Vatican, Beijing negotiating renewal of secret accord
September 12, 2022
CWN Editor's Note: A team of Vatican negotiations, led by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, was in China last week to negotiate the renewal of a secret accord governing the selection of bishops for the Church in China.
Ironically the negotiations took place in Tianjin: a city that has been without a bishop recognized by the Chinese government since 2005. Bishop Melchior Shi, who is 93 years old, heads the “underground” Church, and is recognized by the Holy See, but has been living under house arrest.
The Vatican’s secret agreement with Beijing, signed in 2018 and renewed in 2020, is due for renewal soon. Chinese officials are likely aiming to settle a new agreement before the 20th Congress of the Community Party, which takes place in October.
Although Vatican officials have justified the agreement as a means of ensuring proper leadership for the Church in China, roughly one-third of China’s dioceses do not currently have a bishop.
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