this... The time goes, and day after day, I say to myself: "Lefevbre was right".
    Yes... The SSPX...

  8. Anonymous1:13 AM

    This is outrageous.
    The bishop smiling to people that jail real Bishops in China.
    Where is the Pope that does not defrock this Brazilian bishop?

  9. Gratias2:48 AM

    It is outrageous indeed that bishops appointed by the Pope oppose the Church. But Brazil is not alone. Here in the US the Bishops' conference has funneled lots of our donations to community organizers called ACORN. Brazil invented Liberation Theology with bishop Helder Camera, but the flame has been kept alive here in the USA.

  10. Gratias, this is more serious than a mere Liberal pecadillo, because such political and diplomatic matters are not to be dealt with by other bishops when the Holy See is dealing with them, unless they have been delegated to do so by the Supreme Authority. We are glad this has been picked up by Italian sources.


  11. Anonymous6:45 PM

    That's a Catholic bishop??? What some clerics won't do to get their names in the news!

    Stop joking. That can't be a Catholic bishop! Shame shame shame on him if it is.


  12. Anonymous9:03 PM

    The Church here in Brazil is COMPLETELY lost! People here are no longer Catholic. Their faith has DISAPPEARED and they fail to realize that. It's like a nation of drunks.
    We're becoming another Cuba. It's all about marxism, communism, NOW, green-guys etc.
    I am widely ashamed of Brazil in every possible area. Pretty sad.

  13. Prof. Basto11:00 PM


    He is not only a Catholic Bishop, but one that was chosen by his peers to be the Secratary General of the Episcopal Conference of the Nation (Brazil) with the greatest absolute number of Catholics in the world (circa 145,446,000 at least nominal Catholics), and also with the largest Episcopate in the world, and the greatest number of dioceses (268).

    The lack of a profound Faith, though, is evident in the number of priests. Brazil has only 16,853 according to Catholic Hierarchy statistics. Spain, with a population of only 37,165,000 Catholics, has 25,281 priests. That is, Spain has more priests than Brazil, even though Brazil has almost four times the number of at least nominal Catholics than Spain.

    I think the number of Bishops of a Nation shouldn't be measured by its number of nominal Catholics, but by its number of priests. The number of priests is a more reliable indicator of the number of engaged Catholics. And it has more of a direct relationship with what the number of dioceses should be.

  14. Anonymous4:43 AM

    What Bishop? Seriously, who's the Bishop in the picture? Sad that it's not obvious.


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