Over the next few weeks I plan to post some additional material that I gathered in the course of reporting my profile of Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai in the current issue of the Atlantic. In either case, the coming weeks should be very interesting, indeed, for Chinese Catholicism, and for Beijingâ€™s relationship with Rome. As events unfold, I hope to provide some context, particularly in light of China’s post-1949 Catholic history and Jin’s role in it. A couple of possibly linked issues that will receive fuller treatments soon:
Reportedly, the Popeâ€™s promised letter to Chinaâ€™s Catholics (promised in January) is complete, and undergoing translation. Like many who expected the letter at Easter, and then Pentecost, I am not holding my breath. Equally interesting is the Popeâ€™s appointment of Archbishop Fernando Filoni to be the Substitute for the General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, the third most important position at the Vatican. Filoni was active in China during the 1990s, reportedly playing a significant role in reconciling many of the â€œopenâ€ church bishops with Rome. I suspect that dispatching him to the Philippines, long an important jumping-off point for Catholic work in China, has more to do with China than the Philippines. Stay tuned.