Pope Francis: China



Pope Francis is going to South Korea where the Church is growing and is strong, now with ten percent of the population, five million Koreans, and some 5,000 priests.  Another Asian country where the Church is growing is China, where there are some twelve million Catholics, five million of them at least officially members of the Catholic Patriotic Association set up by the government, and the remainder part of the underground Church with forty bishops loyal to Rome.  PopeWatch thinks it is doubtful that the Chinese government would allow the Pope to visit Rome, but if it did, one cardinal thinks such a visit would be a bad idea:

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Hong Kong’s outspoken former bishop, has asked Pope Francis not to visit China, saying the pontiff would be “manipulated”.

Improving ties between the Vatican and Beijing has given rise to speculation the pope could reach out to China.

But Zen told the Corriere della Sera, an Italian newspaper, in an interview: “I would tell him now: ‘Don’t come, you would be manipulated.’”

“The few courageous [Catholics] could not meet [the Pope], and the Communist Party would show him the illegitimate bishops, including the three excommunicated ones,” the 82-year-old said in the interview.

The comments come as ties between the Vatican and China have improved in the early days of the pontificate of Francis. When he rose to the helm of the Catholic Church last year, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs congratulated Francis on his election. 

Go here to read the rest.  Papal visits can have a huge impact upon Catholicism in a nation.  Given the opportunity, PopeWatch suspects the Pope would leap at the chance, no matter the risk.

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  1. What sort of message would a papal visit to China send to the oppressed minorities in East Turkistan and Tibet, who are being denied their right of self-determination by an imperialist Chinese government?

  2. The Pope would do the Chinese Catholics a bigger favor if he would send secret missionaries into Red China to aid our persecuted brothers. All he will get from his visit is a photo op with their persecutors, and a meeting with the phony leaders of the government controlled church.

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