China and the Vatican have reached consensus on the appointment of bishops, which will lead to the resolution of other outstanding problems, said Hong Kong Cardinal John Tong.
“From now on, there will be no more crisis of a division between the open and underground communities in the Church in China,” the cardinal said. “On the contrary, these two communities will gradually move toward reconciliation and communion on the aspects of law, pastoral care and relationships. The Church in China will work together to preach the gospel of Jesus on the soil of China.”
In a letter published on 9th February, Cardinal Tong noted that China and the Vatican have different interests, so they will prioritise remaining problems differently.
“The Chinese government is concerned with problems on the political level, while for the Holy See, the problems are on the religious and pastoral levels,” he said.
The Vatican and China, which severed diplomatic ties in 1951, have had on-again, off-again talks since the 1980s. Under Pope Francis, the two restarted a formal dialogue in 2014.
The dialogue has been examined from a political perspective, but Cardinal Tong said he wanted to offer a religious perspective. He first wrote of the dialogue last August and said he received much positive feedback.
Picture: A woman prays during Christmas Eve Mass in 2016 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing. China and the Vatican have reached consensus on the appointment of bishops, which will lead to the resolution of other outstanding problems, said Hong Kong Cardinal John Tong. (CNS photo/Wu Hong, EPA).