DAILY CATHOLIC     MONDAY     February 15, 1999     vol. 10, no. 31

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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VATICAN MAKES AN OVERTURE TO BEIJING

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In an apparent effort toward rapprochement with the government of China, Cardinal Angelo Sodano has emphasized that the papal nunciature in Taiwan is in fact the delegation to China, and that it could be transferred to Beijing immediately if Communist authorities allowed that move.

          Cardinal Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, raised the issue of China during discussions with Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema, who will soon be visiting Beijing. His statement appeared to be an indirect response to a public statement by the Chinese foreign minister, Zhang Qiye, who had said that the Holy See must break off diplomatic relations with Taiwan "if it wishes to improve relations with Beijing."

          Cardinal Sodano recalled that the papal nunciature in China was once stationed in Beijing, but moved to Nanking, then to Hong Kong, and finally to Taipei as it was forced out by the Communists who took power in 1949. The delegation now stationed in Taiwan is therefore intended to represent the Holy See to all of China, he concluded, and it would not be necessary to break off relations with Taiwan in order to move the nunciature back to Beijing.

          The informal diplomatic exchanges between the Holy See and Beijing come at a time when the Vatican clearly hopes to improve relations with the Chinese government, and thus to ease the plight of the loyal Catholics who now worship in the underground Catholic Church. The Chinese government authorizes Catholics to worship only in the state-controlled Patriotic Catholic Church, which rejects ties with Rome.

          Relations between Rome and Beijing could be newly tested in the near future, because Hong Kong has been suggested as one potential site that Pope John Paul II might visit in order to promulgate the apostolic exhortation concluding the work of the Asian Synod.


Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

February 15, 1999       volume 10, no. 31
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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