Once called 'God's Rottweiler' because of his hardline doctrinal stance as a cardinal responsible for upholding the Catholic faith, Pope Benedict XVI has opted for quiet diplomacy in the church's efforts to heal its breach with Beijing. Now he has confounded his reputation again in trying to shepherd Christians back into the church's fold across a centuries-old divide. In bending over backwards to make it easier for disaffected Anglican church congregations - and their married priests - to convert to Catholicism, the Vatican is being anything but dogmatic. On the other hand, the offer is, of course, a transparent attempt to exploit divisions among Anglicans over the appointment as bishops of women and openly gay clergy. The aim is to attract conservative practising Christians as active new members of the Catholic Church. The offer streamlines a case-by-case conversion process and has been sweetened with promises to preserve elements of Anglican traditions such as prayer books and hymns. But the accommodating approach is not without risks on both sides. Such an open exercise in conversion could jeopardise dialogue between the two churches. Indeed, there are fears some Anglicans will take offence. Conservative Anglican leaders expect only a trickle of conversions at first. But one says that, unless traditionalists are allowed to disregard a recent decision allowing women bishops, it could turn into a flood. A cardinal involved in the new policy warns that accepting large numbers of married Anglican priests while forbidding Catholic priests to marry could pose problems. The Pope is yet to formally approve the document setting out the change. That details have been officially leaked before rumours gather momentum shows that it is sensitive. None of this resonates loudly in Hong Kong's multicultural society. However, it is to be hoped the Vatican's preference for quiet diplomacy and spirit of tolerance are not isolated instances. There is a need for more of it on both sides if there is to be progress towards unifying China's Catholics in the face of obstacles and lack of trust.