The Holy See has reportedly asked two Chinese bishops to stand aside to make way for illicitly ordained, Chinese government-backed counterparts.
A Vatican delegation asked Bishop Peter Zhuang of Shantou and Bishop Jospeh Guo Xijin of Mindong to retire or accept demotion in order to smooth relations with the Chinese government.
Asia News, the outlet of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, reports that 88-year-old Bishop Zhuang received a letter dated 26 October asking him to resign to make way for the government-backed Bishop Huang Bingzhang.
There is nothing the Holy See could possibly gain from this that would be worth the harm that would come from this, and no feasible goal that the Holy See could have that would make the harm worthwhile. The Curia these days talks a lot about the margins; the people this would betray are nothing other than Catholics at the margins, faithful Catholics making sacrifices under a persecuting regime. It is a practically enraging malfeasance. I hope that there is some confusion somewhere in the reporting. Unfortunately, the Curia has a centuries-old reputation for doing short-sighted well, so I fear that this is all too in-character. God save us all from stupid and cowardly bishops. The Catholic Church in China has endured unimaginable interference and attack; it can survive it all, but the idea of treachery from within makes one tremble for it.
In any case, it will bear watching and praying; and it is not as if this is the first time we have been here.