CV NEWS FEED // In a Thursday op-ed published in The Washington Post, Catholic Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-WI, called for Pope Francis to confront the tyranny of the genocidal Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Gallagher chairs the House Select Committee on the CCP. The congressman started his column with a side-by-side comparison between Francis and the outspokenly anti-communist Pope St. John Paul II.
“John Paul’s exhortation to the faithful to live in truth and stand against aggression helped end the [Polish communist] regime,” Gallagher wrote. “He often said these three words: Be not afraid.”
“As the Synod of Bishops meets at the Vatican this week to debate and advise the pontiff, those gathered should heed John Paul’s fearless example in their dealings with the Chinese Communist Party,” he continued. “This is not the course the Catholic Church appears to be charting.”
Gallagher cited remarks Francis made during his September visit to Mongolia, a sparsely-populated nation that borders the People’s Republic of China. There, the pope told the heavily persecuted Catholic minority in China to “be good Christians and good citizens.”
Gallagher pointed out that Francis failed to take the opportunity to mention
the Chinese government is engaged in religious oppression: a genocide against Uyghurs, a majority of whom are Muslim, in Xinjiang and cultural atrocities in Tibet. He did not call for the release of Jimmy Lai, the Catholic Hong Kong publisher persecuted for his support of democracy. He did not ask for the exoneration of Hong Kong’s 91-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen, arrested for challenging the CCP.
“John Paul understood that Soviet communism preached a false gospel that demanded acceptance without question and to have its diktats applied without exception,” Gallagher wrote. “Chinese President Xi Jinping, too, is a totalitarian. His teachings must be accepted by all and are often imposed by force. Yet, Francis has not called him to account.”
Gallagher referenced the 2018 Vatican-China deal Francis negotiated with Xi. The pact “gave the [CCP] the right to nominate Catholic bishops — in practice, tantamount to appointing them.”
“Avowedly atheist party members in Beijing notify the Vatican of their choices,” Gallagher explained. “Francis provides a rubber stamp — a shocking way to decide upon the consecrated successors to Jesus’ apostles.”
In July, Francis approved Joseph Shen Bin, the CCP’s pick for bishop of Shanghai. Months earlier, the Party appointed him without Vatican approval, violating the deal’s stipulations.
Pope Francis “has the power to confront Beijing,” Gallagher concluded:
Truth, combined with the fearlessness to speak it, is fatal to every ideology of oppression. In 1979, John Paul knew that the power of communism in Poland lay not in Soviet tanks but in the acceptance of the lies that drove them. Destroy the lies, and China’s tanks, too, will rust in fields.
It’s not too late. Francis can still follow John Paul’s example. He cannot force the CCP to keep its word or to embrace Christianity. But he can challenge its values in front of the world.”
“As a Catholic, I pray for Francis: Holy Father, be not afraid,” Gallagher added.
Gallagher has represented Wisconsin’s 8th District since 2017. The district is based in Green Bay and covers the northeastern portion of the state.
“The silence from the Vatican on China’s human rights abuses and Jimmy’s case in particular is deafening,” Gallagher said at the time. “Jimmy Lai’s example shows that the true prison is one built from fear of speaking the truth to the powerful.”
During Holy Week, Gallagher joined Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, and other members of Congress in blasting the Biden administration for sending a “cease and desist” order to a group of Franciscan priests who provided pastoral care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
“We have made promises to our service members and veterans that if they take care of us, we will take care of them,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin:
This extends to not just providing quality healthcare at our nation’s military medical facilities, but by also providing the ability to freely practice their religion to those under the care at these facilities.
A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Gallagher recently helped expose the Pentagon’s controversial “sexless” pronoun policy.
“The Department [of Defense] recently stripped gendered pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’ from awards honoring the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to this country,” he said in a September 1 statement.
Weeks later, the Pentagon decided to scrap the policy.