CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 12 August 2017

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Vatican admits talks with Beijing rocky

VATICAN (UCAN): While the ongoing talks between the Holy See and Beijing have been described by commentators as hitting a rocky patch, the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, said on August 2 that discussion over the appointment of bishops has presented new challenges.
 
Cardinal Parolin explained that as tensions continue to mount since the latest round of clandestine talks between the two sides in June, he is wondering if what he terms the Far East has its own particular way of dialoguing with the Catholic Church that is not known to others.
 
He told Il Sole 24 Ore on July 27, “Certainly, compared with past times, new challenges have cropped up that call for unprecedented and creative responses, but in the end, the aim of the Church has always been the same and it is by nature pastoral: bring God to man and man to God.”
 
The Vatican diplomat said, “Specifically, the Catholic Church asks that people are guaranteed the right to freely profess their faith for the benefit of everyone and for harmony in society. Catholics wish to live their faith serenely in their respective countries like good citizens, working toward the positive development of the national community.”
 
The cardinal added, “In this framework, I think that the path of dialogue taken up by the governments of some countries of the region should be welcomed, including China.”
 
Cardinal Parolin was the chief negotiator in an earlier round of talks held in the first decade of the 21st century, which floundered when Pope Benedict XVI called a halt to them in 2009.
 
“Dialogue in itself is already a positive fact, which opens towards encounter and helps confidence to grow. We face it in a spirit of healthy realism, knowing well that the destiny of humanity is, above all, in the hands of God,” the Vatican man-in-the-middle said.
 
Chinese observers believe the latest round of talks that ended on June 28 did not go smoothly, saying that there was no open gesture coming from either side.
 
On June 26, the Vatican issued a statement saying it was saddened with the situation of the disappearance of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin, from Wenzhou.
 
The Foreign Ministry in Beijing issued a rebuke claiming the Vatican statement was not a reasonable and correct thing to do and that China opposed any country using so-called individual cases to interfere in its internal affairs.
 
“The Vatican statement and remarks by Chinese officials show tension between both sides. Something must have happened before or during the secret talks that outsiders do not know of yet,” a Catholic commentator, who asked not to be named, remarked.
 
“The timing indicates that the latest round of negotiations was not as smooth as expected,” he added.

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