Advocate of China-Vatican dialogue named Hong Kong bishop

181019_gma_wright_hpmain_16x9_608Source: Associated Press

BY Viloet Law

HONG KONG (AP) — In a move widely seen as kowtowing to Beijing, the Vatican appointed a retired China-friendly cardinal to head the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong on Monday, effectively blocking the succession of the highest-ranking serving bishop known to be critical of the Chinese government.

Cardinal John Tong will serve as the church’s interim administrator in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of more than 500,000 Catholics, after Bishop Michael Yeung died on Thursday.

At a time when the Holy See is eager for rapprochement with Beijing, Yeung’s natural successor, Bishop Joseph Ha, is widely seen as being too outspoken to be acceptable to China.

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