Sino-Vatican ties are unlikely to see a breakthrough before mid-2008 after China's ruling Communist Party wraps up a five-yearly leadership transition cycle, the top Catholic official on Chinese soil said on Friday.And as for his supposed retirement, this is what the Holy Father told him:
It would be provocative for both the state-backed Catholic church and the underground church to consecrate new bishops and so both should refrain, said Cardinal Joseph Zen, who returned to Hong Kong this week from a trip to Europe.
Zen added that during his 15-minute audience with Pope Benedict last week, the pontiff indicated he should act in future as a papal advisor on China affairs to try and restore Sino-Vatican ties.
"The pope thinks that I should be concerned of those problems and be ready to give him advice," said Zen.
"Now there's huge, huge work to do that I can't avoid anymore ... The fundamental position is clear, that the Holy father wants the Chinese cardinal to be also very ... concerned about the business in China."