Saudi King Receives President of Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi King Receives President of Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue

Wednesday, 18 April, 2018 – 11:00
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman receives president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz received in Riyadh on Wednesday President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, reported the Saudi Press Agency.

Discussions focused on the role religion and culture can play in deterring violence, extremism and terrorism and achieving security and stability in the world.

The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Secretary General of the Muslim World League Dr. Mohammed Abdulkarim al-Issa.

Pope Francis, Donald Trump, And Faith

Pope Francis, Donald Trump, And Faith

Back in February of 2016 when the Pope was in Mexico as an answer to a question about Mr. Trump and his being a Christian the Pope said that “Donald Trump is not a Christian”. The next day in response Mr. Trump said it was “disgusting” that the Pope would say such a thing as that. Folks think about what just happened for a moment, how would you feel if the Pope himself verbally said that about your faith to the media? I am not a Catholic, never have been, but I am a Christian. When I thought this question to myself the first thing I did was to let out a little chuckle, then the first word I thought of was ‘really’. After thinking about it for a few moments I concluded that if the Pope or any other famous person called me out like that concerning my faith I would demand (I know that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone) a face to face meeting. I looked in the index of my KJV Bible for the word faith and there were many many examples. My eyes wandered down the page to the word faithfulness which had the inscription “making faith a reality in one’s life”. So to be more up to date I checked into the dictionary to check to see what their version of the word faith/faithfulness is. It read under the word faith: Confidence or trust in a person or thing and, belief that is not based on proof. Under faithfulness it read: Strict or thorough in the performance of duty. True to ones word, promises, vows, etc…

So, is Donald Trump a Christian? Is the Pope a Christian? Gods representative on Earth? Does Mr. Trump live a God led life? Does any of us? Judging degrees of other people’s faith or lack there of is a slippery slope that I try to turn over to the one true Judge because I am personally not interested in being a Judge of anyone. When my old mind in my dreams remembers sins committed, long forgotten, buried deep in our minds, how many still remain? I am not worthy to judge, are you? Is Mr. Trump or the Pope? This post like in most of my post I am just trying to get folks to think a little bit about these issues. So, what do you personally think about this flap between the Pope and Mr. Trump? Personally, if I did give my opinion of if Mr. Trump had a clue about being a Christian or of my opinion of the Catholic Church it would only get a lot of folks up set so I will leave those thoughts for another article.

You know what, the heck with it, after all, these are only my opinions, it is not like I am handing down some final judgement on these issues or persons. I am actually quite happy not to be in some final judgement seat handing down edicts toward anyone, there is no way I would want such a responsibility toward anyone.

  1. For what little it is worth. No I don’t believe there is anything ‘Christian’ about Donald Trump! 2) I believe that Rome is the Babylon spoken of several times in the Book of Revelation. 3) I believe that the Catholic Church is the ‘Great Harlot’ of the Book of Revelation. On that note I bid you all a good night.

You Are Not A Human Being

You Are Not A Human Being

 

Did I really say that? Yep, I did. Please lend me your ear for a moment and I will explain myself to you as to why I said such an ignorant arrogant thing.

What are you worth as a human being? I don’t mean how much money your banker says you are worth. What I do mean is, are you a human being at all, is your very hide, your life, worth anything? It should be easy for you to say to me, how dare you, and I agree with you on that. How dare I or anyone to say such a thing about anyone, and mean it! Have you ever wondered how on earth that people can treat each other so inhumanly as to premeditated the taking of another persons life? Not just con, shuck, jive, beg, borrow or steal every material thing a person has on earth. But to feel no remorse about planning to murder someone or about the actual execution there of? Why is it okay for me or anyone else to do such things to our fellow human beings? I have learned that it is much easier to commit murder if you believe that the person or persons aren’t really humans but are something subhuman, just another animal with no Soul. Hate always helps, if you think a person or persons are doing evil things you can demonize them convincing yourself that ‘they deserve it’ for their evil actions.

