Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Olive Branch


Just doing his job, China. Just doing his job:

Pope Francis on Sunday extended an olive branch to China, urging the Communist Party-ruled nation which has fraught relations with the Vatican to pursue a formal dialogue to benefit both sides.

On the fourth and next-to-final day of his trip to South Korea, Francis flew by helicopter to Haemi, southwest of Seoul, to address bishops from Asian countries and celebrate a Mass closing an gathering of Asian Catholic youth.

In his address to some 70 bishops from 35 Asian countries, Francis said the Church was committed to dialogue with everyone and added: "In this spirit of openness to others, I earnestly hope that those countries of your continent with whom the Holy See does not yet enjoy a full relationship, may not hesitate to further a dialogue for the benefit of all."

This was a clear reference to China, a nation with which the Vatican has had no formal relations since shortly after the Communist Party took power in 1949.

The Catholic Church in China is divided into two communities: an "official" Church known as the "Patriotic Association" answerable to the Communist Party, and an underground Church that swears allegiance only to the pope in Rome.

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