Vatican, China will ‘definitely’ establish ties

Associated Press

Hong Kong, June 26:

A Chinese Catholic official said Beijing and the Vatican will definitely establish ties, but the process will take a long time, a Hong Kong newspaper reported today.

Liu Bonian — identified as an official at the state-approved Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association — praised a recent comment by Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo that difficulties preventing official ties are not “insurmountable,” the Wen Wei Po newspaper reported.

Liu said Lajolo’s comments showed the Vatican was working hard to forge official links with China under the new pope, Pope Benedict XVI, who assumed his position in April, according to Wen Wei Po.

China doesn’t recognise the Holy See and requires followers to worship at state-sanctioned churches.

The communist Chinese government wants the Vatican to drop its recognition of Taiwan.

Beijing has also expressed reservations about the pope’s power to appoint bishops — a prerogative it considers an interference in domestic affairs. The Vatican is believed to be willing to drop Taiwan, but the pope’s appointment powers appear to remain a stumbling block. Liu said one solution would be to allow the Holy See to nominate bishops and let Beijing formally appoint them, Wen Wei Po reported. Liu said no matter how the bishops are picked they must be “patriotic” — a code word for loyalists to the communist regime.