“Our opinion is
that the time is ripe: we trust in the spirit of openness of the
supreme authorities of the People’s Republic of China, who cannot
ignore the expectations of their people as well as the signs of the
times,” the archbishop said.
Archbishop Lajolo noted that diplomatic relations are “bilateral, and
therefore the Holy See cannot move without the consensus of the
government of Beijing.” He said that contact up to now has been
“informal, with officials at high and low levels. We have told
everyone clearly what we are asking for, what we can concede and what
we cannot give up.”
Lajolo said the issue of religious freedom, specifically the Holy See’s
ability to independently name bishops, is at the heart of the
differences with Beijing.
China has set
the Vatican’s severing of ties with Taiwan and the acceptance of the
Chinese government’s authority to name bishops as conditions for
establishing diplomatic relations. For the first time Archbishop
Lajolo made it known the Vatican explicitly rejects that
condition. “Faithfulness to the Successor of Peter, who Christ
himself established as the Church’s guide, is at risk,” he warned.
“You cannot be Catholic if you are not in communion with the Pope,” the archbishop stated.
an interview with Hong Kong’s I-Cable TV, the Vatican’s Secretary for
Foreign Relations, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, said that, with certain
conditions, the time is ripe for addressing the issue of relations
between the Vatican and Communist China.