Pope Francis is going to South Korea where the Church is growing and is strong, now with ten percent of the population, five million Koreans, and some 5,000 priests. Another Asian country where the Church is growing is China, where there are some twelve million Catholics, five million of them at least officially members of the Catholic Patriotic Association set up by the government, and the remainder part of the underground Church with forty bishops loyal to Rome. PopeWatch thinks it is doubtful that the Chinese government would allow the Pope to visit Rome, but if it did, one cardinal thinks such a visit would be a bad idea:
“The few courageous [Catholics] could not meet [the Pope], and the Communist Party would show him the illegitimate bishops, including the three excommunicated ones,” the 82-year-old said in the interview.
The comments come as ties between the Vatican and China have improved in the early days of the pontificate of Francis. When he rose to the helm of the Catholic Church last year, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs congratulated Francis on his election.
Go here to read the rest. Papal visits can have a huge impact upon Catholicism in a nation. Given the opportunity, PopeWatch suspects the Pope would leap at the chance, no matter the risk.