Source AP ©

China's Catholic Church urges pope to celebrate Mass in China

A senior official of Chinese Catholic Church would like Pope Benedict XVI to visit the country and celebrate Mass.

Benedict did not dismiss the possibility but said the issue was "complicated."

Liu Bainian, vice chairman of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, made the comments in a lengthy interview with Italian daily La Repubblica in which he praised Benedict's recent letter to China's Catholics as "positive."

"I strongly hope to be able to see the pope one day here in Beijing to celebrate Mass for us Chinese," Liu was quoted as saying.

He said he wanted, through the interview, to send the pope a special greeting. "Let him know that we pray for him always and may the Lord give us the grace to welcome him here among us."

Benedict was asked about the comments as he left a church in Auronzo di Cadore, in northern Italy, where he was meeting with clergy from the region.

"I can't speak at this time," Benedict was quoted as saying by the Italian news agency ANSA. "It's a bit complicated."

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