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IN FRATERNAM MEAM
Saturday, June 25, 2005
VATICAN, CHINA MOVE TOWARD HEALING DECADESLONG WOUNDS
SHANGHAI, China -- He's been called a counterfeti cleric, a usurper who betrayed the Catholic Church while others languised because of their loyalty to the pope.

Shanghai Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian's 27 years in prison and labor camps have done little to ease the bitterness of supporters of China's underground church. Nor has more than a decade of hard work spent rebuilding the Shanghai Diocese through the official Communist Party recognized Catholic association.

Now at age 89, Jin says a tacit agreement between Rome and Beijing on his successor may help heal some of the division -- although he doubts the two sies will be reconciled soon.

Right to appoint bishops.

"The pope in Rome wanted to establosh diplomatic relations with other countries, including China," Jin said this month.

"If both sides don't make some concessions, normalization won't come about immediately," he said.

China ordered Catholics to severe ties with the pope in 1951 and emands that they worship only in the officially sanctioned church. About 4 million do so, while foreign experts says up to 12 million more worhsip in the undergraound church.

Beijing rejects the pope's right to appoint bishops, as he dies around the world, calling that interference in its domestic affairs.

Reviving hopes for reconcilation after assuming the papacy in April, Pope Benedict XVI quicly invited countries wihtout official ties to the Vatican to work on forming them, remarks a Vatican diplomati said were aimed at China.

Beijing responded by demanding the Vatican first end relations with Taiwan, the self governing island that China claims as its territory.

Echoing comments by Vatican officials, Jin said Rome was ready to drop Taiwan -- but not before China showed it would respect its authority over religious matters.

Despite Jin's achievements, many Catholics say the Shanghai Diocese rightly belongs to another man, Joseph Fan Zhongliang, recognized as Shanghai bishop by the undergraound church.

Jin said Rome and Beijing have quietly agreed to close the schism in teh Shanghai Diocese by acceding tot he appointment of Joseph Xing Wenzhi as auxilliary bisop on June 28. The Vatican had no comment.

(abstracted from the Associated Press by: Christopher Bodeen)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:35 AM  
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