>> The Vatican in a final push to show China the light. Church sources exclusively telling Reuters that the two sides are close to a deal for at least two new Chinese Bishops this year. China is officially an atheist nation and opposes Rome's right to ordain Chinese Bishops. Instead for the past 60 years Beijing has appointed its own clergy the Vatican doesn't recognize.
Reuters Lisa Jucca explains how this shift come about.>> It has been really with the election of Pope Francis that things have taken a different turn. He really considers striking a deal or let's say creating a more favorable atmosphere with China as a priority. The Vatican is very, very keen to avoid a schism that is like a form of separation of the Catholic Chinese community from the Catholic community around the world.
The Catholic Church in Rome really thinks that China needs a new group of Bishops. But they are terrified by the prospect of maybe China appointing, unilaterally, Bishops, and that's why they want to strike a deal.>> The church has chased the dream of setting up in China for centuries, but there are still plenty of obstacles.
>> There are eight bishops who are considered illegitimate by the Vatican. Four who really want to be reconciled with the pope. But we have a couple who have children or girlfriends. So they do present a moral problem if you want. There are bishops and priests who are detained currently in China, and what's gonna happen to these people?
In particular Ma Daqin, the bishop of Shanghai. He has been for years now under house arrest.>> The Vatican is the only western nation without official ties to China, meaning a deal would be a gentleman's agreement at best. The kind that China has a track record of challenging or even ignoring.