With its 40 Biblical reading groups, choir, catechism, its faithful (typically members of the new bourgeoisie – professors, doctors, lawyers, students, and even Party members), Shouwang gains dozens of new converts each month. For the regime, it is the strongest symbol of the wave of religious conversion that has swept over the country of late. Urban, educated, disgusted by the “red” discourse served by the media, and fed up even with the cult of consumerism, the new, Christ-conscious Chinese upper class is on a moral collision course with a government that it perceives as soulless. (emphasis added)What the Catholic Church needs to give the Chinese people (and, frankly, I don't know that Benedict, for all his awesome strengths, is up for this; I just don't see it's his bag, although his mastery of Augustine could serve well) is to remind them of their God-given dignity, of the potential of the human person, of their potential, which can only be recognized if they possess the freedom to choose the good. John Paul II did this with the Poles and the Czechs, and this bled into other Eastern European countries. But most importantly, it caused the Poles to finally lift their eyes from their shoes to behold the dawning sun on the horizon. They could imagine a different future, and once they could imagine it, they dared to achieve it and succeeded. Both as a Polish bishop then archbishop and later as Pope, John Paul II helped keep alive the clandestine Church in Czechoslovakia, and this clandestine Church later played a key role in the subsequent Velvet Revolution.
We need another John Paul II or at least someone to bring the Chinese this compelling message in an idiom they can understand. Would simply translating George Weigel's masterful biographty of Bl. John Paul Witness to Hope do the trick? It certainly inspired me.
What do you think?