Last week, I was interviewed by Germany’s Stern magazine about my hope for the new Pope. I am not sure how much they used it, if at all, here’s my view.
My hope for the new pope is just like ordinary Chinese people’s hope for our new leader – that he will introduce genuine reforms.
One can easily draw comparison between Catholic establishment and Chinese Communist Party, except that the latter has proved itself to be more flexible and adaptable.
The world has changed so much but not the Catholic establishment. I hope the new Pope will inject new blood and more vitality into it by modernizing it, making it more open, transparent and more relevant to the people. I hope he’ll consider the ordination of women and give women more leadership roles and bigger voice. And contraception and abortion shouldn’t be issues – this is 21st century.
I hope he’ll pay more attention to China, one of the fastest growing regions in the world. I wrote an op-ed for the Guardian about why so many migrant workers are turning to house churches (mostly Protestants’) as they offer the emotional and physically displaced people some support and infrastructure. If not for the issue of lack of diplomatic relationship with Vatican, Catholicism would have grown as rapidly as Protestant. I hope the new Pope will tactfully mend the relationship with China without kowtowing to the authorities too much.
He’ll have to be a remarkably strong man who can withstand mounting expectations and oppositions – making real changes in any old establishment takes real courage.
I am glad that the new Pope is from Argentina: it makes sense. Like Africa and China where the societies are experiencing drastic social and political changes and uncertainty, Christianity is expanding.
Like the change of the leadership in China, the change of the Pope can at least bring about some fresh hopes.