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International relations

Vatican's China policy questioned by Hong Kong cardinal

Rifts apparent among senior Catholic churchmen over bishop appointments

HONG KONG/JAKARTA -- Cardinal Joseph Zen, former bishop of Hong Kong, has criticized the Vatican for  being "unfaithful" to its subjects in striking a deal with Beijing on the appointment of Chinese bishops, which he believes would eliminate the very few freedoms enjoyed by unofficially sanctioned "underground" churches in China.

Zen's comments come after reports emerged that Pope Francis has decided to accept the legitimacy of seven Catholic bishops chosen by the Chinese government as part of a rapprochement between the Vatican and Beijing after decades of cool relations. Such acquiescence implies that although the pope is the one who appoints the bishops, it was the Chinese government that chose the candidates.

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