Pope tells Chinese Catholics to be ‘good citizens’ as he hosts mass in neighboring Mongolia
Pope Francis has urged Chinese Catholics to be “good citizens” as he celebrated mass in near-neighboring Mongolia during his three-nation tour of Asia. The Pope repeatedly called for peaceful cooperation between China and Mongolia, despite the two countries having had an often-rocky relationship. The Pope said that Chinese Catholics should bear witness to the Gospel by displaying a spirit of communion, respect, understanding and collaboration. He went on to encourage them to be “builders of peace”, to promote dialogue, justice and religious freedom in their home country. The Pope also said they should look outwardly, reaching out to others and being open to helping them — emphasising particularly the importance of showing solidarity towards migrants and those fleeing persecution. The Pope’s comments come at an especially sensitive time, as tensions between China and many of its neighbours have been strained due to the increased militarization of the South China Sea. China, along with the Vatican, does not recognize Mongolian independence, however, the Pope called for dialogue and insisted that he was visiting Mongolia in a spirit of peace. With the presence of the sick and elderly among the congregation, the Pope expressed his wish for Chinese Catholics to bear its experience of persecution and suffering in a spirit of love and care.