The shocking accusation by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò that Pope Francis helped cover up sexual misconduct — an accusation the Pope has so far declined to answer — as well as the litany of sexual abuse cases among clerics, force any Catholic to ask the question: how could this possibly take place in the moral institution that is the Roman Catholic Church? One possible — little known, but very important — answer dates back to the Bolsheviks and their Communist leader Joseph Stalin.
As North Korea prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary this weekend with a military parade and “Mass Games”, its population lives in perpetual war (the 1953 Korean war has never officially ended), under government surveillance and with a propaganda machine controlled by the national leader’s personality cult. It actually is not unlike George Orwell’s classic book 1984, John Choi* comments, a Christian human rights advocate who escaped from North Korea and now lives in the UK.
Two Catholic priests belonging to an underground church in China’s Gansu province have been dismissed after local authorities accused them of holding an illegal Christian summer camp for youngsters. According to a Catholic news agency, some 80 children, ages 10 to 14, were meeting for a week-long youth retreat when police raided the campsite in the northern city of Tianjin and shut it down. The organizers of the camp, Father Wang Yiqin, and Father Li Shidong, were immediately removed and sent back to their hometowns.
While there were many causes that brought the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, one of the decisive causes of the fall of the Iron Curtain was the chain of democratization revolutions that sprang up in Eastern Europe, which began in Poland in 1989. Arguably the man behind this movement was Pope John Paul II, the 264th Pope of the Catholic Church. But why is he a role model for Chinese democratization?