Chinese Catholics pack Beijing's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for Sunday Mass, praying and singing hymns beneath stained glass windows much like their brethren around the world.
Chinese Catholics are seen during mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing, on February 20, 2013. Experts estimate that there are as many as 12 million Catholics in China, with about half in congregations under the officially-administered Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. The rest belong to non-sanctioned or so-called underground churches.
The spirituality on display, however, masks a complicated tangle encompassing the Vatican and clergy loyal to it on the one hand, and the officially approved Church in China, which does not recognise the authority of the Holy See.
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