A government official in China has suggested that Chinese Catholics must run their church independently from the Holy See. Yu Zhengsheng said that the Catholic church in China must adopt “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and implied that the church must be ready to run more disconnected from the Vatican. Pope Francis has been attempting to mend relationships between Beijing and the Vatican, although the two seem to be at an impasse with the appointment of bishops. China refuses to recognize the authority of the Pope to make the final decision regarding bishops and insists on appointing its own—state approved—bishops.
12/30/2016 China (The Washington Post) – One of China’s top leaders told Chinese Catholics that they need to operate “independently” of outside forces and promote socialism and patriotism through religion.
Yu Zhengsheng’s Thursday speech came at the end of a meeting of China’s official Catholic church that was being closely watched by the Holy See. Yu is one of seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top decision-making body. His speech could be a measure of how much Beijing is willing to yield in potential dialogue with the Holy See.
State media reported that Yu called on Catholic churches to adhere to “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” — a term that describes China’s model of development, which for decades has favored economic liberalization but not political reform. China’s ruling Communist Party is officially atheistic. Yu also said Chinese Catholics should adhere “to the correct direction of development.”