The Pope and Asia: Building Bridges—Reconciliation with the People’s Republic of China
The Vatican’s most tenacious problem in Asia remains the reconciliation of the Greater Chinese Catholic Church, whose Mainland Catholic communities are disconnected from the Holy See and the Catholic communities in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao. From the Vatican viewpoint, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the core problem as it has assumed hegemonic control over society and severed links with the universal Church. While John Paul II initiated reconciliation in the early 1980s, Pope Francis started the newest phase in March 2013. By February 2017, both sides reached a preliminary consensus to end the division between the official and unofficial Chinese Catholic communities. To achieve reconciliation, Pope Francis has adopted an inculturation strategy that builds upon shared cultural values, an accommodation strategy that cooperates with but does not serve the party-state, and an implementation strategy that relies on consultation and papal authority.