During the inauguration of a new conference center at the Gregorian University in Rome, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, expressed his hope that difficulties between the Catholic Church and the Chinese government would soon be overcome. Alluding to China’s refusal to allow four bishops to attend the Synod of Bishops, the cardinal said the Holy See hopes “these tensions will end soon.”
“The bishops of the whole world gathered at the Synod were saddened at not being able to meet with their brothers from China, the four brother bishops invited by the Pope,” the cardinal stated. “Nevertheless, we hope that soon, just has the Pope has written, they can come to Rome and meet with us in a fraternal embrace,” the cardinal added.
“History moves on, and I think we will soon overcome these difficulties,” Cardinal Sodano continued. The Holy See “has always made know it is prepared to dialogue, to initiate contacts, to begin to explain its traditions.”
The cardinal also noted that “we must always insist on the concept that the Church is one, throughout the world, in all cultures, in all nations, and governments do not have the right to tell people how they must live their faith.”
Taiwan: diplomatic relations in jeopardy
On the other hand, the Minister of Foreign Relations in Taiwan, Mark Chen, acknowledged this Wednesday for the first time that diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the Vatican are “in jeopardy.”
According to Chen, the Taiwanese ambassador to the Holy See is following closely “the signs of a possible worsening of bilateral ties” with the only diplomatic ally of Taiwan in Europe.
In China, where an estimated 30 million Catholics live, the government has demanded that the Vatican break off ties with Taiwan before formal diplomatic relations between Rome and Beijing can be established.
This week, Senegal broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan and reestablished them with China, making it 25 the number of countries that recognize Taiwan.