Sino-Vatican Relations under Pope Benedict XVI: From Promising Beginnings to Overt Confrontation

  • Jean-Paul Wiest


When I consider books and articles focusing on the past 60 years and the present situation of Christianity in China, I notice a difference between those on Protestant Christianity and those on Roman Catholic Christianity. Publications on Protestant Christianity tend as a whole to be rather hopeful about the Chinese Church and its future. One just as to recall the superb analysis of Philip Wickery in Seeking the Common Ground or the overly optimistic appraisal by David Aikman in Jesus in Beijing. By contrast, publications dealing with Catholic Christianity are often more hesitant in their assessment of the recent past and more cautious about the near future. Titles of such books and articles contain words like Through Darkness and Light (Anthony Lam); Problems in Conflicting Authority (Beatrice Leung); Tragedy and Hope (Richard Madsen); and Confrontation and Lack of Dialogue (Jeroom Heyndrickx).1 With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in February 2013, it is time for a fresh look at what was said and done during his eight years as a pontiff to understand how his words and deeds and those of his administration affected the life and growth of the Chinese Catholic Church.


Religious Freedom Diplomatic Relation Chinese Authority Chinese Official South China Morning 
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  1. 1.
    Anthony Lam, The Catholic Church in Present-Day China: Through Darkness and Light (Hong Kong: Holy Spirit Centre, 1997);Google Scholar
  2. Beatrice Leung, Sino-Vatican Relations: Problems in Conflicting Authority 1976–1986 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992);Google Scholar
  3. Richard Madsen, China’s Catholics: Tragedy and Hope in an Emerging Civil Society (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998);Google Scholar
  4. Jeroom Heyndrickx, CICIM, “Confrontation and Lack of Dialogue Cause a New China-Vatican Conflict,” Tripod vol. 26, no. 141 (Summer 2006), pp. 12–17.Google Scholar

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© Cindy Yik-yi Chu 2014

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  • Jean-Paul Wiest

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