By Beth Main
Image credit: Catholic Church.
Chinese authorities do not seem ready to soothe tensions between Beijing and the Vatican. Beijing called this week for Pope Benedict XVI’s successor to keep his nose out of China’s business in the future [Ed.: Even better, keep his nose out of everyone’s business].
Beijing expressed a hope that the Vatican will not interfere in China’s internal affairs but will “create conditions for the improvement of bilateral relations”. China and the Vatican’s relations have been strained since the Holy See officially recognised the Republic of China (Taiwan) as a legitimate state in the 1950s (mainly in protest at the PRC’s perceived oppression of Catholics at the time).
They have continued to bicker and fight over the Catholic Church in China, both the state sponsored entity that does not acknowledge the Pope as its head, and the underground Catholics loyal to the Vatican. This tends to play out as China ordaining bishops, the Vatican excommunicating them, and then China getting them to ordain even more bishops, ad infinitum.
The Chinese populace greeted the news of Papa Ratzi’s resignation with great understanding, acknowledging that “It’s OK. He is old.” Heartwarming sentiments indeed.