06 December 2017
View from Rome
There was a subtext to Pope Francis’ visit last week to South Asia and it can be summed up in one word: “China”. The giveaway was in the geography. While in Myanmar the 80-year-old Jesuit Pope was in a country that has a 1,357 mile border with China; and when he went to St Mary’s Cathedral, Yangon, for a meeting with the country’s bishops, a group of Chinese Catholics were in the crowd outside, waving flags of the People’s Republic.
It is no secret that Francis – who as a young man had wanted to be a missionary in the Far East – is trying hard to normalise diplomatic relations between Beijing and the Holy See, severed since 1951.
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