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SAIQI, China – Good Friday celebrations in one Chinese parish had a conspicuous absence: their bishop, who just the day before was taken away by the government.
Bishop Guo Xijin (SHE'-jin) is at the center of talks between the Vatican and the atheist Communist Party that are expected to yield a historic deal on who appoints bishops in China and unite the country's Catholics for the first time since Beijing and the Holy See severed relations nearly seven decades ago.
Under the deal, the Vatican is expected to recognize seven Beijing-appointed bishops not chosen by the pope, and Guo and one other underground bishop would step aside.
A prominent Hong Kong cardinal has accused the Vatican of selling out its followers to an authoritarian regime.