June 30, 10:00 AM GMT

According to the Vatican, that’s when the long-awaited “Letter to Catholics in China” will be released. I haven’t been able to find the statement on the Vatican’s website, but the AP is reporting the news, and there’s no reason to disbelieve it (as noted here yesterday, rumors pegged the 30th earlier in the week).

I will be blogging some of my initial impressions of the letter late tomorrow afternoon or early evening (depending upon when I can download it!), and hopefully I’ll be able to lend some historical context. Then again, at a promised 25+ pages, the letter sounds rather comprehensive, and my two cents might not amount to much. We’ll see.

In the meantime, those who are interested in developing a better understanding of the unusual circumstances that have brought China’s Catholics to this most interesting point in history might look at Jean-Paul Wiest‘s 2002 paper, “Understanding the Roman Catholic Church in China.” It’s a relatively quick read (as academic papers go), but it’s by far the best introduction to the issues that will presumably be covered in the Pope’s letter.

[UPDATE: Just found the Vatican media advisory here. The Vatican press corps gets a look three hours earlier, so maybe the text will leak.]

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