News of the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has made its way to China, where relations between the government-sanctioned Catholic Church and the Vatican have long been strained. According to a post by the New York Times' Didi Kirsten Tatlow, the initial reaction has been muted and sympathetic:
One priest’s reaction was accepting — even approving.
“I’m open-minded. You can retire as Pope,” said Father Yan, in a telephone interview from a Chinese province. (He can only be identified by his last name since speaking out about Roman Catholicism is politically sensitive in China.)
“When God makes us old, he doesn’t want us to work,” Father Yan said.
“People haven’t really talked about it here. It’s a sensitive issue because of relations, but it won’t impact on relations. The state church will accept it. You change a Pope and things go on for the state church,” he said. “But I think it’s very good to retire. It’s O.K. He’s old.”