- Title: China says willing to improve relationship with Vatican
- Date: 21st October 2016
- Summary: BEIJING, CHINA (OCTOBER 21, 2016) (REUTERS) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN HUA CHUNYING STANDING ON STAGE JOURNALIST TAKING NOTES (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN HUA CHUNYING SAYING: "China has sincerity to improve the relationship with the Vatican and has made unremitting effort for it. At present the channels for contact and dialogue between the two sides are unimpeded and effective. We are willing to work hard with the Vatican, meet each other halfway and conduct constructive dialogue to push for continuous new progress in the improvement of bilateral relationship." MEETING IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 5th November 2016 09:30
- Keywords: China Vatican Rome relationship improve ties
- Location: BEIJING, CHINA
- City: BEIJING, CHINA
- Country: China
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00154Y6N2D
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:China said on Friday (October 21) that it was willing to work together with the Vatican to improve ties as the two sides are expected to meet before the end of the month in Rome in an effort to finalise a deal on the ordination of bishops on the mainland.
The move aimed at ending a longstanding dispute, according to Catholic Church sources familiar with the negotiations.
The Church sources also told Reuters that China is preparing to ordain at least two new bishops before the end of the year and these appointments would have the blessing of the Vatican. A person with ties to the leadership in Beijing confirmed that these ordinations would go ahead.
"China has sincerity to improve the relationship with the Vatican and has made unremitting effort for it. At present the channels for contact and dialogue between the two sides are unimpeded and effective. We are willing to work hard with the Vatican, meet each other halfway and conduct constructive dialogue to push for continuous new progress in the improvement of bilateral relationship," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily briefing in Beijing.
For more than six decades, China's ruling Communist Party has strongly opposed Rome's right to ordain Chinese bishops in a bitter contest for authority over as many as 10 million Catholics on the mainland. Bishops, priests and lay Catholics loyal to Rome have faced persecution, which has sparked scepticism over the detente in some Catholic quarters.
In yet a further sign of progress, the Vatican has reached a decision to recognise at least four Chinese bishops who were appointed by Beijing without the consent of the Pope and so are considered illegitimate by the Holy See, according to Catholic Church sources and others briefed on the talks.
The decision follows a breakthrough meeting in mid-August in Beijing between the Vatican representatives to talks with China and several of these bishops.
For the Vatican, an agreement on the ordination of bishops is important because it would lessen the possibility of a formal split within the Catholic Church in China, which is divided between a community that follows the state-sanctioned Catholic hierarchy and an "underground" community that swears allegiance only to the pope in Rome. A deal on the ordination of bishops would help to unite these two communities, say Catholic Church and Vatican sources.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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