Peace through victory - the American way.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Why Not A Chinese Pope?

Here's a comprehensive list of all the Catholic Church's Cardinals and their biographies. It doesn't conveniently list the media designated front runners. Instead, it lists them all and gives you the option of listing them by age, rank, nationality. Perhaps the next Pope will be somebody from the back of this pack not the front.

Much of the pundit talk I've heard focuses on issues like celibacy, homosexuality, abortion, third-world debt, and a host of other political issues. On the theory that the Church's mission in the world ought to include evangelism and improving the conditions for religious liberty we could do worse than to have another pope that would speak to those who live in countries where they are not free to worship as they please.

China immediately comes to mind as its billion subjects have little or no religious freedom. It has an underground Catholic Church that is oppressed by the government. Apparently, though, it has no Cardinals. But Taiwan does. Here's the biography of Cardinal Shan Kui-hsi. He appears to be a significant leader in the Asian church with expertise in governance and evangelism. Trouble is that he's 82.

Other options include Cuba, Korea, because of the North not the South, and anywhere in the Muslim world, like Egypt, Lebanon, Indonesia, Syria, or one of the two nickering.

My hope is for the Taiwanese or perhaps a Bishop of the underground church. China is taking too much advantage of the world's focus on the Middle East to consolidate its grip and extend its reach. The world would be well served if the Chinese dictators had a spiritual rival for the hearts of their people. A free China with religious tolerance would go a long way toward increasing the odds for peace in the 21st Century.

-tdr

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