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The Vatican appears to have cleared the ecclesiastical decks for a deal with China's ruling Communist Party after one of two bishops at the center of a dispute over the Sino-Vatican agreement was reported to have promised to step down and make way for a bishop appointed by Beijing.
The final hurdle for the Holy See now appears to be recognizing two bishops, appointed by Beijing without Rome's approval, who are widely understood to have familial arrangements including long-term partners and children.
Bishop - Zhuang - Jianjian - December - Bishops
After sacking Bishop Zhuang Jianjian in December, no Vatican-appointed bishops stand in the way of a deal that would see the Holy See give its imprimatur to five bishops appointed by Beijing whose dioceses do not have Vatican appointees in charge of the "underground" church.
The seven so-called illicit bishops, not named by the pope, include Liu Xinhong of Anhui and Lei Shiyin of Leshan, who are both alleged to have girlfriends, as well as Yue Fusheng of Heilongjiang, Ma Yinglin of Kunming and Guo Jincai of Chengde.
None - Bishops - Impediments - Vatican-approved - Prelates
None of these "bishops" have any impediments with underground Vatican-approved prelates operating in their dioceses should the Vatican decide to recognize them as part of a deal with Beijing.
Huang Bingzhan of Shantou and Zhan Silu of Mindong are not yet approved by Rome but the removal of the underground bishops in their diocese, Zhuang Jianjian and Vincent Guo Xijin, clears the way for their approval by the Vatican.
People - Vatican - Cardinal - Zen - Liu
"How can such people be recognized by the Vatican?" Cardinal Zen said, referring to Liu and Lei.
Bishop Guo of the Catholic enclave of Mindong in Fujian province said in an interview before an evening Mass held at the "underground" cathedral in a small town that if the Vatican presented him with a verifiably authentic document to request him to step down, he would obey Rome's decision, according...
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