 

During the last third of the 19th century the western third of what is now the lower 48 States of America was taken over by a lot of us poor white folks and a few rich ones from those “blood thirsty savages” (Indians). Hum, we wanted the land these people lived on and we didn’t want to have to pay anything for it so let’s just unleash a genocide on them. If I can convince myself that these ‘savages’ don’t even have a Soul it makes it easier to just ‘wipe them out’. If I am a ‘Slaver’ of people of another color than my own, it is much easier if you believe that they aren’t equals to ourselves, that they are sub-human, at best. This time frame was not gentile toward other nationalities of people either the Hispanic, Orientals, Jews, Arabs, Catholics, or Blacks, the list goes on and on it seems. It does seem that we can learn to hate anyone, for any reason, even if we have to make one up. Hate doesn’t have to be race related either it can be something as simple as the rich hating the poor and the poor hating the rich.

 

I did just bring up a religion note in that last paragraph on purpose, you didn’t think I could let that one not be included in this critique of the human race did you? I will start first with picking on us people who say that we ‘believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the one and only Living God’ for their spilling of blood of other Christians. Then there is the issue of ‘Christians (and) Catholics’. Do they (Protestant Christians) and the people who call themselves Catholic both believe in the Deity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God the Father? Then how ‘in the name of all that is good and Holy’ does one do violence to the other and believe that Jesus will think that is a good thing? If people would just open up their dusty Bibles and actually read of God’s love for “all people”, then of all people, why the violence one toward another? There is nothing ‘Godly” about this hate and violence! Why do we think that we should condemn, when that is God’s job to do, not ours? Only God is to judge who is correct and who is wrong, it is not our call, we are not to condemn or commit violence toward anyone. If a person is a Christian at heart and Soul then we should be praying for the Souls of those who hate us, and who believe other than what we do. By my belief’s all people who do not come to worship/serve/love Jesus before they die, will end up spending forever in Hell and I do not want that for anyone that I have ever known. Who is a Christian to kill an unbeliever, thus condemning that person to Hell? So, as a Christian I hope that everyone will see the love of Jesus for everyone and turn away from all offensiveness. I do know that not all people are nonviolent who call themselves Christians, and I do know that God will judge us all in the end. Do not mistake my soft heart, I do totally believe that if someone is trying to cause physical harm to your family or your physical being then you have the obligation to protect by any means necessary. It is just that no one has the ‘right’ to be an aggressor, no aggressor, then no is defense needed. God is love, He is not hate, if our heart is filled with hate then we have nothing to do with God. Satan is a ‘god’ of hate, if our hearts and minds are filled with hate it is not ‘God’ whom we are then serving.

 

If we are racist toward another person simply because of the color of their skin, are we not saying that they are not equal humans to us? If I consider you to be less of a person because you are from another whole nationality group, or even a different gender, have I not then demonized/lowered your value as an equal? Christians need to realize that Jesus was a Jew, who was sent to the house of Israel knowing that He would be rejected out of their ignorance of the Scriptures. If the Jewish people had not done exactly as they did toward Jesus then there would never have been such a thing as Christianity. Christians should come to know the Jewish people and the Jewish Nation of Israel as even in Revelation Jesus Himself says salvation is given to the Jew first then to the Gentiles (all the rest of us). Personally I am going to try to convince our Jewish brothers of the human race to see and understand the reality that Jesus is the Christ just as I prefer to try to convince the ‘non-people of the Book’ of their errors so that they do not die in a lost condition.

 

There will not be a lasting peace for the people of our planet because there is an abundance of hate toward everyone from someone somewhere. If I’m not hated because I’m white, straight, Christian, American, old, bald, fat, or ugly I’m sure a person can find something else if they so choose in which to hate me for. I know that there are religions/cultures where I could never be accepted as an equal human being because of some of these very reasons. Wrong color, wrong faith, from wrong country etc..  Are you a human being? Do you look at anyone else on the globe and say in your heart that they aren’t really human, that they don’t have a Soul like I do? If the heart of a man is filled with hate then it is the Devil that owns them, by no means are they a servant of the one and only ‘real God’. What they are doing is kissing the flames off the rump of a Devil when they speak and perform hateful acts upon another. Folks, we are all human beings, equally, of one family, one race, the human race, the only race.

 

 

Vatican ‘Letter gate’ scandal comes to a head as text released  

Vatican ‘Letter gate’ scandal comes to a head as text released 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS.COM)

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican “Lettergate” scandal came to a head on Saturday when the Holy See, under pressure from the media and conservatives, released a full text by former Pope Benedict that before was cited only selectively.

