Catholicism: Made In China?
For decades, China has been procuring high-tech American weaponry and reverse-engineering as they pleased, pointing their own versions back at our allies and lining their pockets by supplying their dictatorial cronies. Pirated electronics such as high definition televisions, DVD players and MP3 players have flooded Chinese markets for years, some even sporting the logo of the company the technology was stolen from, without permission.
We’ve simply gotten used to the Chinese government stealing something that works, copying it, then calling it their own, and even selling it back at a reduced rate.
Earlier this week, not just the typical pirated Apple technology such as iPods and iPad 2s were noted in China, but an entire, fake Apple store (complete with pretend Apple “Geniuses”,) was spotted and reported in the news, adding a whole new level of chutzpa to the mix. The copycat iPad thing stings only so much, given the news that many of the Chinese customers visiting the unauthorized retailer are angrily returning the poor quality goods they’ve purchased, realizing they have no actual customer support from Apple, Inc.
The latest blatant attempt to copycat from others, however, cuts to one’s very Soul.
China broke with the Catholic Church not long after the Communist Party came to power in 1951, eventually forming the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, a state-led quasi-religious organization. The Association has previously ordained three other bishops without consent of the Pope, in a move the Vatican called “deplorable.” The Vatican has since excommunicated the Chinese bishops, refusing to recognize them.
The Chinese government has effectively tried to reverse-engineer the 2,000 year old faith, and feed it back to its citizens in a narrowly stunted, patriotic form. Many Catholic priests in China who are loyal to the Vatican continue to perform services in secret, while others are forced against their will to take part in state-led religious events, or risk imprisonment or death.
With China’s 12 million Catholics torn in their allegiances and without religious support from the Vatican, expect some level of tension, as more and more Chinese Catholics seek to cast off the state’s damaged goods.