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Is it all just diplomatic noise?

The unidentified spokesperson said that the Vatican’s public announcement, “shows no respect for the 5 million Catholics in China, their bishops, the college of bishops and the Patriotic Association, and for the decision-making processes of these two entities.”

This spokesperson also adds that, initially, the two groups “thought” that the invitation was “a good sign for the normalization of relations between China and Vatican,” in “recognizing the College of Bishops and the Patriotic Association.”  The unidentified spokesman concluded that, given the faltering health of some of the bishops invited, and given the diplomatic relations that exist between the Vatican and Taiwan, the bishops will not be able to go to Rome.

News which has reached AsiaNews from China over the last few days does not coincide with the statements of this mysterious spokesperson.  To begin with, Catholics and bishops are pleased by the invitation and think – as we were told by Msgr Jin Luxian of Shanghai – that it is an honour for the Church and for China.  Furthermore, the 5 million official Catholics and the 8 million underground are celebrating the appointments and have decided to pray, fast and recite novenas so that the government gives its permission to the 4 prelates.

Our impression is that the last word has not yet been said on the four bishops’ invitation to Rome.  A Chinese Catholic told AsiaNews that “if the government wants to send the bishops to Rome, no Patriotic Association can stop them.”

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