A series of 11 booklets on The Theology of Pope Francis and a letter from former Pope Benedict, which was read out at the presentation of the work, are seen at the Vatican in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters March 15, 2018. Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters

The Vatican Secretariat for Communication, which had come under sharp criticism all week for blurring part of a photograph of the letter and for withholding another section, said in a statement there had been “no intent of censorship”.

It said the letter, written for the presentation of a Vatican-published 11-booklet series on the theology of Pope Francis, was private and therefore officials had cited only the “opportune and relative” parts.

But the episode, which has cast a shadow over the Vatican for a week, has proven to be a public relations fiasco, particularly for its communications chief, Monsignor Dario Vigano.

At the book presentation on Monday, Vigano read out the parts of the letter in which Benedict rejected the “stupid prejudice” of those who say Francis’ theology is lacking.

Benedict also disputed suggestions by conservatives that Francis’ academic qualities were lacking, praising his successor as a “man of deep philosophical and theological formation” and finding an “interior continuity between the two pontificates”.

But a press release handed out at the event omitted a paragraph in which Benedict apologized for not having had the time to read all 11 volumes and thus declining a request to write a “short and dense theological” introduction for the series.

The final paragraph, released for the first time on Saturday, went further, showing that Benedict was irritated by the fact German theologian Peter Hunermann had been chosen by the Vatican publishing house LEV to write one of the volumes.

Hunermann, Benedict noted had “led anti-papal initiatives” during Benedict’s 2005-2013 papacy and had also attacked some of the writings of Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005.

“I am certain that you will understand my denial (of the request to write an introduction),” Benedict tells Vigano.

Luis Badilla, who writes for the Vatican-affiliated website Il Sismografo, issued a thinly veiled call for Vigano’s head, calling the whole episode “a gigantic mess”. In an editorial on Saturday, Badilla said Vigano and the head of the Vatican’s publishing house, Father Bruno Cesareo, “have some explaining to do” and that “consequences must be drawn”.

Conservative critics of Francis saw the blurring and the selective citings from the letter as part of a plot to censor the thoughts of the former pope.

Many conservative Catholics still look up to Benedict as a bulwark against liberals, and have lambasted Francis for being too lenient on divorced Catholics and homosexuals.

Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Chris Reese

Who Am I: What Am I: What Do I Believe To Be The Truths In This Life Of Ours

Who Am I: What Am I: What Do I Believe To Be The Truths In This Life Of Ours

(THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON NOVEMBER 7th OF 2014)

This is a question that I recently thought of, asking it to myself, about myself. This is a question that we can each ask ourselves or we can always ponder what others think of you, if you are so inclined to care what anyone else cares about anything. I ask the question “who am I” in the title, most times people tend to say what they do for a living wage (hopefully). Most all of my adult life I drove a truck for a living though most of the time the companies and the wages were far from rising to the level of being really lousy. So, I guess that would make me and old broken down used to be truck driver. Good, bad, or ugly, truth doesn’t care, truth is still the truth and it does not change the facts because the truth is the facts. When life is brought into just the physical realm, these things I have said, are true. But, today when these thoughts came to me I was thinking more of looking into myself asking of deeper thoughts.

 

Who made you? I don’t mean who was the egg and who was the juice, I mean who are you in your own head? Do you know exactly what you believe about this or that different issue in life? What about religion, not believing there is any Deity is in itself a faith isn’t it? No matter what a person has as a background in their lives we all get many mixed variances being fed into our brains throughout our time here on this planet. We must all decide for ourselves what we choose to be the real truth among the clatter. If we had religion mingled in with our raising what do we think about what we were taught, was any or all of “what the church says” the truth,  any parts of it?  So I decided to write down different things that I believe to be the truth about different issues coming to conclusions that I know that many people will disagree with me on. I have been blessed in that I have studied many lifestyles, cultures and religions. Traipsing all around America’s lower 48 states and all provinces of Canada for thirty years a person can learn a lot from the different parts of the country their cultures and their people. I was also blessed by God’s Grace to be allowed degrees in Sociology and Anthropology here at our local college (Walters State). (no genius, just a 2.7 GPA)

 

I know I can not possibly say everything that I believe in and why I believe each item, besides I’m rather sure the read would get boring to you and me if we tried that in one sitting. I do believe that the Christian faith is the correct one to follow and I strongly disagree with the demeaning of Christian brothers toward each other. Though a person says they are Baptist, Lutheran, Jehovah’s Witness, Church of Christ, Mormon, or Catholic they all believe that Jesus Christ is The Messiah, the Groom of The Church. We are all Brothers in Christ so how dare Brother touch the Blood of their own Brother and not invite the Rath of the Creator of The Blood. Who created you or I to be the Judge and Executioner, we need to let God do these jobs, He is the Only One qualified to do it.

