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Unholy war of words breaks out over Vatican rapprochement with China

From Reuters - February 8, 2018

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - An unholy war of words has broken out among Vatican and Catholic officials over the Holy Sees rapprochement with Communist China, with cardinals, archbishops and priests caught in an undiplomatic crossfire.

In the past few days, one cardinal has accused another of spouting nonsense and a priest accused an archbishop of being so naive about China that he was like Alice in Wonderland.

The exchanges came as the Vatican and China moved closer to an accord on the appointment of bishops in what would be an historic breakthrough and a precursor to a resumption in diplomatic relations after 70 years.

Any deal was bound to be controversial because of concessions the Vatican would have to make to a government that has kept religion under its thumb. But the accusations have become exceptionally shrill as diplomacy has collided with passion.

Father Bernardo Cervellera, head of the AsiaNews agency, which specializes in China, accused Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the head of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, of being naive.

In an interview this week, Sanchez Sorondo praised China, saying that Chinese today were those who are perhaps best implementing Church teachings on social issues, such as concern for the environment and human dignity.

We can understand that in the heat of desire for relations between China and the Vatican one can be doting and exalt Chinese culture ... but adulating China is an ideological affirmation that makes a laughingstock of the Church, Cervellera wrote in an editorial headlined Sanchez Sorondo in Wonderland.

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