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Vatican offers olive branch to China
Vatican head seeks fruitful new dialogueDialogue is the catchword in Cardinal Filoni's firm but cordial letter
- ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
- October 26, 2012
Published in Italian, English and Chinese and titled Five years after the publication of Benedict XVIâs Letter to the Church in China, the 2,500-word message by Prefect Cardinal Fernando Filoni of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples carries a firm but cordial tone.
Its publication comes as the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party prepares to convene on November 8 and give birth to the fifth generation of its leadership.
Though âdialogueâ seems to be the catchword, appearing 21 times in the Chinese version of the text, the cardinalâs message remains firm on the basis of the Popeâs letter, which he says is predominantly religious in nature, and does not avoid mentioning the persecution faced by Chinese Catholics.
Cardinal Filoni, who headed the Holy See Study Mission in Hong Kong to research the life of the China Church from 1992-2001, highlighted âthree recent stumbling blocksâ that have hindered Sino-Vatican relations: the control of the state over the Church; the appointment of Chinese bishop candidates and the interference of illegitimate bishops in episcopal consecrations.
He also raised concern over the lack of religious freedom.
âConcretely, the situation remains serious. Some bishops and priests have been segregated and deprived of their liberties, as the case of Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai has clearly demonstrated,â he wrote.
The Italian prelate concluded his message by calling for a better understanding of the papal letter, a text in which Catholic doctrine, political vision and the common good are wedded, while adding that the Holy See âis waiting for a response.â
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Papal letter to China Church bears fruitÂ