First Vatican visit to China in 5 years

Avvenire calls resumption of dialogue 'spectacular gesture'

(ANSA) - Vatican City, October 19 - A delegation from the Holy See has made an official visit to Beijing for the first time in five years in what was described Monday as a "spectacular gesture" by Vatican diplomats, Ucanews reported.
    No details of who took part in the visit or its results were disclosed but the visit was reported by Ucanews and hailed by historian Agostino Giovagnoli.
    "Pope France's gaze is embracing ever wider horizons, from the United States to China, showing a Church that does not want to forget anyone and is interested in all situations, even those most far off and difficult," Avvenire newspaper quoted Giovagnoli as saying.
    Only a few days ago Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, speaking about the pope's repeated request to visit China, said "the situation (in Sino-Vatican relations) is not yet ripe, but one is working slowly and discretely for an understanding".
    Parolin added that "at the moment it is impossible to make predictions".
    Giovagnoli noted that there has been considerable tension between the Holy See and China since the last visit five years ago including illegitimate ordinations of priests and preventing the bishop of Shanghai, Ma Daqin, from taking up his duties.
    "Restarting dialogue was far from certain but the Pope Francis effect was felt in China from his election".