CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 March 2018

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Talk of accord on bishops does not equate to diplomatic ties

Hong Kong (UCAN): Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei, Taiwan, does not believe an expected Vatican-China deal on appointing bishops will lead to the eventual establishment of diplomatic relations.
He said that establishment of diplomatic relations is hyped up once a year but never comes true. 
“The pope will not give up his flock in Taiwan and China,” he said.
Precious Blood Sister Beatrice Leung Kit-fun, visiting research professor at Taiwan Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, said that Taiwan is concerned about the Sino-Vatican agreement and that the country’s Foreign Ministry will pay close attention to the development.
However, she stressed there is still a long road ahead to establishing diplomatic relations. 
“If the issue of bishop appointments is resolved at this stage, other issues such as the Patriotic Association will have to be resolved,” she said .
Sister Leung, however, does not advocate any agreements under the current social and political conditions in China.
She noted that under the leadership of president, Xi Jinping’s, China has tightened its grip on religious freedom.
“That shows the country runs counter to religious freedom,” Sister Leung said, stressing, “Any agreement signed under such circumstances is contrary to what really happens in China. Signing an agreement is give and take, but now only the Vatican is giving.”
Archbishop Hung stressed that diplomatic relations must be built on similar values and told Taiwan’s Central News Agency that resolving the issue of bishop appointments, with an agreement expected as early as March, does not mean establishing diplomatic relations.
Sister Leung said many foreigners do not understand China.
“I have talked to Hong Kong leftists who said that China’s politics are like a wordless book, but the Holy See usually knows about China through files, which in many cases are translated into Chinese from Italian and lose their original meaning,” she said.
She said the European understanding of communism is very different from that of the Chinese people.
“Europeans regard the communist moderates, holding cups to talk about politics, allowing multi-party politics, and even members of a communist party having religious beliefs, but it is totally different in China, which is a one-party dictatorship,” Sister Leung said.
“That’s why (when) Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo recently said that China best reflects Catholic social doctrine, (it) shows a failure to understand China.”

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