Catholic World News

Vatican reaching tacit accord with Beijing on appointment of bishops?

August 09, 2017

A Vatican official has suggested that although the Holy See has been unable to reach an agreement with the Chinese government about the appointment of Catholic bishops, an unspoken agreement is already in place.

Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, encouraged a Chinese media outlet, the Global Times, to distinguish “between a formal agreement and the real things.” He went on to say: “The real thing is that at this moment, China and the Pope have a very good relation.”

The Beijing government insists that bishops in China must be chosen by the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association. The Vatican has insisted bishops must be appointed by the Holy See, and Pope Benedict XVI said that the role of the Patriotic Association is incompatible with Church teaching. In practice many Chinese bishops are recognized by both the Vatican and the Patriotic Association. But the “underground” bishops who openly resist the power of the Patriotic Association remain subject to government harassment.

Bishop Sanchez Sorondo was in China for a meeting on organ transplants.


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