The Latest: Pope asks for reconciliation in Chinese church

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VATICAN CITY – The Latest on the agreement between China and the Catholic Church on the appointment of bishops (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

Pope Francis is urging Chinese Catholics to trust him and make concrete gestures of reconciliation following a landmark deal over bishop appointments aimed at ending decades of estrangement between the Vatican and Beijing that had split the church.

In a letter to the Chinese faithful published Wednesday, Francis urged Chinese Catholics to help “initiate an unprecedented process that we hope will help to heal the wounds of the past, restore full communion among all Chinese Catholics, and lead to a phase of greater fraternal cooperation.”

He also called for greater dialogue with local government authorities to ensure that ordinary church activities can be carried out.

The letter follows the deal signed Saturday governing the naming of bishops in China.

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10:45 a.m.

Pope Francis is urging Chinese Catholics to overcome past divisions and open a new phase of faith following a landmark agreement over bishop nominations aimed at ending decades of estrangement between the Vatican and Beijing that had split the church.

Francis announced Wednesday that he had written a letter to the Chinese faithful aimed at encouraging them to “heal the wounds of the past and re-establish and maintain full communion.” The letter was to be released later Wednesday.

The letter follows the deal signed Saturday governing the naming of bishops in China. The agreement regularizes the status of seven bishops who had been appointed by Beijing over the years without papal consent, and sets out a process of dialogue going forward. Francis says that ultimately it will be he who names bishops, not Beijing.

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