HONG KONG. IF CHINA PUTS THE GAG ON THE POPE…
5 Luglio 2020
Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae, at noon today during his remarks after the Angelus, the Pope was supposed to give a reflection and exhortation about the situation in Hong Kong. The official Holy See Bulletin, given out to journalists shortly after 11a.m., contained these words:
“Recently, I have followed with particular attention and not without concern the development of the complex situation in Hong Kong, and I wish to show above all my heartfelt closeness to all the inhabitants of that territory. In the current context, the issues addressed are undoubtedly delicate and affect everyone’s life; therefore it is understandable that there is a marked sensitivity in this regard. I hope therefore that all the people involved will know how to face the various problems with a spirit of far-sighted wisdom and authentic dialogue. This requires courage, humility, non-violence, and respect for the dignity and rights of all. I thus express the desire that societal freedom, and especially religious freedom, be expressed in full and true liberty, as indeed various international documents provide for it. I accompany with my constant prayer the entire Catholic community and all people of good will in Hong Kong.”
But instead, shortly before the Pope appeared at the window in St. Peter’s Square, journalists were advised that the section of the prepared remarks about Hong Kong would not be spoken. Why?
There is no official answer on this; and theoretically, since the Bulletin is under embargo until the moment when it is spoken, and these words were never spoken, officially it is as if these words never existed.
But they were written, and they are known. What is not known, however, is what sort of pressure Beijing put on the Pope so that he would not speak on world television about the drama of the former British colony, even in the most delicate and peaceful tones possible.
This episode sheds even worse light – if that is possible – on the famous secret agreement signed between Beijing and the Holy See, whose consequences are being heavily felt in the lives of many Chinese Catholics, despite the propaganda of Vatican media. It is an agreement that risks constituting one of the most sensational errors in the history of Vatican diplomacy, and also one of the worst decisions of the Pope who wanted it and endorsed it, unlike his predecessors.
The question remains unanswered: what strings is Beijing using to gag the Pope?
Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino @pellegrino2020
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