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 giulio napolitano /

BEIJING, February 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A newspaper controlled by the Chinese government has praised Pope Francis for making “concessions” to the Communist regime that have effectively resulted in the Vatican legitimizing excommunicated bishops loyal to the regime while forcing legitimate bishops of the underground Church into retirement. 

The Global Times told its readers in a February 5 editorial titled China-Vatican relations take clearer shape that the Roman pontiff had made “substantive concessions to China on bishop appointments.” 

It called the on-going Beijing-Vatican negotiations “tremendously beneficial to Catholics,” without specifying that it was likely referring to those Catholics who belong to the government-run Patriotic Catholic Association, what Chinese Cardinal Zen called a “new…schismatic Church.” 

The Beijing-Vatican negotiations are not yet finalized. The Global Times suggested that the Vatican allowing Communist China to appoint bishops would “reflect Catholics’ ability to adapt to changes.” 

The article praised the “wisdom” of Pope Francis, saying that the negotiations are taking a “clearer shape” despite the opposition of “Western media and certain radical religious groups opposed to enhanced Sino-Vatican ties.”

The article comes at a time when the Vatican is receiving heavy criticism from Catholics around the globe for what Cardinal Zen says amounts to “selling out the Catholic Church in China.” Critics say that the Vatican’s negotiating strategy in China is nothing more than “simply negotiating the surrender of the underground Church” to the false church created by the Communists.

China expert and director of the Population Research Institute Steve Mosher called the Global Times' article “propaganda.” 

He explained to LifeSiteNews that the Global Times is the “mouthpiece” of the Chinese communist government, directed at the outside world. 

Mosher said he does not believe the Vatican should trust China’s new “god-emperor” Xi Jinping, saying that the whole thrust of Xi’s activities has been to consolidate his own power. 

“Xi Jinping has more power than Mao had at his height,” he said. 

Xi is not only the leader of China, but the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, the head of the military and of a dozen leading groups.

“He’s basically done a power grab,” Mosher said. 

Mosher said he, like many Catholics around the world, cannot understand Pope Francis' dealings with Xi Jingping’s regime. 

“Obviously the ten million to twenty million Catholics in the underground Church have voted with their feet to stay underground,” he said. “Why not just let the underground spread the Gospel?” 

Mosher observed that Matteo Ricci and his fellow Jesuits, the 15th-16th century missionaries to China, sought to convert the Chinese Emperor to Christianity so that his subjects would follow suit. But today, in Xi Jinping’s negotiations with Francis, the roles seem to have been reversed.

“It’s not the Jesuit missionaries convincing the Emperor,” Mosher said. “It’s the Emperor convincing the Jesuit missionaries.”