Chinese bishop says Church should take initiative to end conflict with Beijing

Beijing- A Chinese bishop of the “underground” Church faithful to Rome has said that the Vatican should take the first step to resolve a long-running conflict with the Beijing regime.

In an interview posted by Vatican Insider, Bishop Joseph Wei Jingyi of Qiqihar—who is not recognized by the Chinese government—said that the divisions among Chinese Catholics constitute an “open wound” which must be healed for the good of the faithful. He suggested that “if the problem of relations with the government is resolved, divisions among Catholics can also heal in time.”

Asked whether the Holy See would be perceived as “selling out” by reaching an accord with Beijing on the recognition of bishops, Bishop Wei replied: “The exact opposite is true.” He explained:  A Christian always tried to make the first step to bring about reconciliation and heal human and social wounds. So it is right for the Church to make the first step.

The Chinese bishop admitted some members of the underground Church would “grumble” at an accord, but said they would be a minority. The majority of Catholics, he reported, fully support the overtures that Pope Francis is making in an effort to bring unity to the Church in China.

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