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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chinese put on track for beatification


VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has put a Chinese Catholic scholar who lived nearly five centuries ago on track for beatification, a move intended to raise the profile of the church in a country that keeps a tight grip on all religious expression.

Paul Xu Guangqi, who lived from 1562 to 1633, was a scientist, astronomer and mathematician and collaborator of Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, himself a candidate for beatification.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the go-ahead for the beatification cause from the Vatican's sainthood congregation was a ``beautiful light of hope for China today and tomorrow.''

He said Xu's ``exemplary life'' shows there is no contradiction in being both Chinese and Catholic. On the contrary, he told Vatican Radio, people can be both ``great Chinese and upstanding Catholics.''

The announcement of the start of the beatification process came in a message to Chinese Catholics last week from a special Vatican commission set up to study problems that Catholics loyal to the pope face in China. It expressed its ``sorrow for the trials you are undergoing'' but said it ``learned with joy'' that the diocese of Shanghai can start the beatification cause.


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