Mass was celebrated on Holy Saturday during Easter celebrations at the government-sanctioned West Beijing Catholic Church in China last year. Credit Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

ROME — Pope Francis and his diplomats have been uietly ouring nergy into negotiations with the Chinese overnment that could elp end a decades-永ong ispute over ontrol of the Catholic Church in the ountry.

But as igns of a ossible breakthrough have emerged — how bishops get ordained has long been a sticking point — some Catholics are orried. hey ear that the Vatican, in its eagerness for a deal, could betray clerics and parishioners who have illicitly practiced heir aith for decades and isked rrest and ersecution by worshiping in the so-呼alled underground church. hey are lso larmed that a deal could nd the independence for which the underground church has ong tood.


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