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Top official urges independent Chinese Catholic Church

Senior Chinese official Yu Zhengsheng says China's Catholics should build a more independent, socialist churchCatholics in China should build a more independent, socialist church, a senior Beijing official has said, as the government remains at odds with the Vatican on the issue of ordaining bishops. The country’s roughly 12 million believers are divided between those loyal to Beijing, whose clergy are chosen by the Communist Party, and members of a so-called “underground” church which swears allegiance to the Vatican. The Holy See and Beijing have not had diplomatic ties since 1951, and although relations have improved in recent years as China’s Catholic population has grown, they remain at odds over which side has the authority to appoint senior clergy.

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