- Jan 28, 2020
When Pope Francis ticked off all the countries suffering political and violent unrest during his traditional Christmas blessing and prayed for peace in these nations, one city, Hong Kong, which is currently in the thick of months of heated protests, was notably absent from this list.
Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, raised eyebrows this weekend when he said the next step for the Vatican and China would be to establish formal diplomatic relations and spoke of a possible future papal trip, yet experts say official ties are still a long way off.
Pope Francis managed an airborne diplomatic dance by sending telegrams of greetings to the leaders of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan as he flew through their airspace on his way from Thailand to Japan.
A Chinese Catholic priest whose demotion was key to a now-stalled effort at reconciliation between China and the Vatican is being pressured to join the official Communist Party-controlled church organization, a fellow priest and Catholic news source said.
Being the lone state in Europe to still recognize Taiwan leaves the Vatican with exactly one thing China wants — which may just afford Rome the only leverage it’s likely to get.
A top official in the Taiwanese Catholic Church has voiced doubt that a controversial secret agreement between the Vatican and China on the appointment of bishops actually exists on paper, suggesting that the deal was more of an exchange of words than formalities.