 

Lets start here with “The Beginning”. What do you believe about the beginning of all things, by this I mean the very beginning of this planet, this Solar System, this Galaxy, or even further back if you so choose? Do you believe what Science tells us to be truthful or do you believe in some sort of God created system in which the Bible and the Churches talk about. I believe that Science and The Bible do agree on most issues, it is just that they don’t realize it. Science often speaks of finding the Missing Link that combines monkeys and humans not believing that it doesn’t exist. I like nature shows, I have closely watched programs showing the likenesses in thoughts and behaviors of some Primates to how we humans act, for non believers I can see where it would be easy to believe as most Science base people believe.

I believe that the Catholic Church spoke many errors in their stringent teachings of old, like how the world was flat and that all heavenly bodies revolved around the Earth. They also taught and enforced the allowing of only Priests to read or interpret any of the Bible. For hundreds of years people were murdered by the so-called Church Leaders for disagreeing with the Pope. Is it any wonder why the Authority of Scriptures is so often thought so little of? Is it not human nature to think that these Leaders if wrong on all these things, what else are they wrong about? The Catholic Church has done many wonderful things in Jesus name throughout these past two thousand years but they from past errors and recent Pastoral short Cummings have thrown many stains of blood upon Christs Cross.  The Catholic Church just like all the rest of the Religions I have studied all are lacking with the connection of the Beginning of time. For the purpose of not losing you because of length of article I will start off my next intended post with why I as a Christian do totally believe in the Big Bang Theory and why the Bible doesn’t disagree with that line of thought.

Iraqi Christians Facing Extinction After 1,400 Years Forgive ISIS of Genocide ‘In the Name of Christ’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

Iraqi Christians Facing Extinction After 1,400 Years Forgive ISIS of Genocide ‘In the Name of Christ’

‘There Is No Future for Christians in the Middle East If Islam Doesn’t Change’
(PHOTO: REUTERS/SUHAIB SALEM)Iraqis attend the first Palm Sunday procession in the burnt out main church of the Christian city of Qaraqosh since Iraqi forces retook it from Islamic States militants, Iraq April 9, 2017.

Iraqi Christians are reaching out with forgiveness to the Islamic radicals who have murdered, tortured, and raped their communities, even as they face an existential struggle for survival.

Iraqi Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, who has been outspoken about the plight of Christians in his country, said believers “have endured persecution in patience and faith for 1,400 years,” but now face an “existential struggle” that could possibly be their last in Iraq.

Speaking at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. last week at an event hosted by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, the bishop noted that the Islamic State terror group displaced more than 125,000 Christians in the Nineveh region.

Warda said the attacks left Christians “without shelter, without refuge, without work, without properties, without monasteries, without the ability to participate in any of the things that give our lives dignity,” as reported by Catholic News Agency.

“So few of us are left, some estimate 200,000 Christians or less,” he said of the total number of Christians in the country, down from 1.5 million in 2003.

“While it is true that our numbers are small, the Apostles were much smaller.”

Still, the church leader said that Christians are open to forgiveness despite the horrors of the genocide they have suffered.

“We forgive those who murdered us, who tortured us, who raped us, who sought to destroy everything about us. We forgive them in the name of Christ,” Warda declared.

He added that Muslim leaders need to do more than simply clarify that IS does not represent their faith, but praised some nations, such as the United Arab Emirates, for offering genuine support to the victims of violence.

“Since the ISIS attack, they’ve been with us helping all — Catholics, Yazidis, Muslims,” the bishop explained.

“There is a fundamental crisis within Islam itself and if this crisis is not acknowledged, addressed and fixed then there can be no future for Christians in the Middle East,” he added.

“We’ve been hearing some courageous voices from Islamic leaders concerning the need of change and the need to address this issue openly. It should be encouraged.”

The decimated communities have seen hope in the opening of the new Catholic University of Erbil, which welcomes both Christian and Muslim students, offering degrees in economics, international law, English literature, and accounting, among others.

