The Vatican media speaks of China, making the point that the institutional contacts that were established under the pontificates of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, which are continued with Pope Francis. In its edition of June 30, 2018, “Vatican News” explained that the Holy See is determined to continue the dialogue, manifesting a respectful attitude towards the Chinese government and seeking to clarify, beyond all past or present misunderstandings, the religious nature of the Catholic Church and the objectives of the Holy See’s action at the international level.
The Church claims the right and the freedom to proclaim the Gospel: the political question doesn’t enter in her mission, recalls the same source.
Vatican News noted that Pope Francis calls for “persevering in the official negotiations with the Chinese government, with all the necessary prudence and discernment,” but also with the “clairvoyance” and the “tenacity” that come from trust in God.”
In recent history, the institutional contacts with the Chinese government were established during the pontificate of Saint John Paul II. In 2001, he spoke of the need for dialogue with the Chinese Authorities: “It’s not a mystery for anyone,” he said at the congress on Matteo Ricci, “that the Holy See’s activity, in the name of the whole Catholic Church and . . . in the name of the whole of humanity, desires the opening of a space of dialogue with the Authorities of the People’s Republic of China, in which the misunderstandings of the past have been surmounted, one can work together for the good of the Chinese people and for peace in the world.”
In his turn, Pope Benedict XVI specified in 2007 that in this dialogue “the Catholic Church that is in China has the mission not to change the structure or the administration of the State, but to proclaim Christ to men.”
In his letter to the Church in China, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed that the Holy See is open to dialogue with the country’s Authorities. He expressed the hope “to see swiftly established concrete ways of communication and of collaboration between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China,” because “friendship is nourished by contacts, by sharing sentiments in happy and sad situations, by solidarity and mutual aid.”