China expert: Vatican official “naive”

Bishop Sorondo recently declared China as the best implementer of Church’s social doctrine

Father Bernardo Cervellera, editor of AsiaNews. (image from

A leading commentator on the Church in China said a Vatican official’s proclamation that the Communist state “is the best implementer of the Church’s social doctrine” is making “a laughing stock of the Church.”

Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, said in an interview with the Spanish-language edition of Vatican Insider that Beijing “is defending the dignity of the person,” and “that China is evolving very well,” even calling the country “extraordinary.”

“When my friends tell me they are going to China, I always advise them not to stop at the shopping centers, the ultra-luxury hotels and the skyscrapers, but also to go out to the peripheries to get a better picture of real China,” said Father Bernardo Cervellera, editor of AsiaNews, which closely covers the Catholic Church in China.

“Presenting China as the ‘Land of Wonders’ is a bit too far. In his interview following his recent trip to Beijing, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo describes a China that does not exist or that vigilant Chinese escorts did not show him,” Cervellera said in a Feb. 7 editorial published in AsiaNews.

Sánchez Sorondo attended a conference on organ donation last year in Beijing, where he said “China could be a model we need today to respond to globalization, a model for the dignity and freedom of human beings, a model for the eradication of the new kind of slavery-organ trafficking.”

Pope Francis, flanked, by Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo signs a declaration during a two-day summit of judges and magistrates against human trafficking and organized crime at the Vatican, Friday, June 3, 2016. (Credit: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia.)

In 2015, the communist country announced it was stopping the practice of using organs from executed prisoners, and the next year announced all donors were volunteers. Despite the assurances of the government, many human rights activists are skeptical that the use of prisoners for organs has actually ended.

Sánchez Sorondo also claimed there were not shantytowns in China, nor any drug use by young people.

However, China National Narcotics Control Commission has recently stated the drug problem in the country is “spreading at a fast pace.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has condemned China’s “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of addicts.

Drug dealers often face capital punishment in a country that leads the world, by far, in executions.

The bishop also made no mention of the stark poverty and lack of basic rights experienced by rural migrants to China’s growing cities, who do not have the basic paperwork required to receive social services outside their home villages.

“Did our bishop try to go to the south of the capital, where for months the city government has been destroying buildings and houses and driving away tens of thousands of migrant workers? Not to mention the suburbs of Shanghai or other Chinese megalopolis, where a “cleansing” is underway and a ban on the “low-end” and defenseless population?” Cervellera asked.

Sánchez Sorondo also used the opportunity of his interview to positively compare the communist regime to the United States under Donald Trump.

“The economy does not dominate politics, as happens in the United States, as the Americans themselves say. How is it possible for oil multinationals to influence Trump? Knowing that all this hurts the earth, as the encyclical [Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’] and scientists say. Liberal thought has dismissed the concept of the common good, it does not even want to take it into account, it states that it is an empty idea, without any benefits. On the contrary, the Chinese, no, they propose work and the common good,” he said.

Cervellera called Sánchez Sorondo “naïve” and said China has the “most destroyed and poisonous environment in the world.”

“What we need to mention, instead, is that in China the economy and politics are the same thing; that the billionaires sit in the Chinese parliament and determine politics according to their interests, which are not those of the rest of the population,” the priest said.

The interview with Sánchez Sorondo comes during a flurry of diplomatic activity between the Vatican and China. Numerous reports are claiming an agreement will soon be made on the appointment of bishops in the country, with the government playing a prominent role in the selection of Church leaders.

The government-controlled Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association supervises an “open” Catholic Church – which does not recognize the authority of the pope. A parallel “underground” Church exists which recognizes papal authority and faces harassment from government officials.

“The idolization of China is an ideological affirmation that makes a laughing stock of the Church and harms the world,” Cervellera concluded.

Full story at Crux.

Related: Cardinal Joseph Zen has criticized the Vatican’s Secretary of State over comments about the Holy See’s relations with China.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes, the current Vatican regime is making a mockery and a laughing stock out of the Church.

  2. i seriously believe that sorondo truly believes his words about china and the social doctrine….because he is in on a new formulation of the the social doctrine that is underway. it was sorondo who was behind, according to infovaticana, the invitation of paul erlich and other popuation control believers to the vatican. he is quoted as saying that we are at a ‘magicmoment’ when for the first time the agenda of the vatican and the united nations are parallel in their focus on population control and poverty reduction-elimination. no wonder humane vitae is under new pressure. sorodo has been a resident of rome for the last 30 years from where, as an ‘airport priest’, be cemented networks and alliances worldwide.

  3. So sad. The Communists are masters at debilitating the Catholic Church. It started with the Freemasons and the French Revolution. Monsignor was taken in by a Potemkin village.

  4. Loyalty to Pope Francis, sadly, seems all to often to rot the brain, if Bishop Sorondo is any indication, But given Francis’ betrayal of the suffering Church, what else can a sycophant say?

  5. Lou Varini says:

    If the Communist Chinese government’s politicians are alllowed to approve the appointment of Catholic bishops in that country, will the Vatican also agree to have U.S. politicians, such as Nancy Pelosi, “approve” the appointment of bishops here?

    • Since we are a democracy, how about having the laity vote for their bishops for a defined period of time (term limits). Now that would be fun.

      • Lou Varini says:

        Appointment of bishops is a right that is strictly reserved for the Holy Father, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We can’t conclude for certainty whether or not the Holy Father is following the Holy Spirit’s guidance. However, placing the faithful th China, particularly their spiritual welfare, in jeopardy by giving over that spiritual well-being to a government bureaucracy appears questionable.

  6. This decision of accepting the state church makes it seem as if the Pope doesn’t have a firm grasp of history. There are 3 issues.

    1) This decision creates Caesaro-papism in China and the Church has had an awful history with this issue in the past.

    2) While persecution is absolutely never sought, the Early Church always did well under persecution which always led to rapid expansion every time the persecution let up. On the other hand, the Church does worst when it’s comfortable.

    3) The Chinese are savvy negotiators and they certainly only agreed to the deal because they feel it will improve their control and weaken the Church.

  7. Prelates and their minions in the church today are saying so many non biblical things regarding social and political issues that are mere opinions from their private readings, studies, or hopes for persuasion. My faithful fellow Catholics, focus on Jesus, His message of salvation from sin, death, an isolation to goodness, eternal life, and communion with God and the saints. Read your bible and Catechism and measure any statement by church officials against that, even this comment here. Jesus will lead you to all truth even when His ministers might fail.

  8. Naive like a fox. Make that a snake.

    Sanchez’s comments are clearly too calculating, too specific to be guileless. Like his boss, Sanchez is a Communist. Or are WE too naive to admit that?

  9. helen wheels says:

    is they naive ?
    or like Hymie say,
    is it something worse ??

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