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]