The Vatican has proposed to the Chinese government that they extend an agreement signed in 2018 regarding the appointment of bishops. Source: CNS.
The agreement, the details of which have never been made public, is set to expire on October 22.
“By October a decision is expected regarding the Vatican proposal to extend the provisional agreement ‘ad experimentum’ (on an experimental basis),” wrote Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication on Vatican News.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its travel-related restrictions slowed negotiations over extending the agreement, Mr Tornielli said, but “the results have been positive, although limited, and suggest going forward with the application of the agreement for another determined period of time”.
Mr Tornielli wrote that from the moment the Vatican announced the agreement, it made clear that it did not cover “direct diplomatic relations between the Holy See and China, the juridical status of the Catholic Chinese Church, or the relations between the clergy and the country’s authorities”.
Instead, he said, the agreement deals only with “the process for the appointment of bishops: an essential question for the life of the church and for the necessary communion between the pastors of the Chinese Catholic Church with the bishop of Rome and with the bishops throughout the world”.
In the two years since the agreement was first signed, only a handful - five or six - bishops acceptable both to the Vatican and to Beijing have been named.
Vatican proposes renewal of agreement with China on bishops’ appointments (By Cindy Wooden, CNS)