The Holy See officially recognizes the Republic of China (Taiwan/Chinese Taipei) as the representative of China. The Holy See has a chancery/embassy there (called an apostolic nunciature), the Holy See has had assigned ambassadors there (called apostolic nuncios), and the Republic of China returns the favor with a chancery/embassy and ambassadors in Rome (most embassies accredited to the Holy See are in Rome).
However, the Holy See has only sent chargé d’affaires to the Republic of China since 1971, which in other words is like an interim head of the diplomatic mission or second in command after the ambassador/apostolic nuncio.
Recently, the Holy See has moved their chargé d’affaires for the Republic of China to become the Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda.
Unlike with other movements within the Holy See Diplomatic Corps, this announcement came without much press, buried away in many other stories.
This has sent concerns around the Catholic Church that the Holy See might be moving to recognizing the People’s Republic of China.
But, the Holy See must not!
Here is why?
One, the Holy See represents the Catholic Church abroad. The Catholic Church has been plagued with corruption and a lack of action at the top for years now. The Church is supposed to be guided by the Holy Spirit, but with countless errors by many of its officials, it is becoming less and less respected by Catholics and especially non-Catholics alike. The Church can alleviate these scandals by doing more right things. One right thing would be to recognize the Republic of China, the China that is not censoring your religion, is not locking up your believers, is allowing religious freedom, and is not extending persecution greatly to other groups as well. As a faith-based organization, it seems apparent that recognizing the good China would be unequivocally the way to go.
Two, the Holy See is about Faith and not money. By recognizing the People’s Republic of China, the Holy See is succumbing to money and being dependent on another anti-religious group for the protection of its Catholics, which creates a power imbalance whereby the Church does not work against the evils of the group in which it is receiving money from. This has happened many times. Look at the Land O’ Lakes Statement with regards to Catholic Higher Education in the USA. The Catholic Schools sought greater funding and prestige, and now, are so dependent on US federal funds that they are no longer really Catholic. It is so bad that you have people promoting sin on campuses as professors or as student groups. At Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles last year, there was a Planned Parenthood fundraiser on campus to give you an example of how non-Catholic things have become. Luckily, the USA still has freedom of religion for now, and thus LMU issued a statement affirming their Catholic beliefs and clarifying how this event was not sponsored by LMU, not supported by LMU, and how LMU is going to look into how they run their campus with regards to these topics in the future, but only after intense backlash! No matter your views on the issues, the fact is that much of Catholic Higher Education has abandoned its Catholicism for the quest of worldly pleasures in the USA, and has ended up with no truly Catholic education.
Yet, the most glaring example of institutions of the Church abandoning their Faith for worldly pleasures has to be the German Catholic Church and its bishops and priests. Germany is one of the few countries left that collects a Church Tax from Catholics for the Catholic Church, and thus most of the money for the German Catholic Church comes from this tax. In some dioceses, it can be up to 75% of their revenue! But, because many parishes have effective restrictions to Baptisms, Weddings, and other sacraments for people who do not register to pay this tax, this means that the revenue coming from this tax is coming from many people who are not practicing Catholics and Catholics who want to change the dogma of our Church, or do not understand the infallible nature of our dogma. And, instead of the German Catholic Church reaffirming its beliefs and defending their Faith, many clergy in the German Catholic Church have decided to borderline schism with the Catholic Church, by allowing, promoting, and blessing same-sex unions, and other major issues in order to appease the majority of registered Catholics who are against the current teachings of the Church and are merely nominally Catholic. Many in both the German Catholic Church and US Catholic Higher Education have made their institutions into private enterprises looking for the most popular product to sell to the consumer, thus looking out for their own temporal success and catering to their consumer’s desires, instead of creating the most moral product that may not be the most popular but gets you to Heaven, which would look out for their consumer’s salvation and help with their own. For the Catholic Church to stay Catholic, it must seek to do the right thing, not the thing that makes the most money or earns the most prestige.
Three, the Church is about defending the weak, protecting the poor, helping out the less fortunate, and in international relations, the Republic of China is really all of these things. And they are good! Currently, only 13 other nations recognize the Republic of China, as the Communist Party of China (CCP) in all in tense and purposes forces countries to choose one nation or the other to recognize, and the CCP’s coercive power has meant a steady decline in the Republic of China’s recognition. For the world as a whole, it is mightily important that the spiritual leader for over 1 billion people continues to recognize the Republic of China, because it signals that the debate is not over, giving the Republic of China strength and balancing powers. The Church’s goal should be to stop CCP domination around the globe as it subverts God into a cloud of nothingness in favor of their one-party state control.
