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Vatican breaks its silence on China

HONG KONG (SE): The Vatican has broken its silence on two much discussed topics amongst Catholics in China and in the international media; the convening of the Ninth Congress of Catholic Representatives, which was slated to take place in Beijing from December 26 to 29, and the presence of an illicitly ordained bishop at two ordinations, one in Chengdu and the other in Xichang on November 30 and December 2.

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Guarded pessimism on Sino-Vatican talks

HONG KONG (SE): Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun expressed guarded pessimism over the negotiations currently being carried on between the Vatican and Beijing at an afternoon gathering at St. Vincent’s Chapel in Wong Tai Sin organised by the Justice and Peace Commission on November 13.

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Disagreement or disloyalty?

HONG KONG (SE): Human Rights Watch has waded into the discussion over the on-going negotiations between the Vatican and Beijing, cautioning the Vatican not to make any agreement before it sees convincing evidence of religious freedom across the Middle Kingdom.

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Pope’s gift from China

ROME (SE): The gift from China that Pope Francis spoke of with journalists during his return flight to Rome from Baku in Azerbaijan on October 2 is a silk print drape inscribed with ideogrammes from the historical Christian Stele of Xi’an.

It depicts the long narrative inscribed on the famous stele, which is also referred to as the Nestorian Stele, which dates back to 781 during the Tang Dynasty, and documents the first 150 years of the presence of Nestorian Christians in the Middle Kingdom.

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Chinese bishop meets with pope

HONG KONG (UCAN): Pope Francis met with Bishop Joseph Xu Honggen from mainland China during a public audience at St. Peter’s Square on October 5 in the first public meeting between a pope and a bishop resident in China since the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949.

Photographs published by L’Osservatore Romano show the bishop kissing the pope’s ring, chatting with him one-on-one and the two waving to the camera and the crowds together. 

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Pope receives gift from Xi Jinping

HONG KONG (SE): “And the Chinese president sent me a gift. They are good relations,” Pope Francis told an inflight media conference on his way back to Rome from Georgia and Azerbaijan on October 2.

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What’s in the Vatican negotiations for China?

HONG KONG (SE): The ongoing negotiations between the Vatican and Beijing over finding mutually acceptable ways in the contentious area of appointing bishops in China and harmonising relations between the official and unofficial Church communities have attracted great interest in the Church both in and outside China, with at least one forum held in Hong Kong on September 25 calling for more transparency from the two tight-lipped bodies.

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Can a closed window let in fresh air?

HONG KONG (SE): A forum at St. Patrick’s parish in Lok Fu on September 25 to discuss the ongoing negotiations between the Vatican and Beijing wondered if it is realistic to expect a closed window to let in fresh air.

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Sticky politics around bishop’s funeral

WENZHOU (SE): While many more than the limited number the government was willing to allow to attend the funeral of the late Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang, from Wenzhou in Zhejiang province of China, turned up at the church on September 13 for his requiem Mass and at his home village of Ma Qiao for the burial of his ashes, the day was overshadowed by controversy over the absence of the new bishop of the diocese, Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin.

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Vatican walks a diplomatic tightrope

HONG KONG (SE): A talk given by the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, in the Italian town of Pordenone on August 27 was described by Francesco Sisci, from Renmin University in Beijing, as a hint to how much the Vatican is prepared to suffer in order to achieve peace and establish a more workable relationship with China.

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