Vatican to China: Stop meddling

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 2.06.06

Vatican City, June 1 (Reuters): The Vatican today told China not to interfere in the internal affairs of the Catholic Church, saying “social peace” in the communist country would benefit if religious freedom were guaranteed.

“As in all countries, the church in China is not asking for any privilege but only to be free in its internal organisation,” said Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo.

Lajolo made his comments in an interview with a Romanian newspaper which the Vatican press office distributed to journalists.

Relations between the Vatican and Beijing reached a new low last month when Pope Benedict censured China publicly for installing two bishops without the Holy See’s approval.

The Pope called it“a grave violation of religious freedom”. China, which broke links with the Vatican in the 1950s, refuses to allow Catholics to recognise the authority of the Pope. “Chinese political authorities should not interfere in the internal affairs of the church, particularly in the naming of bishops,” Lajolo said. The Vatican estimates that some 5 million Chinese belong to the state-backed association.