Nineveh Plains Christians were also able to celebrate the reconsecration of the first church since IS’ invasion in December, with the reopening of St. George’s Church in Telleskuf.

Others, such as Ashur Sargon Eskrya, president of the Assyrian Aid Society branch in Iraq, have said that despite the victories against IS and the liberation of Iraqi territories, Christians are facing their “biggest and greatest challenge” in returning to their homelands.

“Iraqi Christians (Assyrian,Chaldean) are indigenous peoples of the country, according to historical sources, and their future in Iraq depends of on international support and protection. Without protections, they will not be able to live in Iraq anymore,” Eskrya said in August 2017.

“It is critical time for the Christians of Iraq — ‘to be or not to be.’ The Christians of Iraq are facing their biggest and greatest challenge” in post-IS Iraq, he added.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

(Biblical Educational Poem) Babylon And The Great Whore

BABYLON AND THE GREAT WHORE

 

Do we seek what is Truth, or do we seek flowers

Comfort of the flesh does not equal what is Truth

That which is Truth raises condemnation by the world

Lie to the world and they will praise all that you do

The wicked lay in wait to adorn the evil with gold

 

Babylon does not lay in ruin in western Iraq as some believe

You are told that which is true yet you do not see or understand

Some think the Power Cities of today is Revelation’s meaning

Understand, the residence of Saint Peter, this is the wicked city

The Language of the Mediterranean, Babylon shall cease to be

 

The Great Whore resides within the sphere of this ancient city

Babylon’s Great Whore has spread her evil upon the seven lands

Saint Peter was never the Rock upon which this Witch was built

She has billed Herself as the Bride of Christ, yet She will not be

People, understand, Rome is the City, the Vatican rides the Beast

 

 

Former Pope Benedict XVI says he’s preparing for ‘Home’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Former Pope Benedict XVI says he’s preparing for ‘Home’

(CNN)Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says he “is on a pilgrimage toward Home” in a rare public letter published in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The brief note in Italian apparently came after the paper asked the Pope Emeritus for a response to readers who were wondering how he was.
“I can only say,” Benedict wrote, “that in the slow waning of my physical forces, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage toward Home.”
“It is a great grace for me to be surrounded on this last part of the road, sometimes a bit tiring, by such love and goodness that I never could have imagined,” he wrote.
The 90-year-old former Pontiff has been living quietly at the Vatican since his surprise resignation as Pope in 2013.

sot vault pope benedict xvi first speech_00013817.jpg

Here’s the full text of Benedict’s letter:
“I was moved by the many readers of your newspaper who desire to know how I am spending this last period of my life. I can only say that in the slow waning of my physical forces, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage towards Home. It is a great grace for me to be surrounded, on this last part of the road, sometimes a bit tiring, by such love and goodness that I never could have imagined. In this sense, I consider the question of your readers as an accompaniment. I can only thank them and assure you all of my prayers.”

Super Bowl: Eagles Coach Praises Jesus, Nick Foles Gives Glory to God

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

Super Bowl: Eagles Coach Praises Jesus, Nick Foles Gives Glory to God

(PHOTO: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)Philadelphia Eagles Nick Foles celebrates with Jason Kelce after winning Super Bowl LII.

Doug Pederson, the head coach of freshly crowned Super Bowl LII champions the Philadelphia Eagles, gave glory to God in his reaction to the historic victory.

“I can only give the praise to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity. And I’m going to tell you something. I’ve got the best players in the world, and it’s a resilient group,” Pederson said in a post-game interview, according to Philly.com on Sunday.

“I love this coaching staff. Mr. [Jeffrey] Lurie, the owner. And not only do we have the best fans in the world, we now have the best team in the world. Thank you guys.”

The Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots marked their first-ever Super Bowl title at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, having previously lost title games in 1981 and 2005.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, saw God’s hand in his path to the final, commentators who spoke with him said.

Tony Dungy, former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and of the Indianapolis Colts, said in a post-game interview, according to NBC Sports:

“Nick Foles told me last week in Philadelphia he thought the Lord had him here for just this time. He knows this is Carson Wentz’s team, but he was ready to go tonight, and he played like a champion.”

Foles wept tears of joy when discussing the team’s victory, holding onto his daughter, Lily.

“All glory to God. Lily really likes this mic. She has no idea,” the MVP said.

Praising his Eagles teammates and coaching staff, he added: “To be here with my daughter, my wife, my teammates, this city … we’re very blessed.”

Foles has not kept his Christian faith a secret, describing himself on Twitter as a “believer in Jesus Christ, husband, father, son, brother.” The 29-year-old star athlete has said in the past that after his football career comes to an end, he is thinking of becoming a pastor.

“I want to be a pastor in a high school,” Foles said at a news conference ahead of the Super Bowl.

“It’s on my heart. I took a leap of faith last year and signed up to take classes at seminary. I wanted to continue to learn and challenge my faith. It’s a challenge because you are writing papers that are biblically correct. You want to impact people’s hearts,” he said.

Foles explained that high school is a very challenging time for young men and young women.

“So much temptation in this world, so much going on with social media and the internet that you want to talk to them and address it, and share all the weaknesses I have because I’ve fallen many times,” he stated.

“It’s something I want to do. I can’t play football forever. I’ve been blessed with an amazing platform and it’s just a door God has opened, but I still have a lot of school left and a long journey.”

Others, such as Eagles’ punter Donnie Jones, also placed their faith in God in the run-up to the major event.

“[I] always know that He’s going to be there, He’s going to take care of you,” Jones, who attended a Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, said of God.

“That’s kind of been the way of my career. I’ve moved around with five teams. When I didn’t know things were going to work out, He always put me in the right spot. You’ve got to have faith, believe,” he added, according to The Catholic Spirit.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

How the Vatican changed its position to China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘CHINA SPEAKERS BUREAU’ AND THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

How the Vatican changed its position to China – Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson

The Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican has shocked its communities in China by asking two “underground” bishops by complying to the country’s rulers. Journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, tries to make sense out of the move for the New York Times.

Ian Johnson:

In a statement released on Monday, the former bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, confirmed the broad outlines of the Vatican’s recent efforts, writing that he traveled to Rome this month to personally deliver to the pope a letter from an underground bishop who had refused to resign.

The letter came from Bishop Zhuang Jianjian of the southern Chinese city of Shantou, an 88-year-old who had been secretly ordained in 2006 with Vatican approval.

In December, Bishop Zhuang was escorted by government officials to Beijing, where he was taken to the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse to meet a papal delegation believed to have been headed by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, who leads the Vatican’s China negotiating team…

In his statement on Monday, Cardinal Zen said that when he delivered Bishop Zhuang’s letter to the pope, the pontiff expressed sympathy for the underground bishops, telling the cardinal that his negotiators should not “create another Mindszenty case,” a reference to a pro-democracy bishop in Hungary who was forced out of his country in 1956 and replaced with a person acceptable to the government.

Cardinal Zen wrote that he had been heartened by the words. “I was there in the presence of the Holy Father representing my suffering brothers in China,” he said. “His words should be rightly understood as of consolation and encouragement more for them than for me.”

The Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, the editor of Asianews.it, said the developments showed that Vatican negotiators were prepared to give the Chinese government “carte blanche, and accept all requests and pose no opposition on questions that affect the church in China.”

But Father Cervellera said the pope’s reported comments to Cardinal Zen may have signaled that he was not entirely in agreement with his negotiators.

People following the issue said that the highly unusual series of events showed how badly the Vatican wanted a deal.

“The fact that both sides can carry on the negotiation till now shows that the Vatican must consider this a rare opportunity,” said Wang Meixiu, a researcher on Chinese Catholicism at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

Dr. Chen (Dr. Chen Tsung-ming, research director at the Ferdinand Verbiest Institute) in Belgium said that one reason for the Vatican’s eagerness was a sense that the faith had been growing relatively slowly compared with other religions in China. While the number of Protestants has grown from one million in 1949 to at least 50 million today, the number of Catholics has largely tracked population growth, increasing from three million in that period to at most 12 million today, in part because of the schism in the Chinese Catholic Church.

The pope’s background as a priest in the Society of Jesus may also play a role, Dr. Chen said. Jesuits arrived in China more than 400 years ago, establishing a permanent presence for the church on the mainland after several failed efforts in earlier centuries. But they did so by being extremely flexible and conforming to local norms — a point that may be informing the pope’s negotiating approach.

“He has a sense of mission,” Dr. Chen said. “There’s a historic responsibility.”

More details in the New York Times.

Ian Johnson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

Are you looking for more experts on cultural change at the China Speakers Bureau. Do check out this list.