15 July 2020, The Tablet

Francis’ Chinese puzzle: appeasing Beijing is a serious misjudgement


Francis’ Chinese puzzle: appeasing Beijing is a serious misjudgement

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, greets Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi at a conference in February
Photo: CNS/Vatican Media

 

The former governor of Hong Kong fears that the Holy See may be making a serious misjudgement in seeming to appease the Beijing government over the status of the Catholic Church, just as China is slipping back into the most hardline dictatorship since Mao

I buy far too many books, so it comes as something of a relief to read about two that I definitely do not want to buy. In recent weeks The Tablet has referred to a couple of forthcoming books that muse about the identity of the next pope that will remain unpurchased so far as I am concerned. The fact that they both seem to make the case for a return to a constabulary Church, rather than a field hospital, a Church fit for Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Breitbart News, is of course part of the reason for my refusal to place an order. But my reaction goes beyond this. I don’t want another pope for as long ahead as I can imagine.

Pope Francis is exactly the Pope that most Catholics, people of faith and those concerned about civic humanism on a global scale want – and, where appropriate, pray to have. A good and intelligent man, able to tell us in terms whose simplicity sometimes belies their profundity, how to live a decent, kind and generous life. He must be a wonderful confessor.

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