For now, Pope Francis says he is ready to go to China to pursue dialogue. A source in the Kazakh Parliament told CNA that “theoretically,” it was possible that the pope and the president could meet in Kazakhstan.
Such a meeting would have been unprecedented, though Reuters reported on Sept. 15 that the pope had made his “willingness” to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan known.
The Reuters report was confirmed to CNA by other sources, citing a series of contacts with the Chinese embassy in Italy, historically a channel of communications between the Holy See in China and the entourage of Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan.
While Xi appears to have snubbed the pope, and no encounter took place, the pope’s approach did not go unnoticed in China. Mao Ning, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Beijing, according to Il Messaggero, praised the “benevolence and cordiality” of Pope Francis’ words.
The spokeswoman also said “China and the Vatican maintain…