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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01VATICAN5814 2001-11-09 13:22:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
Cable title:  

FIDES MEDIA DIRECTOR CERVELLERA VIEWS ON

Tags:   PREL PGOV KIRF PINR CH VT 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L VATICAN 005814 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DRL/IRF (FARR), EUR/WE (MENNUTI); EAP/CM

(KOEHLER)

FROM EMBASSY VATICAN/MESSAGE NO. 197/01

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/06
TAGS: PREL PGOV KIRF PINR CH VT
SUBJECT: FIDES MEDIA DIRECTOR CERVELLERA VIEWS ON
VATICAN/PRC DEVELOPMENTS
CONFIDENTIAL


PAGE 02 VATICA 05814 091331Z

REF: VATICAN 5629

CLASSIFIED BY DCM JMERANTE, REASONS E.O. 12958 1.5 (B),
(D).



1. (C) AT MEDIA THEMED LUNCH HOSTED BY AMBASSADOR
NICHOLSON, DIRECTOR OF MEDIA FOR THE CONGREGATION FOR THE
PROPAGATION OF THE FAITH (FIDES), FATHER BENARDO
CERVELLERA, SPOKE AT LENGTH ON HIS VIEWS OF RECENT
VATICAN/PRC DEVELOPMENTS. CERVELLERA SAID THAT ALTHOUGH
THE POPE'S 10/24 STATEMENT APOLOGIZING TO THE CHINESE
PEOPLE FOR THE "MISTAKES' MADE BY EARLY CHRISTIAN
MISSIONARIES AND FOR A RESUMPTION OF DIALOG BETWEEN THE
PRC AND THE HOLY SEE WAS WELL RECEIVED BY THE CHINESE
PEOPLE, IT "FELL ON DEAF EARS" WITHIN THE CHINESE
GOVERNMENT. HE WENT ON TO SAY THAT HE SEES THE
POSSIBILITY OF ANY RESUMPTION OF DIALOG BETWEEN CHINA AND
THE HOLY SEE AIMED AT NORMALIZING RELATIONS BEFORE
ELECTIONS THE MARCH ELECTIONS IN CHINA TO BE NIL. (NOTE:
WE HEARD THE SAME FROM OUR TAIWAN EMBASSY CONTACTS).



2. (C) CERVELLERA ALSO DISCUSSED THE ROLE OF THE
"OFFICIAL" CHURCH AND THE UNDERGROUND CHURCH IN CHINA.
HE BELIEVES 80 PERCENT OF THE "OFFICIAL" CHURCH IS LOYAL
TO THE POPE. HE ALSO SAID THAT THE REMAINING "OLD
LINERS" IN THE "OFFICIAL" CHURCH ARE DYING OFF. IN
EFFECT, THERE IS NO LONGER EVEN A DE FACTO SCHISM BETWEEN
THE VATICAN AND CHINESE CATHOLICISM. THE ONLY PROBLEM
IS THE "PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION" WHICH BEIJING USES TO
CONTROL THE ACTIVITIES OF THE "OFFICIAL" CHURCH.
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 VATICA 05814 091331Z



3. (C) COMMENT: CERVELLERA AND FIDES ARE STRONGLY
IDENTIFIED WITH THE FACTION IN THE VATICAN WHICH OPPOSES
NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS WITH CHINA UNTIL THE COMMUNISM
ARE REMOVED. THAT SAID, HIS BELIEF THAT THERE WON'T BE
ANY MOVEMENT UNTIL AFTER MARCH IS SHARED EVEN BY THOSE
WHO WOULD BE IN FAVOR OF QUICK RESUMPTION OF THE DIALOG
(REF). CERVELLERA'S VIEWS ON THE "OFFICIAL" CHURCH ARE
QUITE PROGRESSIVE AND APPEAR TO REFLECT THE VATICAN'S
ATTEMPT TO FULLY HEAL THE RIFT BETWEEN THE UNDERGROUND
CHURCH AND THE "OFFICIAL CHURCH" EVEN BEFORE THERE IS A
POLITICAL DIALOG WITH BEIJING.
NICHOLSON

CONFIDENTIAL

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2001VATICA05814 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL