Thursday, May 04, 2006

Beijing, Vatican struggle over control of Catholic Church

The Vatican Thursday responded to the appointment of two new bishops in China by excommunicating the bishops and the two officials who ordained them.

The bishops Giuseppe Ma Yinglin and Giuseppe Liu Xinhong were ordained without Vatican approval on Wednesday.

Beijing and the Vatican broke off ties after the Communists took control in 1949. Lately the two have made steps toward reconciliation, but the way has been hampered by Rome's recognition of Taiwan, and Beijing's penchant for control over religion within its borders.

China has experienced religious unrest in relation to the Falun Gong spiritual movement and Tibetan Buddhism. Beijing appointed its own choice for Panchen Lama, Tibet's second-highest religious leader, over the choice of the Dalai Lama.

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the Dalai Lama's choice, is still detained by Chinese authorities according to sources from the exiled Tibetan government.

Vatican excommunicates unapproved Chinese bishops

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