China has held off on ordaining bishops without Vatican approval, but government interference in the state-backed Chinese church is still a concern, Hong Kong’s cardinal — a key adviser to the pope_ said Monday.
Beijing and the Vatican don’t have diplomatic relations, and the power to appoint bishops is a major sticking point between them.
China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, shortly after the officially atheist Communist Party took power. Worship is allowed only in state-backed churches, which recognize the pope as a spiritual leader. They name their own priests and bishops, but the Vatican has made efforts in recent years to recognize them.