Vatican China negotiator reveals decades-long path to deal

The Vatican official who negotiated the landmark agreement between the Holy See and China over bishop nominations says the path of normalizing Catholic life there "is still long" but that a new future is now possible.

Speaking in public for the first time since the accord was signed Sept. 22, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli revealed details of his nearly four-decade-long effort to heal the rift with China at a high-level book launch Monday.

Celli choked up at times, recalling the suffering he witnessed over years meeting with clandestine bishops, as well as the "profound suffering" of illegitimate bishops forced to accept episcopal consecration without papal consent.

The book launch also featured the Italian premier, days after he signed an agreement with China's president supporting Beijing's "Belt and Road" initiative.