VATICAN CITY (AsiaNews): Pope Benedict XVI is to address a letter to Catholics in China following a two-day meeting on the Church’s situation in the country, held at the Vatican.
This was the conclusion in an official statement released by the Vatican Press Office at the end of the January 19-20 meeting.
Participating in the meeting were Chinese bishops from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and representatives from the Secretary of State and the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
The meeting was presided over by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
The statement affirmed the will to continue to seek a respectful and constructive dialogue with the governing authorities in order to overcome past difficulties.
It also expressed the hope for a normalisation of relations on all levels.
According to AsiaNews, at least 17 underground bishops have disappeared, have been arrested or are detained in isolation, and 20 priests have been arrested.
Of the nine priests arrested, five remain in prison, while four have been released.