Vatican Pursues Unity in China

A Vatican commission asked Chinese bishops and China’s state authorities to engage in “respectful dialogue” and expressed the hope that bishops and priests deprived of freedom would be allowed to resume their pastoral ministry. In a statement on March 25, commission members unanimously asked that all bishops in China work toward an increase in unity, “therefore avoiding gestures [like sacramental celebrations, bishops’ ordinations and participation in meetings] that would contradict communion with the pope...and create problems, sometimes distressing, in the heart of the respective church communities.” The commission, started by Pope Benedict in 2007, has worked to promote reconciliation between Catholic communities that have registered with the Chinese authorities and the so-called underground Catholic communities that have practiced the faith in a more clandestine fashion, professing full loyalty to the pope.

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