Although its government likes to claim otherwise, and hopes we won't notice, meaningful religious freedom does not exist in China. Quite the contrary: As the United States Commission on Religious Freedom stated, in its 2006 Annual Report, “The Chinese government continues to engage in systematic and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief." And so, it was probably more disappointing than surprising when the government-controlled puppet-church, the "Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association," last November purported to ordain a new bishop for Catholics in the Xuzhou Diocese, about 400 miles south of Beijing.
Why should we care? Is there any reason, really, why Americans should worry much about which of these two bureaucratic adversaries - the Holy See and the People's Republic - picks Chinese bishops?
Yes, there is.