A new Pope will almost surely want to reach out to China but…

Usually there are lot of tensions between Vatican and China. Would you say that a new Pope can (should) reach out to China and what about Beijing, can you imagine that Chinese regime will be more open to Catholic Church in the future?

Steve Tsang, Professor of Contemporary Chinese Studies & Director, China Policy Institute, School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham

A new Pope will almost surely want to reach out to China but the problems that Pope Benedict faced will still be there and will not be changed by having a new Pope in Rome. The crux of the matter is that the Communist Party of China requires the Catholic Church in China to follow the leadership not of the Vatican but of the Party. Ordination of priests, particularly at the senior level, is the crux of the matter. The Vatican cannot accept handing this over to the CCP, and the CCP will not allow bishops ordained by the Vatican but disapproved of by itself function as bishops in China. Unless that changes, the relationship will remain difficult.

Shaun BreslinProfessor of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

The Chinese authorities are very wary indeed of any institution that expects or indeed demands a loyalty that goes beyond loyalty to the nation state. So unless a new pope is prepared to devolved the appointment of bishops and cardinals to Beijing, then the fundamental question of authority and sovereignty isn’t going to go away. And I don’t know about you, but I cant see any new pope of any complexion being prepared to do that.

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