An Asia News Agency report of February 7, 2018, informed its readers about surprising statements by Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, on his return from China. The prelate assured that China was the best implementer of the Church’s social doctrine. The ineffable Argentine prelate, who still quietly retains his important office in the Vatican, said:
“Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese”… “they seek the common good, subordinate things to the general good.”
“I found an extraordinary China; what people do not know is that the central Chinese principle is ‘work, work, work.’ … As Paul said: ‘He who does not work does not eat.’
“You do not have shantytowns; you do not have drugs; young people do not have drugs. There is a positive national consciousness — they want to show that they have changed; they already accept private property.”
Then he did not shrink from making a comparison with the United States, presented in this light: “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 (Donald) Trump? … On the contrary, the Chinese propose work and the common good.”
In an international meeting in 2017, the Argentine prelate had already “fiercely defended China from the accusation of forcing Chinese doctors to harvest organs from prisoners and death convicts.” This time, he concluded his reflections on the Asian giant as follows: “One cannot think that today’s China is the China of the time of John Paul II or the Russia of the Cold War.”
In reality, things weren’t very different at the time of the Ostpolitik of Pope Paul VI and Cardinal Agostino Casaroli. Even then, the Holy See winked at an alleged Chinese model that supposedly favored the common good. In an article titled, “Suicide is Fine, Thank You Very Much” (Folha de São Paulo, July 8, 1973), Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira thus commented on the statements of a senior official of the Holy See:
“The news published a few days ago by the daily Tribuna da Imprensa, of Rio de Janeiro, that the Vatican delegate to the International Labor Organization, Msgr. Silvio Luoni, exalted the Chinese development model, placing it as an example of ‘respectful development of the cultural values of that great people’ caused a painful impression on many Brazilian circles. The ecclesiastical dignitary added: ‘Even taking into account the limits of knowledge, and making all sorts of reservations about the Chinese ideology and political system, we must say that the human and community values of past centuries have not been forgotten,’ so much so that in Communist China ‘analyses, methods and achievements respect the essence of that heritage despite the excesses of a sometimes overflowing revolutionary enthusiasm.’”
“Despite ‘all sorts of reservations,’ the prelate suggests that authentic communism, such as China’s, is compatible with the admirable traditional heritage of the Chinese people. That means giving an image of communism that is not only false but propaganda,” concluded the eminent Brazilian professor.
This longstanding love for communist China is not only “pastoral” but reveals a strong ideological and propaganda bias in favor of its economic and social model, said to be an alternative to the “sick” one of the West. This sympathy, which survived through time, today resurfaces in characters such as Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, and there is nothing new about it.
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