Relaymedia

Vatican Announced Ties with China Not "Insurmountable"

The Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo announced Wednesday that diplomatic ties with China are not "insurmountable," but should be handled carefully.
( [email protected] ) Jun 24, 2005 09:02 AM EDT

The Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo announced Wednesday that diplomatic ties with China are not "insurmountable", but should be handled carefully.

In his return from an 11-day trip to Asia, not including China, Lajolo said that diplomatic relations with China is under examination. "In my view there aren't insurmountable difficulties. However, you have to move with care."

China has ordered the Catholics to sever relationships with the pope in 1951 and outlawed worship outside of officially sanctioned church. According to foreign experts, about 4 million do so while 12 million worshipped in underground churches.

Beijing has not allowed the appointment of bishop by Vatican calling it an interference in domestic affairs.

Since assuming papacy, Pope Benedict XVI immediately invited those without official ties with Vatican to reconcile, which Vatican diplomats said was aimed at China. Beijing responded immediately calling for Vatican to sever relationship with Taiwan, the self-governing island which China claims as its territory.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shanghai Bishop Aloysius Jin of the Shanghai Diocese that is part of the official Communist Party-recognized Catholic association said that the pope wants to establish relationship with China, yet "if both sides don't make some concessions, normalization won't come about immediately."

Trained by French Jesuits, Jin returned from Rome to his native Shanghai in 1951, two years after the communist revolution. Almost immediately, he was accused by the regime of being an "international spy" for the Vatican and detained along with hundreds of other priests.

In the years of imprisonment that followed, Jin said he concluded the communists had a solid grip on power and the only choice was to practice dialogue than confrontation with them.

Now at age 89, Jin believes that an agreement between Rome and Beijing on his successor would heal some of the division. Yet despite his achievements, many Catholics claim that Shanghai Diocese belongs to Joseph Fan Zhongliang, the recognized Shanghai bishop by the underground church. Currently Fan is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and has been kept in house arrest for the past five years.

Vatican spokesman had no immediate comment on the appointment.