By recognizing the People’s Republic of China, the Holy See would become one more nation in the quest of the People’s Republic of China’s goal to delegitimize the Republic of China’s truly and fully democratic republic. And, by accepting the deal the Holy See already has without any repercussions following the countless violations of the deal by the CCP, the Holy See is essentially handing over the Keys of Saint Peter to President Xi Jinping in the world’s most populous country.
Whereas, by recognizing the Republic of China, it proves that the CCP does not even control its own region, and thus will have a tougher time controlling regions outside of East Asia. It gives legitimacy to the Republic of China, and thus keeps the flame of their republic brighter. This also keeps an advantage in Holy See diplomatic negotiations with the People’s Republic of China in the future, as the CCP is desperate for unilateral recognition, and the Holy See can continue to hold recognition over the CCP’s head. By negotiating from strength, the Holy See can show the CCP our Faith is stronger than the CCP’s censorship. The Holy See did not do this in their 2018 and 2020 negotiations with the People’s Republic of China, which led to many concessions. While, the deal was a good attempt to make a Papal-led Church publically accepted by the authorities for a compromise by consenting the CCP, the Church failed to display how the CCP officials actually needed this more than them because the underground Church was going to continue to grow and potentially destabilize the CCP, and how the Holy See was completely okay with keeping this status quo. But, by negotiating from weakness, the CCP has decided to renege on their agreements by expecting the Holy See not to speak out against these violations, and have been proven right making the CCP look much stronger!
Four, making deals with the People’s Republic of China’s CCP is not the best idea as they are not exactly the most trustworthy when it comes to making deals. With Hong Kong, they promised to leave them alone until 2047. However, that has quickly changed and now Hong Kong does not have many of their freedoms in tact, either in law or in practice. With regards to many companies, the CCP promised or rather it was implied, that no one would steal the companies’ intellectual property, but that has turned out to be a lie and many companies have had their intellectual property stolen by CCP-aligned spies and tons of information have ended up with CCP-aligned companies that have put the companies who went into the People’s Republic of China at a severe disadvantage. And, closest to home, are these reports that the People’s Republic of China’s deal with the Holy See to allow the Pope to have final say on the appointment of bishops is now being reneged upon as the CCP appears to be picking these bishops instead.
Lastly, the Holy See needs to continue recognizing the Republic of China because of the great relations the free people of China and the Catholic Church have built over the years. The Republic of China have long given the Catholic Church its ultimate religious freedom, even when the Republic of China was more authoritarian before it became a proper democracy. The Catholic schools have been treated with the utmost independence, going so far as allowing Fu Jen University to be under the direct authority of the Holy See’s Congregation for Catholic Education, with the Holy See’s chargé d’affaires being present in board meetings, and with a seminary for priests close by that is for East Asia including the People’s Republic of China. This allows for there to be some priests on the Mainland that possess an independent mind needed to form a spiritually free community of Catholics. Furthermore, Fu Jen University is a highly rated university with two very famous recent politicians, Premier Lin Chuan and Vice President Chen Chien-jen OS KSG KHS, and a brand new state of the art hospital that seeks to become Taiwan’s Mayo Clinic. Fu Jen University also plays a major role in diplomacy for the Republic of China, as anytime the President of Taiwan visits the Vatican City State, they bring along the Papal-appointed President of Fu Jen University. And any important function of Fu Jen University, the Holy See’s chargé d’affaires is there, or some other important Holy See official. While the Catholic population maybe small in Taiwan, they are self-sufficient, possess full-independence and freedoms, and provide lots of services such as 3 universities, 10 hospitals, 29 secondary schools, 15 orphanages, 19 centers for handicap children, and many more services like countless amount of aid and charity. This impressive ability to have so many Catholic institutions is very commendable, but the impact they have are strictly because of this freedom Taiwan provides. The People’s Republic of China may have more total Catholics, but is it really Catholicism if it is masked in a veil of censorship and coercion? The Republic of China’s Catholicism is true Catholicism, and our Church should be advocating for it to continue being free.
The Holy See remains the only sovereign entity in Europe that recognizes the Republic of China, and remains the only highly developed country that does as well. When looking for world leaders on the Chinese Question, the Holy See remains the only world leader that answers this question right, in favor of the fully democratic and constitutional Republic of China. If Pope Francis wants to rekindle the Faith, remaining the only world leader to stick up to the Communist Party of China would go a long way!