On May 12, Pope Benedict XVI declared publicly his strong wish to begin dialogue. While he met each countries representative to Vatican, he expressed his willingness to establish official relationships and direct contact with those countries that have not, and he welcomes them to quickly establish them.
In his speech to the representatives from 174 countries and international organizations, Pope expressed his hope for peace. “As you all know, I am particularly concerned about how human beings overcome different types of conflicts and tense situation through dialogues, allowing our world to become a land of peace and love.”
The pope further stated that he is from a war-torn country that has experienced all aspects of a war including its after effects, “Almost every one of the citizens in that country buries their love and peace towards their brothers deep within their hearts……we know the meaning of war and the pain of separation of blood brothers.” Therefore, he stated, people will realize that he has the ability to find opportunities to establish dialogues in conflicts and tense situations, and bring forth a world of peace and love.
He also stated, at this moment, his attentions are focused upon those countries and organizations that have not established diplomatic relationships with the Vatican. Before John Paul II passed away and shortly after he began his term of office, the Vatican has received from these countries letters of congratulations. Pope Benedict XVI stated, “While fully endorsing their actions, today, I am willing to fully express gratitude to those countries, expressing my sincere condolence to those countries mentioned, and hopefully we would be able to see their representatives appearing at the Vatican.
“From those countries, especially those countries with Catholic majorities, they have sent me many letters, I am especially pleased. I am willing to express how those organizations and their country’s citizens made me feel specially kind and close.”
Even though the pope did not specifically list out the names of these countries, but China, Vietnam, Saudia Arabia are all countries that do not have official relationship with the Vatican, and many sources believe that the pope is referring to China.
In 1951, China severed the relationship with the Vatican, and deported many foreign missionaries from mainland. In 1957, China established the Three Self Protestant Movement with the principle of “embracing the leadership of China’s communist party” and “apathy towards others” in their foreign relationships.
However, in reality, the majority of Catholics, who participates in House Churches, do not recognize leadership of TSPM. Although the Chinese authorities have announced that there are approximately 5 million Catholics in China, but there are approximately 12 million Catholics, who participate in the services that are secretly held by House Churches, established relationships with the Vatican, treats the pope as their real leader, and accepts Vatican appointed Bishops.
Pope John Paul II has publicly announced his affections towards the believers in China, and he also expressed many times his wish to visit China, but it has never been fulfilled.
After Benedict XVI was elected, the Chinese government expressed their willingness to establish relationship with the Vatican. However, the Vatican must sever its relationship with Taiwan. On the stubborn stances of Chinese authorities and the Vatican on Vatican-appointed bishops, the two countries have serious discrepancies on this. Besides this, the one-child policy also conflicts with Catholic’s faith in their stance on abortion, euthanasia.
In his closing remarks of the speech delivered on May 12, Benedict XVI calls out, “Christian faith organizations, leaders from each country, foreign diplomats and those with a kind heart unite together to establish a peaceful society, become victorious in different cultures and different ethnicities, and temptations of conflicts arising between different worlds.” He said, “Therefore, each group of people should derive from the spirit and treasure found within each culture, and with these excellent values, boldly share them with other groups of people, allowing them to bless the entire world.”