11/29/2018, 10.25
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Sino-Vatican agreement, a new Munich agreement

by Rock

The agreement signed between China and the Holy See recalls the peace agreement that Hitler signed with Britain and France, not honored at all, which gave time to the Nazi dictator to invade Czechoslovakia and prepare for the Second World War. It is not possible to "ignore suffering and trample the blood of martyrs, in the name of diplomatic successes". From a history teacher.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Even if "the intention appears to be good", an agreement "which lacks justice will only end up harming others". It is not possible to "ignore suffering and trample on the blood of martyrs, in the name of diplomatic successes". These are some of the views expressed by Rock, the author of this reflection, concluding his commentary on the agreement between China and the Holy See. For Rock - a pseudonym of a Chinese layman, teacher of history - this agreement closely resembles the 1938 Munich agreement, with which Hitler promised peace to Britain and France, only to openly reject it with the invasion of Czechoslovakia, triggering the Second World War. Rock recalls the courage of Pius XI, the only leader in Europe who denounced the crimes of Nazi Germany. He asks not to leave "the responsibility of taking care of the flock" to the Savior alone.

The signing of the China-Vatican Agreement finally took place after a long debate. The  details of the agreement signed last September have not been revealed, but the impact on the Chinese Church is hard to describe in its scope. In addition to the recognition of 8 illegitimate bishops (including one already dead) and the recognition of the diocese of Chengde, nothing else is known. It produces a certain difficulty in teaching. This situation recalls similar events in history, worthy of reflection within the Church.

In 1932, the Nazi party led by Hitler took power in Germany and immediately launched a plan to prepare the army to conquer Europe. The first thing was to break the Treaty of Versailles sanctioned at the end of the First World War, and a small immediate neighboring state became the main objective. After the annexation of Austria in March 1938, it was the turn of Czechoslovakia, with the invasion of Sudetenland under the pretext of the humiliation of the Germans present in that region [1]. The Czechoslovak government, without fear of this threat, did not hesitate to protect the country.

But at that moment, the European powers advocating the Treaty of Versailles, the United Kingdom and France, came forward to mediate: British Prime Minister Chamberlain informed Hitler that he hoped to negotiate in person and conclude a peace agreement. After numerous consultations between Great Britain and France and Nazi Germany, the agreement was signed in Munich on September 29, 1938, but without any representative of the Czech Republic. At the expense of the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia, Britain and France  obtained the so-called promise of peace from Hitler. Under pressure from Britain and France, Czechoslovakia surrendered to renouncing the Sudeten region[i]. However, this fact marked the beginning of the end of that country.

After the signing of the agreement, British Prime Minister Chamberlain returned to London. At the airport, in front of the journalists and the British people, he showed himself satisfied and triumphant with the peace agreement signed with Hitler, saying: "I brought peace for an entire generation!" But Prime Minister Churchill replied that the Munich Treaty was a "complete surrender" of Western democratic countries to the Nazi armed forces, "a disgraceful defeat, without war, of Britain". In fact, while the ink of the Munich agreement had not yet dried, Hitler ripped up his promise and occupied the whole of Czechoslovakia. The strikes on Poland in 1939 began the Second World War. France was defeated in 1940 and the United Kingdom was also decimated under the indiscriminate bombardment of the Nazis. Chamberlain, who claimed to have brought peace for an entire generation, resigned and his words after the Munich agreement soon became a joke. Churchill's analysis of the agreement became a classic: "If between war and shame you choose shame, war is only postponed".

It is worth mentioning that while the European powers found a compromise with the Nazis, Pope Pius XI did not fear the Nazis. On March 21, 1937 (Palm Sunday), with the encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge", the Pope denounced the oppression of Nazi Germany over the Church, inviting Catholics to resist racism and nationalistic worship (which go against moral values and faith of the Church), to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and to condemn the Nazi atrocities against Catholics and other Churches. The document also mentions the crimes of Nazi Germany and the violations of political and religious agreements, but at the same time calls for the certainty of the presence of the Good Shepherd, who always defends his flock.

Any agreement that lacks justice will only end up harming others. Although initially the intention appears to be good, the consequences on an objective level must be assessed correctly and clearly. It is true that the Church preaches benevolence, but this does not mean that one can ignore the sufferings and trample on the blood of martyrs, in the name of diplomatic successes! History is a mirror that clearly reflects the rise and fall of countries in the world! The history of humanity must be a teacher for the Church, a place to learn, above all not to repeat the same mistakes! Otherwise, the burden of responsibility to take care of the flock is really only placed on the Savior!


[i] Sudetenland, in Czech and Slovak Sudety, in Polish Kraj Sudetów, is the German term used to indicate the German-speaking territories at the northern, southern and eastern borders of the current Czech Republic.

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