Vatican regrets cardinal's disclosures on China negotiations

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Vatican regrets cardinal's disclosures on China negotiations
FILE - In this Wednesday, March 6, 2013 file photo, Cardinal Joseph Zen prays in St. Peter's Basilica during a vespers celebration at the Vatican. Hong Kong’s retired cardinal has revealed the behind-the-scenes drama of the Vatican's efforts to improve relations with China, including its request for a legitimate bishop to resign in favor of an excommunicated one who is recognized by Beijing. Cardinal Joseph Zen, a vocal opponent of Pope Francis' opening to China, bitterly criticized the changing of the guard in Shantou diocese and said in a Facebook post Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 that he traveled to the Vatican Jan. 10 to personally discuss it with the pope. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, file)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says it is “surprising and regrettable” that a cardinal suggested that Pope Francis was out of the loop on negotiations between the Holy See and China, saying he is “faithfully” informed about developments and follows the issue with care.

The Vatican statement Tuesday was issued a day after the retired archbishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, penned an extraordinary Facebook post revealing the behind-the-scenes drama over the contentious issue of bishop nominations in China.

Zen confirmed the Vatican had asked for a legitimate bishop to stand down in favor of an excommunicated one favored by Beijing. Zen said when he met with Francis Jan. 14 to discuss it, the pope said he didn’t favor such an outcome, suggesting a rift with the Vatican secretariat of state.