DAILY CATHOLIC     MONDAY     March 22, 1999     vol. 10, no. 56

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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CHINESE LEADER WILL NOT VISIT VATICAN

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Chinese leader Jiang Zemin will not meet with Pope John Paul II during his visit to Rome next week, nor does the Vatican expect any other meeting with Chinese government officials.

          Jiang Zemin will be in Rome from March 20 to 25, for meetings with leaders of the Italian government. But the Vatican press office has denied rumors, circulating in the Italian press, that the Chinese leader will also visit the Vatican.

          In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the Chinese president insisted that Beijing would not open diplomatic relations with the Holy See until the Vatican broke off relations with Taiwan, and promised not to interfere with "internal affairs" in China "under the pretext of religion."

          The Vatican has already indicated a willingness to move the papal nuncio out of Taiwan and into new headquarters in mainland China, if the Beijing government permits that move. However, the Holy See has also said that this move would not constitute a "break" in relations with Taiwan, and that the Vatican would maintain a representative there. That position was underlined in February, when the foreign minister of Taiwan visited Rome.

          The question of "interference" in Chinese internal politics is a more complicated one. The Beijing government currently insists that all Catholics must be subject to the "Patriotic Catholic Association," which denies any fealty to Rome. The Vatican, for its part, has insisted that diplomatic relations with Beijing will not be possible unless the Communist government recognizes the religious freedom of Catholics-- including the freedom to align themselves with the universal Church.


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.

March 22, 1999       volume 10, no. 56
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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