2013-03-12       Two new leaders this week

By the end of this week, the world will have two new world leaders:
Xi Jinping will officially be the new President of China, and the Catholic Church will have a new pope.

China and the Catholic Church have a lot in common: they each have more than a billion members, both are run by a small group of mainly elderly men, both are plagued by corruption, neither has any real democracy, and both use a tight form of censorship to control information and criticism.

Many people in China and in the Church are hoping that the two new leaders will bring about much needed reform. But both leaders will find it difficult to work for reform unless there are fundamental structural changes in their systems of governance.

At the conclave beginning today to choose a new pope, there are two Chinese representatives: Cardinal John Tong of Hong Kong and Cardinal Luis Tagle from the Philippines. Cardinal Tagle's father is Filipino, but his mother is from China. If one of them becomes pope, I hope he can someday soon have a cup of tea with Xi Jinping!