Chinese paper says diplomatic ties with Vatican inevitable

Source: Reuters

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – China and the Vatican will establish formal diplomatic relations sooner or later because Pope Francis has the “wisdom” to resolve problems between the two sides, a state-run Chinese newspaper said on Tuesday, amid increasing controversy over the issue.

Pope Francis leads a mass for priests and nuns in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis leads a mass for priests and nuns in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican February 2, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis leads a mass for priests and nuns in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican February 2, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

A framework accord between the Vatican and China on the appointment of bishops is ready and could be signed in a few months in what would be an historic breakthrough in relations, a senior Vatican source said last week.

But on Monday, Cardinal Joseph Zen, 86, the outspoken former bishop of Hong Kong said the Vatican is selling out China’s underground Catholics and “forcing them into a bird cage,” raising the ante in his recent criticisms which had already sparked a rebuke from the Vatican.

An even partial resolution of the thorny issue of who gets to appoint bishops could open the way for a resumption of diplomatic relations nearly 70 years after they were cut during the Communist takeover of China, when missionaries were expelled from the country.

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