Benedict the Re-Gatherer may strike again soon–in China!
ROME (AP) — The Beijing bishop appointed by China’s state-controlled Catholic Church said in an interview Wednesday that he hopes Pope Benedict XVI will visit his country and that relations with the Vatican are improving.
“We strongly hope that Benedict XVI will make a trip to China,” Joseph Li Shan told Italy’s RAI state TV. “Relations with the Vatican are constantly improving. We can say that there are big developments.”
Li is well-regarded by the Vatican and his installation last year was seen as a positive sign in the long-standing dispute between China and the Holy See over who should appoint bishops.
The officially atheist government dislikes groups that operate outside Communist Party control and has refused to yield authority over bishop’s appointments, while the Vatican is loath to concede its traditional right to appoint church leaders.
Both sides have searched for a compromise in recent years, with many bishops being first named by China but then later asking for and receiving the Vatican’s approval — as church officials said was the case with Li.