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>> China and the Vatican maybe on the cusp of an historic deal, however, after years of religious crackdown Catholics, Reuters spoke to in one China parish are split over the news. They're already divided by a 70 year old dispute over local control of the church. There are those that recognize the Pope and worship underground, and a state run group whose bishops are named by the government.
Last week the Vatican confirmed they're talking with China about an agreement to allow Beijing to name official bishops, and that may lead to diplomatic relations between the two sides for the first time in decades. Reuters James Pomfret went to the working class city of where those that won Beijing approved mass were shocked about the possibility.
>> They all cautiously optimistic, but they are concerned as well, that the Vatican is selling the Catholics out to some extent. On the other hand they were saying, look, we have to face reality if we do wanna move forward in China, which is always gonna be dominated and ruled by a single party communist state, then the Vatican does have to play ball, to some extend, with Beijing despite some of the linguine bitterness that a lot of the Catholics feel here over the persecution through the decades.
Persecution that has included labor camps, imprisonment, locking up Vatican loyalists with some 10 million or so Catholics in China, it really is a crucial crunch time for them.>> China's Communist Party has long sought to control any organized groups, religious or not. After years of pressure from Beijing, some critics say the Vatican's closer ties with China could divide Catholics there even more, or push some in the underground to cut ties with the church entirely.