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China and Vatican "at crossroads"

The Bishop of Hong Kong has accused the Beijing government, and the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association, of blocking efforts to improve relations between China and the Holy See.

Catholic World News reports that Bishop Joseph Zen is arguing that the main obstacle to establishing diplomatic relations between Rome and Beijing is the Communist government's insistence on controlling the nomination of bishops.

The bishop argues that Beijing must drop that demand, or diplomatic progress will be impossible.

He says: "Calling the appointment of bishops by the Pope an 'interference in internal affairs of China' is obviously a misunderstanding."

Since the death of Pope John Paul II, rumors have circulated around Italy that the Vatican is prepared to break off diplomatic relations with Taiwan, in order to advance ties with Beijing. But in his Sunday Examiner article, Bishop Zen notes that this is not a new development; the Holy See-- through Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State-- announced a willingness to move the apostolic nuncio from Taipei to Beijing more than 5 years ago.

China balks at Vatican ties, Hong King bishop says (Catholic World News 11/4/05)

Sunday Examiner
China, Catholic Church at a crossroads (Asia Times)

12 Apr 2005