Despite the difficulties, Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his wish to visit China.
September 28, 2015
"I would very much like to go to China. I love the Chinese people, I love them very much. I hope that the possibility to have good relations exists. We have contacts, we talk, and we're going forward. To be friends with a country like China, which has so much culture and so many opportunities to do good, it would be a delight.”
China's relations with the Catholic Church have been off-limits since Mao Zedong came into power. Resulting in the formation of two separate communities: one is a suppressed Catholic community and the other was born into an underground community of secrecy, due to a controlling communist government. This book, "The Gospel beyond the Great Wall” explains how Catholics live in China.
KIN SHEUNG CHIARETTO YAN
"There is only one Church in China, not two. However, there are two communities of church followers. Due to historical problems there have been difficulties. We are the community that suffered most and it is hard to accept the other community and mingle with them. But we are in the Year of Mercy and this reminds us that the Church must walk toward Mercy and reconciliation.”
Archbishop Celli worked at the Vatican department responsible for foreign relations with the States and, also China. He remembers the days when the underground community would have three ordained bishops for one diocese because if one were detained, the next would take over. He recalls those to be some difficult moments they seem to have overcome.
ARCHBISHOP CLAUDIO MARIA CELLI
President, Pontifical Council for Social Communications
"I must say that there is a good amount of dialogue with the Chinese authorities. It is a path that is not easy but there is a great desire to reach an agreement for the good of the Catholic Church and the Chinese faithful, also to contribute to international peace.”
It is estimated that each year, about 100,000 people are baptized in China. By the year 2050, China could be the largest Christian country in the world. This would not only fulfill the Pope's wishes, but grant him the opportunity to be the first pontiff to step foot in China.