In recent years, several contradictions between the Holy See and China government such as two appointments of Chinese bishops in 2006 and 2011 that prevent China and Vatican from normalizing their bilateral relationship. Beijing considers the right to ordain Chinese Catholic bishops to be an “internal affair” in which Vatican should not interfere. The Holy See feels that the choosing of bishops around the world is a religious matter. Furthermore, pursuing an authentic religious freedom in China is the ultimate goal of Vatican in dealing with Sino-Vatican relationship issues. On the other hand, Taiwan also acts as a critical role in this triangle game. From Vatican’s standpoint, however, breaking diplomatic relation with Taiwan is a cost that she may not be willing to pay.
In this article, I try to analyze this triangle game in political, cultural and historical views. Using the ”Political Entity Approach” and the “Mental Approach” with the review of historical relationship between the Catholic Church and China will help us to have a more comprehensive understanding about the context of Sino-Vatican relationship. Social and historical events like Tunisian Revolution, Falun Gong, and the Tibetan independence movement also deeply affect China government leaders’ opinions in dealing with religious events. It seems that it is not just a question about what cost each actor is willing to pay but a question about how these actors select the optimal strategy to solve the “deadlock” within this triangle game.
Keywords: Sino-Vatican relations, Taiwan, Patriotic Church, Political Entity Approach, Mental Approach, Ideology.
“Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God, the things that are God’s (Mt 22:21)”