Vatican, Beijing renew deal on appointment of bishops

A 2018 agreement between Beijing and the Vatican was renewed on Thursday, despite strident U.S. condemnation and warnings from underground Chinese priests loyal to Rome that they have only become more marginalised since it was signed.

The deal allows both Beijing and the Holy See a say in appointing bishops in an attempt to close a schism in China’s 12-million-strong Catholic community. Washington had put pressure on the Vatican to scrap the agreement, saying it has failed to shield Chinese Catholics from persecution.

Both sides agreed to the extension “for two years”, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday. “The two sides will maintain close communication and consultation, and continue to push forward the process of improving relations.”

China severed ties with the Holy See in 1951, forcing Catholics to choose between membership of the State-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association or non-sanctioned churches loyal to the Pope. However, while some have hailed the deal, others fear that China’s underground churches will become even more marginalised.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 11:57:20 PM |

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