Sunday, February 17, 2008

China repents and seeks to woo Pope

TEMPTED by the prize of a historic visit to China by Pope Benedict XVI, the nation’s leaders have authorised a renewed effort in confidential discussions with the Vatican to heal their rift and inaugurate diplomatic ties.
The talks have intensified over recent months, leading some diplomatic observers in Beijing to believe the Chinese may be seeking to announce a deal before the Olympic Games in August.
Liu Bainian, the de facto head of Beijing’s official Patriotic Church, has said on several occasions that he would like to welcome the Pope to China once an agreement has been reached.
While the Vatican says it has received no formal invitation, observers say Liu’s words would have been uttered only with approval from the highest levels.

The announcement of mutual recognition and a papal visit would be a propaganda coup for China. It would counter the negative publicity that has stunned Beijing recently, culminating in the decision by Steven Spiel-berg, the film director, to end his involvement with the Olympics over China’s policies in Sudan.
“The contacts are going ahead and we are somewhat optimistic,” a senior Vatican official said.
Both sides have maintained the utmost discretion, but sources close to the discussions, held in government buildings in Beijing, said they had reached a detailed and businesslike stage.


Anonymous said...

Will any agreement include a definite agreement on religious liberty? One should remember the Concordat signed with the Third Reich which gave the regime prestige but was followed by the dissolution of catholic organisations and the forcible incorporation the Catholic Youth into the Hitler Youth. What guarantee is there of good faith on the part of the Chinese government? Repentence should be followed by purpose of amendment and restitution .

nickbris said...

Looks like a step in the right direction.The Gutter-press will probably object in some way or other.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Well, I am surprised!

And I'm not easy to surprise.

I have to say that this is about the last thing I ever expected from the Forbidden Kingdom.

Huh. Well.

Who knew?

George said...

Guarded and cynical of the ulterior motive or 'real' agenda we should be. However, Papa Benedict on Chinese soil would be a massive shot in the arm for true Orthodox Catholics all over China. It would surely show them that they were never forgotten, always in our prayers and hearts during their darkest times.

Just cast your thoughts back to that first papal visit by JP11 to Poland. The rest is history.

Confucius, he say 'thousand mile journey start with first step'! This would be a good first step.