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    Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for his weekly general audience, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018

    Pope Francis Urges to Develop Dialogue With China After Bishop Nomination Deal

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    VATICAN (Sputnik) - Pope Francis on Wednesday addressed the Chinese Catholic community, in which he assured the country's Catholic believers of constant pastoral care and expressed hope for the continuation of a fruitful dialogue with Beijing.

    "I now turn with respect to the leaders of the People’s Republic of China and renew my invitation to continue, with trust, courage and farsightedness, the dialogue begun some time ago. I wish to assure them that the Holy See will continue to work sincerely for the growth of genuine friendship with the Chinese people… At so significant a moment for the life of the Church, I want to assure you through this brief Message that you are daily present in my prayers, and to share with you my heartfelt feelings," Francis said, as quoted by the Holy See.

    The statement was made in wake of Saturday's landmark deal signed by the Vatican and Beijing on Chinese bishop nominations. Francis said that bishops would now be nominated via dialogue between the Chinese authorities and Vatican, but the pope would be the one to have the final word. According to Francis, the move will lead to the "full communion" of all Catholics in China.

    READ MORE: China and the Vatican Strike Historic Deal on Catholic Bishops

    The bishop appointments issue was the major stumbling block to restoring diplomatic relations between Vatican and Beijing which governs China's 12-million Catholic community via the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. The association is outside the pope's authority and has been nominating China's bishops without recognition of the Holy See. Thousands of underground clergymen who refused to recognize the association and remained loyal to the pope have frequently been detained and intimidated.

    READ MORE: Catholic Church Conservatives Close Ranks to Stall Parley With China — Analysts

    Catholic Church, Vatican, China
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