Sam Brownback, former Ambassador for Religious Freedom, urged the Vatican to reconsider its non-critical stance with the Chinese Communist regime following the release of the U.S. State Department’s annual Religious Freedom Report, which documents widespread human rights violations against believers in China.
In October 2020, the Vatican renewed a controversial agreement with the CCP under which the Communist authorities, with the Pope’s endorsement, can select bishops within the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which is considered a smokescreen to cover alleged ‘freedom of belief’ in the country.
The controversy revolves around the Chinese regime’s ongoing campaigns of religious persecution, ranging from Christians, Catholics to Muslims and the Falun Dafa group.
The agreement was renewed for two years and is seen by the conservative wing of Catholics as a form of recognition of the Chinese Communist Party even though it openly declares itself an atheist, and exterminating the faith of the Chinese has been one of its main objectives since it took power in 1949.
“We really pressed the Vatican not to enter in to extending their agreement with the Chinese government on the appointment of bishops, and I hope they would look at this report and say ‘this is not a regime we should be negotiating with,'” Brownback told the Catholic news agency.
“The moral authority of the Vatican is significant,” he added. “You don’t negotiate with evil. You kick it out.”
Brownback sees the CCP as a direct enemy of all faiths and regards the CCP as the only obstacle to religious freedom in China.
“They have trouble with any sort of allegiance to a higher moral authority—to God—and they are going at it— hammer and tongs—on everybody, whether that it’s the Tibetan Buddhists, the House Church Christians, the underground Catholic Church, Falun Gong, [or] Uyghurs,” the former ambassador stated.
“The [State Department] report really documents China’s war against all faiths. It’s a communist regime. Communists are atheists,” Brownback added.
Criticism of the Vatican also stems from the fact that Pope Francis is known for using his position to promote things like ‘social equality,’ ‘public health for all’ and having an open-borders stance, ideas rather close to the left.
“We can heal injustice by building a new world order based on solidarity, studying innovative methods to eradicate bullying, poverty, and corruption … all working together … to provide healthcare for all,” Francis said.
However, the silence in the face of the Chinese Communist regime’s extensive religious persecutions, coupled with this agreement that the CCP uses to validate its legitimacy in the international community, presents a stark contrast and double standard for Pope Francis in dealing with the Chinese Communist dictatorship.
Sam Brownback said the Pope is making the same mistake that the United States made 20 years ago when it started to trade with the Asian giant hoping that the Communist regime would one day adopt more democratic practices.
“It didn’t work. It didn’t work for us, the West, in our negotiation with China, and I don’t think it’s going to work with the Vatican,” the former ambassador assessed.