VATICAN CITY (CNS): The time is ripe for improvement in Vatican-China relations, said a top Vatican official.
In interviews with a Hong Kong TV station and the South China Morning Post, the Vatican’s foreign minister, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, said there was hope for an eventual normalisation of relations between the two states.
While official diplomatic ties have been severed since 1951, some sort of improvement may be on the horizon, he added.
“The time is ripe,” the archbishop said on March 24 on a Hong Kong cable television program.
The archbishop’s comments were made the day after Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun was inducted into the College of Cardinals.
Last year, relations showed signs of improvement when several new Chinese bishops chosen by the Vatican received government approval.
But last October, Chinese officials did not grant travel permission to Chinese bishops invited to the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican.
Church sources also reported Chinese authorities continued to arrest and harass bishops, priests and seminarians, primarily from the underground Church.