China says hopes Vatican can see "reality" of religious freedom
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it hoped the Vatican could acknowledge the reality of religious freedom in the country, after the pope said Beijing was putting pressure on the faithful who want to remain loyal to the Vatican.
"We hope the Vatican can squarely face the reality of religious freedom in China and the continuous development of Chinese Catholics, and take concrete actions to create conditions for developing Sino-Vatican ties," ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news briefing.
Pope Benedict called on Wednesday for all Catholics to pray for the faithful in China, who are not allowed to recognise the pope's authority but forced to be members of a state-backed Church.
The pope has previously denounced restrictions on religious freedom in China and encouraged Catholics there to persevere.
China says it protects religious freedom, but does not recognise the authority of the pope and refuses to establish formal relations with the Vatican until the Holy See -- the Church's governing body -- severs ties with Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.
China's 8 to 12 million Catholics are divided between the state-sanctioned church that names bishops without the Vatican's approval and an underground church wary of government ties.
China forced several bishops and priests loyal to the pope to attend a meeting of the state-backed church last year, rankling the Vatican.
Last November, the Vatican condemned the ordination without papal permission of a Chinese bishop, calling it a "painful wound" hampering dialogue between the Holy See and Beijing.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Sabrina Mao, editing by Miral Fahmy)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- Hong Kong protests approach potential National Day flashpoint
- UPDATE 2-U.S. charges four with stealing $100 mln in software, data
- Kurds seize Iraq/Syria border post; Sunni tribe joins fight against Islamic State
- Amal Alamuddin earns high-fashion accolades as Clooney's bride
- Obama, Modi work to deepen improving U.S.-India ties
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters thronged the streets of Hong Kong early on Wednesday, ratcheting up pressure on the pro-Beijing government that has called the action illegal and vowed to press ahead with National Day celebrations. Full Article | Slideshow
- Divided Chinese eye Hong Kong protests with admiration, anger
- Taiwan says China risks hurting ties if it mishandles Hong Kong protests
- Britain tells China: Seek peace in Hong Kong and allow freedoms
- Hong Kong pro-democracy academics say face death threats, intimidation
- China facing growing U.S. pressure over Hong Kong protests
Kurds seize Iraq/Syria border post; Sunni tribe joins fight against Islamic State Full Article