World
Pope sends rare goodwill message to China
Publish Date: Aug 14, 2014
Pope sends rare goodwill message to China
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (2nd R) greets Pope Francis (L) upon his arrival at an airbase in Seongnam, south of Seoul on Thursday. (AFP)
  • mail
  • img
newvision


SEOUL - Pope Francis sent an unprecedented goodwill message to China's leadership on Thursday, offering his blessings to a nation mired in a long-running battle with the Vatican for control of its Catholic community.

The pontiff, who was flying to South Korea on his first papal visit to Asia, took advantage of protocol that sees him send messages to the leaders of any countries he flies over.

"Upon entering Chinese airspace, I extend best wishes to your excellency and your fellow citizens, and I invoke the divine blessings of peace and wellbeing on the nation," he said in the radio message to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

When pope John Paul II visited South Korea in 1989, Beijing refused to let his plane fly over China.

Chinese Catholics number 5.7 million according to official data and 12 million according to independent sources. They are divided between an official Church dependent on Communist authorities and an "underground" Church loyal to the Vatican.
 


South Korean Catholic believers wave as Pope Francis drives past on a street in Seoul. (AFP)


Beijing and the Vatican have been at loggerheads since China severed ties with the Holy See in 1951.

The atmosphere worsened when in 1957 China set up its own Catholic Church administered by the atheist Communist government.

In March last year, China said it hoped the newly elected Francis would take a "practical and flexible" attitude, warning the Vatican against "interfering in China's internal affairs, including under the pretext of religion".

They remain firmly at odds over which side has the authority to ordain priests, and the Vatican's recognition of Taiwan is a perennial irritant for Beijing.

More than 50 million Christians in China are believed to pray at "underground" or "house" churches, which refuse to submit to government regulation.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Two Czech ministers from the centre-left government received envelopes containing poison last week, according to a local official and media....
Kenyan unions warn thousands of workers to leave restive north
Thousands of Kenyan civil servants, teachers and medics have been warned by their unions to leave troubled northeastern regions hit by a wave of insurgent attacks, reports said Tuesday....
Women not equal to men - Turkish president
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is accused of blatant sexism after declaring that women are not equal to men....
Egypt court confirms jail terms for 85 students
An Egyptian appeals court on Sunday confirmed jail terms for at least 85 students convicted of illegal demonstrations and vandalism in protests backing ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, officials said....
US police kill boy holding fake gun
Police in the US city of Cleveland shot and killed a 12-year-old boy who was in a playground waving around what turned out to be a replica gun....
Burkina gov
Burkina Faso's interim leaders were expected to unveil a new government lineup on Sunday, with the country anxious to see the extent of military influence under civilian President Michel Kafando....
Should Govt lease parts of Lake Victoria to private developers?
Its Ok
No Way
Not Sure
follow us
subscribe to our news letter