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Hong Kong bishop invitations head of China’s state-backed church Lalrp

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BEIJING — Hong Kong’s Roman Catholic bishop on Friday mentioned he had invited a frontrunner of the Communist Occasion-controlled group for Catholics in mainland China to go to his metropolis, in a high-profile gesture geared toward bettering strained Vatican relations with Beijing.

Bishop Stephen Chow mentioned Joseph Li, who is also archbishop of Beijing in China’s state-recognized church hierarchy, gave the impression to be “fairly constructive” in regards to the invitation, in line with public broadcaster RTHK. The report gave no indication when Li would possibly go to.

Chow introduced the invitation on the final day of a five-day journey to Beijing, the primary by a bishop of Hong Kong in almost three many years. Final month, the bishop mentioned that his go to underscores the mission of the Hong Kong Diocese to be a bridge church and promote exchanges between the 2 sides.

However the journey got here because the Vatican and Beijing are once more cut up over the facility to nominate bishops.

China and the Vatican severed diplomatic ties in 1951, following the Communists’ rise to energy and the expulsion of international monks. Because the break in ties, Catholics in China have been divided between those that belong to an official, state-sanctioned church and an underground church loyal to the pontiff. The Vatican acknowledges members of each as Catholics, however claims the unique proper to decide on bishops.

In 2018, the 2 sides introduced that that they had reached a non-public accord, which regularized the standing of a number of Chinese language-appointed bishops and paved the way in which for future nominations.

An settlement on Catholic bishops has been renewed twice, most just lately in October for 2 extra years. However in November, a feud broke out over the set up of an auxiliary bishop in Jiangxi province, which the Vatican doesn’t acknowledge as a diocese; two weeks in the past Vatican Information, the information portal of the Holy See, reported that China had unilaterally appointed a brand new bishop to Shanghai.

The settlement has been harshly criticized by many, together with by Hong Kong’s Cardinal Joseph Zen, who was detained in Could on suspicion of colluding with international forces below a Beijing-imposed nationwide safety regulation that jailed or silenced many activists. He was launched on bail and has but to be formally charged, however he and 5 others had been fined in a separate case in November for failing to register a now-defunct fund set as much as assist arrested protesters.

When Chow led a prayer on Friday, he mentioned folks ought to “love the nation and love the church,” public broadcaster RTHK reported. He later informed reporters that everybody ought to learn to do these two issues on the identical time.

“If you happen to reside in Hong Kong and China, then they need to love their nation,” he mentioned.

Estimates of the overall variety of Chinese language Catholics run between 6 million and 12 million, worshiping in each the acknowledged Patriotic Catholic Affiliation and the underground church.

Chow is slated to conclude his journey on Friday. He visited church buildings and the tomb of Matteo Ricci, one of many first Jesuits to reside in China, who died in Beijing in 1610.