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Critical evaluation of Vatican-China agreement

May 15, 2024

» Continue to this story on The Atlantic

CWN Editor's Note: “Whether the Chinese Church can remain authentically Catholic in the face of Sinicization is an open question,” writes Francis X. Rocca in an essay appearing in The Atlantic.

Rocca—who until recently covered the Vatican for the Wall Street Journal—takes a critical look at the secret Vatican agreement with China governing the appointment on new bishops. The results of that agreement have been disappointing to the Vatican. The goal was to ensure the appointment of enough bishops to serve the Chinese Church, but at least 40 dioceses remain leaderless. That situation does not trouble Beijing, Rocca observes, because the Communist Party finds it easier to control a leadership Church.

In general, Rocca writes, the agreement:

... came at the expense of China’s second group of Catholics: the so-called underground Church, which previously ordained its own bishops with Rome’s approval and is now in effect being told by the Vatican to join the state-controlled Church.

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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