Holy See Hopes China Seeks Approval of Bishop
Cardinal Bertone Welcomes Choice of "Well-Suited" Person
PIEVE DI CADORE, Italy, JULY 19, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is favorable toward the bishop chosen to lead the Diocese of Beijing, and is "optimistic" that the official Church will seek Vatican approval, said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
During a press conference Wednesday in Pieve di Cadore, close to where Benedict XVI is vacationing, the Vatican secretary of state commented on the election of 43-year-old Bishop Joseph Li Shan by the community -- priests, religious and laity -- of the Beijing Diocese.
The elected Bishop Li stands to succeed Archbishop Michele Fu Tieshan who died in April and received a state funeral from the Communist Party. The election is the first to take place in the country since Benedict XVI sent a letter to the faithful of China last month.
The "Council of Bishops" is expected to accept his nomination. In the past, the Pope has approved certain bishops elected this way.
The Patriotic Association has chosen "a very good, well-suited" person, Cardinal Bertone said. This is "a positive sign," and now "we hope that they seek the Holy See's approval. We are waiting."
He added that "the election took place according to canons of the official Church. Normally, they enter into contact with the Holy See and ask approval. We are waiting and we are optimistic."
Regarding the letter recently sent to Chinese Catholics by Benedict XVI, Cardinal Bertone said: "There are no official reactions at this time; we believe the government is prudently reflecting on it and this is a positive development."
The letter, he added, "initiated dialogue between the official Church and the underground one. In the last few days, I have received a message from an official bishop who wrote me that the letter is very nice and now 'we are studying it in-depth.'"