Vatican Says Arrest is Obstacle to Dialogue

The recent arrest of a Chinese bishop and other instances of religious persecution in China are serious obstacles to dialogue, the Vatican has said. The arrest of 74-year-old Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding was "unfortunately not an isolated case: Other clergy are also deprived of their freedom or are subjected to undue pressure and restrictions in their pastoral activity," said the Vatican in a statement released on April 2 at the conclusion of the Vaticans Commission for the Catholic Church in China. The Holy See expressed its "deep sorrow upon hearing the news of the recent arrest" of Bishop Jia, adding that "situations of this type create obstacles to an atmosphere of dialogue with the competent authorities." Bishop Jia, who has not registered with the government, was taken by five police officers from his residence in Hebei province March 30, the same day the Vatican commission on China began its meeting. Pope Benedict established the commission in 2007 to study issues related to the Catholic Church in China.

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