I was among those who applauded Francis’s decision to appoint Pietro Parolin as secretary of state in 2013. But I now think that Cardinal Parolin cares less about the Church than about diplomatic success. His ultimate goal is the restoration of formal relations between the Vatican and Beijing.
Francis wants to go to China — all popes have wanted to go to China, starting with John Paul II. But what did Francis’s visit to Cuba in 2015 bring the Church? The Cuban people? Almost nothing. And did he convert the Castro brothers?
The faithful in China are suffering and are now coming under increasing pressure. Early this year, the government tightened regulations on the practice of religion. Priests in the underground on the mainland tell me that they are discouraging parishioners from coming to Mass to avoid arrest.
If I were a cartoonist I would draw the Holy Father on his knees offering the keys of the kingdom of heaven to President Xi Jinping and saying, “Please recognize me as the pope.” (Read full text at The New York Times)