Vatican and Beijing near deal on appointment of bishops, Hong Kong cardinal says

(SCMP) Beijing and the Vatican have reached an initial consensus over the appointment of bishops on the mainland, removing a key ­obstacle to the normalization of ties, Cardinal John Tong Hon said.

The head of Hong Kong’s Catholic Church said the pope would remain the final authority in appointing mainland bishops. If a deal was finalized, the role of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic ­Association – the sole state-backed Catholic body on the mainland – would change significantly, he said.

Tong, writing in the Sunday Examiner weekly, also sought to address criticism the Vatican should proceed cautiously in ­improving ties with a state that limits religious freedom, saying such concerns should not stand in the way of their relationship.

Beijing and Vatican broke off diplomatic ties in 1951, creating a schism ­between mainland Catholics who acknowledged the pope’s spiritual authority and those who were members of state-approved churches. [More]


South China Morning Post