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Cardinal Burke at 2016 Rome Life Forum.Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews

VATICAN CITY, April 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke has criticized the Holy See for publicly thanking communist China for its generosity but remaining silent about Taiwan’s after both nations donated much-needed medical supplies to the Vatican.

“Something is badly wrong’’ with China seemingly enjoying “a place of privilege with the Vatican,’’ Burke told The Australian

“The Holy See made a point to praise the People’s Republic of China for sending masks and medical equipment to the Vatican, while it has not acknowledged in any public way the generous help received from Taiwan,’’ observed the Vatican-based American cardinal, known around the world for his defense of Catholic orthodoxy.

“The agreement which the Vatican made with the People’s Republic of China in 2018 – of which there is still no public record – has been, in practice, a repudiation of the tremendous suffering of countless Chinese confessors of the faith and martyrs for the faith at the hands of the atheistic communist government and has only resulted in a greater ongoing persecution of faithful Chinese Catholics,’’ he continued.

On Holy Thursday, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, praised mainland communist China, saying that its gifts of medical supplies are “an expression of the solidarity of the Chinese people … to all those who are committed in assisting people struck by the COVID-19 and in the prevention of the coronavirus epidemic that is underway.”  

“The Holy See appreciates this generous gesture and expresses its gratitude to the bishops, the Catholic faithful, the institutions and all other Chinese citizens for this humanitarian initiative, assuring them of the esteem and prayers of the Holy Father,” said Bruni.  

But no such message of thanks or solidarity has been delivered to the people of Taiwan who have also contributed medical supplies to the Vatican.

The Taiwan Embassy to the Holy See released a statement on April 14, as the island nation donated 280,000 medical masks to the Vatican, the Italian bishops, Italian hospitals, and various religious institutes in Italy, according to a report by Crux.

“It is a sign of closeness to Pope Francis and to the Italian people, but also a help to the Italian church, which is very committed in accompanying the sick and the most needy who suffer from the coronavirus,” Taiwan Ambassador Matthew Lee said.

“This donation to the Vatican,” the ambassador said, “is a concrete sign of sharing the efficiency of the manufacture of Taiwanese masks and the experience gained in the field in recent years in the fight against viruses.”

Pope Francis to visit Wuhan, China

The slight to Taiwan comes amid news that Pope Francis will soon visit Wuhan, the city in China where the coronavirus most likely originated, according to the Italian newspaper La Verità.  

China has been criticized around the world for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Taiwan News reports:  

In an article titled “Vatican projects to rehabilitate Xi Jinping: the Pope's trip to Wuhan,” La Verità pointed out that Pope Francis is considering visiting several cities in China to send a message of hope to the global community. It said the Pope plans to make his first stop in Wuhan and will visit other cities, such as Beijing, after that.

The report stressed that Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, is currently in charge of planning the trip, which is more than likely driven by political motivations. The author suspects that the Vatican has purposefully scheduled the visit at a time when countries worldwide are blaming China for the coronavirus pandemic, in order to win trust from the Chinese government.

Cardinal Burke: Vatican’s deal with China is ‘unconscionable’ 

Burke’s criticism of the Holy See’s snub to Taiwan is not the first time he has been critical of the Vatican’s approach to diplomacy in that corner of the world.

After the Vatican signed its deal with China essentially allowing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to select Catholic bishops, Cardinal Burke said the move was “absolutely unconscionable,” and “a betrayal of so many confessors and martyrs who suffered for years and years and were put to death” by the CCP. 

At the time, Burke also criticized the claim by Vatican Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo that the Communist Chinese state is exemplary in demonstrating Catholic social justice teaching – calling the notion “absurd.”

Sorondo, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academies for Sciences and Social Sciences, an Argentinian and close friend of Francis, had said earlier in 2018 that China’s current Communist regime is the “best [at] implementing the social doctrine of the Church,” and he praised China as “extraordinary.” 

At the time, Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, told LifeSiteNews, “I find the bishop’s remarks frankly incredible.”

“How could anyone with even passing knowledge of the atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party, historically and at present, possibly say that ‘those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese’?” asked Littlejohn. “One of primary social doctrines of the Church [is] respecting ‘life and the dignity of the human person.’

“The Chinese government has boasted of ‘preventing’ 400 million lives through its One Child Policy. In so doing, women have been forcibly aborted up to the ninth month of pregnancy,” the human rights activist explained. “Some of these forced abortions have been so violent that the woman died, along with her full term baby.”

Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, and communist mainland China, the People’s Republic of China, have been locked in political dispute for decades as a result of civil war.  

The status of Taiwan as a self-governing entity separate from mainland China has been in question since losing its seat at the United Nations in 1971. At that time, the Republic of China lost its recognition as “China” to the communist mainland nation.

Under CCP rule, the Catholic Church was forced to go “underground” in order to continue to function.   

The Vatican forged its “historic” deal with the CCP in 2018, but that deal has come at a high price to the clergy and laity of the faithful “underground” Catholic Church, which is being replaced with a “sinicized” version of the Church, professing allegiance not to the Roman Catholicism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ but to the Chinese Communist Party.

The agreement has been criticized by many experts on China and other Catholics, especially retired Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong, long a fierce critic of the deal, who has similarly called it a betrayal and a surrender

“Even the liberal London-based religious magazine, The Tablet, normally a strong supporter of Pope Francis, noted: ‘The Vatican failure to thank Taiwan publicly has certainly raised eyebrows, and prompted accusations that it is afraid to offend Beijing,’” The Australian report observed.