BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, USA – A high-ranking Vatican official from China says he doesn’t expect much to change in Church-state relations with the new Chinese government.

“I don’t think there will be a big change in the immediate future for the religious policy in China. It’s not one of the immediate priorities of the new government. They have many other things to take care of,” said Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

He made the comments during a visit to the Diocese of Brooklyn, part of a six-day trip to the US.

China unveiled its new Communist Party leadership on Nov 15.

Mr Xi Jinping, the new president, repeatedly called for a “great renewal” in his acceptance speech.

Archbishop Hon explained that since the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution in China, people have been able to freely worship. The problem, he pointed out, is with “the structure and development of the Church – especially for the hierarchy – the control is too much.”

The Chinese government demands the power of approval before a bishop can be appointed by the Vatican.

While in New York, Archbishop Hon visited the Chinese community in Queens.

He also expressed thanks to US Catholics “for their great affection for other Churches in need around the world”. - CNS

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