FROM A ROME CORRESPONDENT
AWORKING committee has been established in Rome with the aim of developing two forms of "remote preparation" for an eventual return of Catholic missionaries to China.
One form will he an editorial board to select translations of hooks for exposition of Christian theology and morality for the Chinese people, both on the mainland and for those Chinese who are spread around Asia.
The second form will he to prepare a group of priests, Religious and lay scholars to become experts in Chinese studies. As many as possible would he themselves Chinese. Religious orders will be asked to set aside a few members for "long-time preparation."
HONG KONG STUDY Announcing this, Fr. Benjamin Tonna, secretary of the Documentation and Study Service (SEDOS), set up in 1966 to assist Religious congregation of men and women with missionary responsibilities, said Catholic missionaries in
Hong Kong had been studying the problem for some time, A group of 30 representatives of Religious orders has been meeting in Rome since the beginning of this year, under the sponsorship of SEDOS, with special attention to the problem of the Church in China and how it can he helped.
It has agreed that "Christian Churches cannot disregard a country that contains more than a quarter of the human race, however long they must wait until missionary activity again becomes possible in that country."
NOT ENOUGH THINKING' Fr. -Donna said it had become the conviction of many missionaries and others who had worked in China that not enough "thinking and rethinking" had been done ahoin the Church in China.
Ile added: "When we arrive at a realisation of these preliminary projects we will !miss them on to the appropriate Church authorities for further action."
One Vatican source said the situation of the Church in China remained practically unchanged since the time of Bishop Walsh's imprisonment 12 years ago. "The Church, such as it is," he said, "remains isolated, and contact is practically nil."
But he added that there had been some reports coming out of mainland China in recent months that might indicate possible relaxations or political developments of a more open approach. There has been speculation that Pope Paul may shortly take a new initiative to try to improve relations between the Church and the Chinese authorities, possibly during his Far East tour later this year.