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Chinese Catholics hope for improved ties between state and Vatican

Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 01:14

Mar 17 - Chinese Catholics attending mass in Beijing are hopeful China and the Vatican will renew official ties after years of mostly cool relations. Jessica Gray reports.

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Chinese Catholics attend their first Sunday mass since Pope Francis I took the helm of the Roman Catholic Church. At Beijing's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, worshippers are hopeful the new pope will heal divisions between catholics in China and the state. China and the Vatican broke off diplomatic ties in 1949 after the Communist Party came to power. And Chinese Catholics are divided between a church sanctioned by the communist state that has installed bishops without Vatican approval and an "underground" wing. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) RETIRED SOLDIER, MARCO SHAO SAYING: "China's Catholic church and the new pope in Rome need to work hard together to create a harmonious Catholic Church. There is only one Catholicism. I wish that Catholicism would not be split. What is Chinese Catholicism? There is only one Catholicism." China's Foreign Ministry earlier this week renewed calls on the Vatican to end diplomatic relations with self-ruled Taiwan - which China considers a breakaway province. The Vatican has in the past condemned what it called "external pressures and constrictions" on Chinese Catholics.

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Chinese Catholics hope for improved ties between state and Vatican

Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 01:14