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Pope says he hopes to visit China
[March 28, 2006]

Pope says he hopes to visit China

(UPI Top Stories Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Pope Benedict XVI told Cardinal Joseph Zen and a visiting delegation from Hong Kong that he desired to visit China, but the timing would be decided by God.

Zen was among 15 new cardinals invited, along with several hundred guests, to an audience with the pope at the Vatican Monday.

The pope also urged veteran democrat Martin Lee to continue fighting for democracy in Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.

Hong Kong Catholic Diocese vicar-general, Father Dominic Chan, said he invited the pope to visit China.

The Holy Father said he wanted to come but God would decide when, Chan said.

The pope's wish to visit China was also voiced during an interview Saturday with Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, who said the time is ripe for the Holy See and Beijing to resume formal ties broken off in 1951.

The Vatican has expressed a willingness to meet Beijing's precondition of breaking ties with Taiwan. Beijing has not reciprocated, however, on Rome's key request, that the pope be allowed to appoint Chinese bishops.

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