From AP, via International Herald Tribune:
Pope Benedict XVI has been reaching out to Beijing, eager to bring China’s estimated 12 million Catholics under Rome’s wing. But the two sides have been at loggerheads over the Vatican’s insistence on naming bishops.
“While Chinese Catholics want to select those (bishops) with good religious knowledge and love toward the country and the people, the Vatican wants those who oppose the Communist Party (of China),” Liu Bainian (ÂàòÊüèÂπ¥) was quoted as saying by the China Daily newspaper. [Full Text]
Read also Patriotism and religion can go hand in hand (interview with Liu Bainian by Wu Jiao):
… Chinese priests should be pious and patriotic, otherwise “the Catholic Church in China will suffer.” A Catholic Church in China that has no love for the country will by no means be a promising church, he says.
Priests and the faithful elected the bishops according to democratic election rules and after appraising their qualification. Their theoretical achievements were taken into consideration before the election process even started.
Liu lashes out at suggestions that China should wait to appoint its bishops till diplomatic relations are established with the Vatican. “Diplomatic factors should not be considered a precondition for religious affairs,” he says. “We will be sinful before Christ if we don’t spread the Gospel.”
He reiterates that the Vatican should accept China’s two terms if it wants to normalize ties.
“The Vatican must sever ‘diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs if it wants to normalize ties with Beijing.” [Full Text]