WEDNESDAY
February 16, 2000
volume 11, no. 33
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

TAIWAN OFFICIAL SAYS CHINA-VATICAN TIES UNLIKELY

    TAIPEI (CWNews.com) - Taiwan's Foreign Minister said today that fundamental differences between Communist China and the Vatican make prospects of formal diplomatic relations between the two unlikely.

    Chen Chien-jen was responding to questions from reporters from Hong Kong and Macao, two territories who are or will be returned to Beijing's control. "Both Beijing and the Vatican have maintained various links over the last 20 years, but the variance between the standpoints of the two sides will make it very difficult for them to reach a consensus," Chen said.

    The Holy See is one of the few countries to maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which China regards as a breakaway province, and China has made breaking those relations a key to any diplomatic agreement with the Vatican. The Communist government's strict control of religion is also a key sticking point.

    The Communist Chinese government requires Christians to worship only in state-controlled associations, including the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which eschews any connections to the Vatican or the Pope. Many Catholics worship in illegal, underground churches, following only bishops appointed by the Pope.

    Last Friday, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, announced that an "unofficial channel" had been opened. He had stressed that the channel did not establish official links, but will provide a mechanism through which both sides can "clarify their positions."

    "Of course the Vatican hopes it can care for Catholics around the world, including the 10 million odd in China, but whether or not they will compromise their principles to do so, we will just have to wait and see," said Chen. In regard to Taiwan's own ties with the Vatican, Chen said the relationship "has long been very good."

          

February 16, 2000
volume 11, no. 33
NEWS & VIEWS

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