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Vatican commission sees progress toward Chinese Church unity

March 25, 2010

The Vatican has issued a report on the March 22-24 meeting of a special commission on the Church in China, created by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. During their discussions in Rome, the commission members spoke about the obstacles to religious freedom and Church unity in China, and the need "to overcome the difficulties [the Church] faces in her relationship with civil society." The Vatican statement endorsed a "respectful and open dialogue between the Holy See and the government authorities" to address the serious Church-state conflicts that remain.

The commission saw distinct progress toward unity in the time since Pope Benedict issued his May 2007 to the Catholics of China. The group applauded the Chinese bishops who have proclaimed their loyalty to the universal Church and the pastors who have encouraged mutual reconciliation among the members of the "official" and "underground" Catholic communities. The statement continued:

At the same time, the participants expressed the unanimous hope that all bishops in China way become increasingly committed to favoring the growth of unity, faith and life among all Catholics, avoiding gestures (such as, for example, sacramental celebrations, episcopal ordinations and participation in meetings) that run counter to communion with the Pope who appointed them pastors…


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