In disturbing news to conservative Christians in the United States, Pope Benedict XVI, yesterday made a surprising stand against the convolution of church and state by excommunicating two newly ordained Chinese bishops. The bishops had just been installed by the Chinese government’s sanctioned and controlled branch of the Catholic church without Vatican approval when they were informed that their services were no longer required. The Pope also stated publicly for the first time that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea after all to have a lack of separation between the Chinese government and the church.
As is completely proper, Catholics in China are allowed to worship only at government-approved Catholic churches. This was a situation that the Pope found acceptable if not convenient, provided the local branch of the church continued to take orders from the Vatican. However, the situation became intolerable and an affront to religious freedom when the Chinese government started to make religious decisions on its own without getting prior approval from the Vatican.
The fact that the establishment of an official state religion might have negative consequences for the religion itself comes as a complete shock to everyone. Well, not exactly everyone. A few eighteenth century kooks, radical secular humanists, and anti-Christian bigots had previously made this claim in some obscure subversive publications. Such long discredited cranks and nitwits as James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams long ago claimed in outmoded documents such as the “Federalist Papers” and the United States Constitution that religion and government should remain separate as much for the benefit of religion as for government.
Most politicians and religious leaders in the United States long ago realized that these ideas no longer had any validity and were advanced solely to further the radical agenda of those who wanted to turn our children into miniature drag queens. That the Pope should now come out on the same side as these anti-Jesus child molesters is extremely disappointing to say the least.