A new spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Relations has reiterated the Communist government’s unacceptable terms for re-establishing diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
According to a report by the state-run news agency, Xinhua, ministry spokesman Oin Gang said, “We sincerely hope to improve relations with the Vatican and we hope the Holy See will contribute to this process.”
In a clear message to the Vatican, which is preparing to publish a letter from Pope Benedict XVI to the 12 million Catholics in China—most of whom practice their faith in secret—Gang said, “China hopes the Vatican can appropriately see the fact that the Chinese enjoy religious freedom and that there have been a number of advances for Catholics in China.”
The statements are a warning to the Vatican to omit any reference to persecution, harassment or even death suffered by bishops and priests who do not adhere to the official “patriotic church” created and controlled by the Communist party.
Gang reiterated the two conditions demanded by the Chinese government for re-establishing diplomatic ties: “The Vatican should break diplomatic relations with Taiwanese authorities and should not interfere in the internal affairs of China in the name of religion.” This last demand is a euphemism that means the Chinese governments intends to name Catholic bishops, a right the Pope cannot renounce.
China broke ties with the Holy See in 1951 after the rise to power of the Communist regime of Mao Tse Tung.