Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Pope Francis heads East, pointing to a new future for his Western church

< Previous Page

An opening to China, with its huge population and enormous potential for converts, likely won’t happen on this Asian trip; relations are so delicate that Vatican officials won’t even say whether Francis will follow the usual protocol and send a telegram of good wishes to the government when he flies over Chinese territory on his way to South Korea.

Even so, Beijing is allowing the papal plane to cross Chinese territory, a first, and another tea leaf for Sinologists and Vaticanistas to read. Even a marginal parting of the Bamboo Curtain would be a coup on par with John Paul II’s historic contribution to bringing down the Iron Curtain.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

What Francis can do right now, however, is to push Rome to be more open to Asian Catholicism. That alone could have an enormous impact on the church, in terms of how the institution operates, how the faith interacts with the wider culture, and how Catholics view themselves.

"It behooves the older churches, especially in the West, to develop an attitude of respectful listening to these churches that have much to teach people for whom a traffic jam in the church parking lot seems to be an insurmountable obstacle to Christian living," said the Rev. William Grimm, an American Markynoll priest in Tokyo and publisher of UCANews.

To be a Christian in Asia "takes a degree of commitment that would be heroic in the West," Grimm said. "It would be easy, and even sensible, to just fade into the dominant culture. But they don’t."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.