Home / International / Opinion Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Ties with Vatican
Adjust font size:

China Catholic Patriotic Association Vice-President Liu Bainian's widely quoted expression of eagerness to host a papal visit in Beijing left anxious decoders speculating on a change in stance on the Chinese part.

Liu's own clarification yesterday ruled that out.

Exactly as we could have anticipated, Liu added to and accentuated the same old preconditions to the country's yet-to-be-established diplomatic relations with the Vatican. The papal visit Liu had envisaged will not happen until the Vatican officially retracts its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan and commits to non-interference in Chinese affairs.

There is no room for compromise on the question of Taiwan. No country should expect normal ties with the People's Republic while maintaining "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan, which is a part of China under international law.

But this appears to be the easier part if the Vatican truly wants to befriend China.

Until very recently, the Roman Catholic Church has displayed strong aspirations to get its fingers into the inner workings of the Chinese Catholic community. It criticized the latter's selection and ordination of bishops without Vatican involvement and requested the suspension of such independent practice.

We see no ground for such intervention. There are no diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican. There is no agreement between them on bishop selection and ordination.
In spite of their opposition to external interference, Chinese authorities have expressed a willingness to conduct "constructive dialogue" with the Vatican on certain issues, including the appointment of bishops. Their advance notice to the latter about recent bishop selections and ordinations in some Catholic dioceses was a show of sincerity. It conveyed the important message that the government is not anti-Catholic, or anti-Vatican.

Instead, the atheist Communist Party of China has found a new interest in the pacifist and cohesive potential of religions. Its milestone document on "harmonious society" has a specific line calling to "exploit the positive functions of religions in promoting social harmony".

The Vatican might just take advantage of that.

Liu's hope to play host to the Pope is not impossible, should the Chinese side see the kind of goodwill it has been awaiting from the Vatican.

(China Daily July 26, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- China Willing to Improve Ties with Vatican
- Vatican Urged to Initiate Better Ties: FM
- Vatican's Criticisms 'Unreasonable,' Says China
- FM: China Proposes Revisal to UN Human Rights Rules
- Vatican Urged to Act to Improve Ties
- Terms Set for Normal Ties with Vatican
Most Viewed >>
> Korean Nuclear Talks
> Reconstruction of Iraq
> Middle East Peace Process
> Iran Nuclear Issue
> 6th SCO Summit Meeting
- China Development Gateway
- Foreign Ministry
- Network of East Asian Think-Tanks
- China-EU Association
- China-Africa Business Council
- China Foreign Affairs University
- University of International Relations
- Institute of World Economics & Politics
- Institute of Russian, East European & Central Asian Studies
- Institute of West Asian & African Studies
- Institute of Latin American Studies
- Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies
- Institute of Japanese Studies