Martedì, 25 Settembre 2018
BEIJING

China congratulates new pope, seeks "flexible" approach

English
© ANSA

Beijing, March 14 - China on Thursday congratulated
new Pope Francis on his election and asked that the new leader
of the Catholic church take a "flexible and pragmatic" approach
in his relations with Beijing.
"We congratulate cardinal Bergoglio for his election," Hua
Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said Thursday, adding
that the Chinese government "hopes (Pope Francis) will assume a
flexible and pragmatic approach to improve relations between
China and the Vatican."
China, which has some six million Catholics, has a testy
relationship with the Vatican and tries to regulate the church's
activities in the country through two official bodies, the
Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Bishops
Conference.
Millions are believed to worship outside these two official
bodies.
The two states have no diplomatic ties and the Chinese
Communist Party forced Chinese Catholics to sever ties to the
Vatican in the 1950s.
Relations between China and the Vatican took a turn for the
worse in 2006, when the Chinese government began unilaterally
appointing accommodating bishops without consulting the Vatican,
as it had done previously.
On Thursday, the foreign ministry spokeswoman added that
the Chinese government is "sincere" in its desire to have good
relations with the Holy See, but that it must not "interfere in
the internal affairs of China on the pretext of religion."
News of the pope's election in China, which took place deep
in the night in the country, was first announced by the official
news agency Xinhua.

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