The cathedral of St Francis in Xian, China. (Photo: Wiki Commons)

Catholics in China are following the Vatican conclave as closely as their brethren elsewhere. But being Catholic in China has its own unique challenges. The Communist authorities allow a government-supervised Church. But the Pope is not allowed to appoint bishops and cardinals, as he does pretty much everywhere else. So many Chinese Catholics belong to an underground church, even though that can land them in jail. The World's Beijing correspondent, Mary Kay Magistad, says the Chinese authorities like religion to the extent that faith can instill ethics and give citizens a moral compass. "But," she adds, "they don't want any parallel power structures."

Related Stories