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ICC Note: It would be great if there could be frank discussions and a resolution of at least some of the many issues between the Church and the Chinese government.  However, only time will tell how sincere the Chinese government really is.

By UCANews.com reporter, Hong Kong

10/22/2015 China (UCANews.com)

Further details of the Vatican’s secret talks with China’s ruling Communist Party have come to light, including that the Holy See delegation visited a Chinese bishop and a seminary in Beijing.

The Vatican delegation, which comprised representatives from the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, touched down in Beijing on Oct. 11. Neither side has made public statements about the talks.

However, Father Jeroom Heyndrickx, a veteran sinologist at the Verbiest Institute of Leuven Catholic University in Belgium, said there are still positive indications to take from the secret meetings.

“In the corridors, the rumor spread that both sides had agreed to leave aside — for the time being — negotiations on the more thorny questions,” Father Heyndrickx wrote in a commentary for ucanews.com.

These issues include the release of imprisoned Bishop James Su Zhimin of Baoding, the status of eight excommunicated bishops, and the situation of Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai, who is confined at the Sheshan Seminary, according to the Missionhurst priest.

“Both parties did not seem ready to reach an agreement on these issues. They wished to look first for a consensus on the issue of episcopal appointments,” he said.

Father Heyndrickx said the six-member delegation later visited Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing, as well as the National Seminary in Beijing.

The visit to Bishop Li itself was “a positive signal meaning that the negotiations went well,” he said, adding that a visit to the seminary made this even more clear.

“I doubt if Chinese President Xi Jinping has the courage to treat the Catholic Church sincerely,” an active Catholic blogger in China, who identified himself only as Thomas, told ucanews.com.

“China-Vatican relations will not get heated up just because of the upcoming presidential election in Taiwan, or the passion of Pope Francis on China,” he said.

“It rests entirely on the sincerity, pragmatism, understanding and transformation of Xi’s government for a new turn on China-Vatican relations. Without such changes, we are going to see the same negotiations continue without anything materializing, as in the past three decades.”

The secretive October meetings, which have not been publicly confirmed by Beijing or the Vatican, were the second round of talks since June 2014 discussions.

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