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The maze of Vatican-China talks

HONG KONG (SE): Following the information maze on clandestine negotiations between Beijing and the Vatican is a risky journey.

In the last week of January, while UCAN reported the ambassador from Taiwan to the Holy See, Matthew Lee, as saying relations appear stalled, the Milan-based Corriere della Sera said a Beijing delegation was actually on Vatican soil and had brokered an agreement on the appointment of bishops.

The Italian newspaper said on January 31 that it has been agreed that the pope may now identify and announce the names of bishops to fill vacancies in probably three dioceses in China from a list of acceptable names submitted by the government in Beijing.

A translation of the article by Vatican watcher, Gerard O’Connell, says, “For now, they let it be known at the Vatican, that it was agreed to resolve the vexed question regarding the appointment of bishops, known as the prerogative of the pope, to whom pastors owe obedience.”

It adds that the nodal point is not something simply to be tolerated as the lesser evil, but the first in a series of steps or openings that the most optimistic interpret as a process that will end in the formulation of diplomatic relations.

However, the article warns that such information is usually leaked to glean feedback from interested parties on important issues.

If the information is correct, it signals a paradigm shift in addressing the knotted dilemma of Chinese citizens showing loyalty to a foreign government, something which in the People’s Republic of China has always been completely out of the question.

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