I love the The Holy Father's Missionary Intention for June 2010: “That the Churches in Asia, which constitute a 'little flock' among non-Christian populations, may know how to communicate the Gospel and give joyful witness to their adherence to Christ.”
But I find the accompanying commentary (which I know the Pope did not write but was provided for him by ?) frustrating.
.“Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – The situation of Catholics in Asia is difficult. They are a minority living surrounded by millions of followers of other religions or people who claim not to profess any religion. From a human standpoint, it seems that there is nothing to be done to be able to evangelize the continent, given the disproportionate number of Catholics and the more than a billion people who do not know Christ in these lands. “
You would say that, of course, if the fact that non-Catholic Christianity wasn’t growing faster in China that anywhere else is the world hadn’t been marveled about in the media for the past 15 years. By the Economist, the Pew Foundation, etc.
If there weren’t more practicing Christians in China than Communist Party members. If there probably weren’t more practicing Christians in China than in any other country in the world. If 1 in 10 Chinese (about 130 million) wasn’t a Christian. And if this all hadn’t happened within living memory and hadn’t been shouted from the rooftops.
Remember “Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Changing the Global Balance of Power” by David Aikman, the former Beijing bureau chief for Time? It came out in 2003. His thesis was that China could be 1/3 Christian in 30 years and that “What is happening in China is what happened to the Roman Empire nearly two millennia ago-a great power transforming itself.”
Even if the Christianity that is transforming China is 94/% non-Catholic and 77% “unregistered”, it still changes the situation dramatically for Catholics. Why can we not acknowledge that? Instead, what we hear in formal statements is this perpetual meme that Christianity is not growing in Asia (and therefore, cannot be expected to grow) we’re so tiny and beleaguered, oh woe is me.
When, the small bit of yeast is, in fact, showing dramatic signs of leavening all the dough and the “power from on high”, the Holy Spirit, is manifesting his presence in remarkable ways.
A Te Deum would be more appropriate.