BEIJING, March 6 (UPI) -- China and the Vatican could resume ties "in the near future," a Chinese Catholic bishop, who is also a National People's Congress deputy, said in Beijing.
Bishop Zhan Silu, who was consecrated in January 2000 with two other mainland Chinese bishops, was speaking on the sidelines of the NPC meeting this week in Beijing, the South China Morning Post reported.
He is one of a rising generation of bishops endorsed by the pope, and is widely seen as a future leader of the Chinese Catholic church.
A Chinese Catholic bishop who is also a National People's Congress deputy? I would guess that priests and bishops of the patriotic association are 'encouraged' to attend the premiere propaganda event of the year in the People's Republic. I find it interesting though that they are included as People's Deputies.
Church observers said Pope Benedict's recent elevation of Hong Kong Bishop Joseph Zen to the position of cardinal was a friendly gesture toward the Chinese people, even though Cardinal Zen is considered a troublemaker in pro-Beijing circles.
Which church observers are those?
The Catholic Church in China is facing a succession crisis, with most of its leaders aging. Bishop Zhan said three of the country's eight bishops were too old to attend the NPC meeting this year.
And whose fault is that? As for those three who are too old, given the fact that this is the PRC (also known as the Twilight Zone), such declarations of age and ill health are usually code for house arrest and silent protest... Or they could just really be too old and sick. But who knows?
China cut ties with the Vatican in 1951 shortly after the Communist Party took power. Beijing insists the Vatican must give up diplomatic relations with Taiwan before the two sides can re-establish ties.
Blackmail isn't going to work, Beijing. Benedict XVI is in the house!