China seeks agreement with Vatican on appointment of new bishops [CWN]


The Chinese government has proposed a cooperative arrangement with the Vatican regarding the appointment of Catholic bishops.The Beijing regime has clashed repeatedly with Rome over …



This is an encouraging sign, although a lot more negotiation will be required before a system acceptable to both Rome and Beijing is reached.


It would be good if the government would simply stay out of the Church’s affairs, and accept that any Catholic bishop must be authorized by the pope.


It would be good, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. However, I think they will reach some sort of negotiated settlement that gives both the Vatican and Beijing a role the process.


This is a HUGE breakthrough; hopefully, it is the first step in reconciling the Vatican and mainland China. :dancing:


that won’t happen until 1) free elections 2) they stop demolishing churches 3) they stop their obsession with male children that has resulted in an imbalance of males and females and 4) they allow ALL religious freedom.

China is COMMUNIST…they won’t allow the Vatican to appoint orthodox (loyal) bishops!

  1. Free elections are not required by the Church.

  2. Church demolition AFAIK is not something that happens frequently as a policy, but happens sporadically as a symptom of where religion stands in Chinese society. There are disagreements about whether religion is compatible with stable rule by the party, and there is not clear leadership on the issue. So local or regional bureaucrats exert pressure, or are pressured, to obstruct the normal functioning of churches through administrative and judicial fines and rulings. For this reason, I suspect that establishment of relations will precede greater acceptance of church buildings and practices, not the other way around.

  3. The obsession with male children is a cultural preference that is not going to end regardless of what laws the national government enacts. In most countries there is a preference for male children, although in the US there is a slight preference for female children. The problem is not the preference, the problem is the limitation on how many children a couple can have. I think the law has already been eased somewhat, but regardless it need not stand in the way of relations between the Vatican and Beijing.

  4. In addition to what I said in 2) about the probable expansion of religious liberty, I would point out that every country has explicit or implicit limits on religious freedom. It’s not realistic to expect China (or even the US, Australia, etc) to allow ALL religious freedom.


As an American Catholic living in China, I have been following this story with great interest. Despite the unfortunate division between Rome and Beijing, we pray for Pope Francis during the Eucharistic Prayer at each mass. Posters of Pope Francis can be found at many official church bookstores. This news article demonstrates that there are other signs of progress, as the Pope was recently able to fly over Chinese airspace and that the dialogue over appointment of bishops has resumed. I sometimes view China and the Vatican as two large ships…for either to change course, it takes a lot of time, planning, and people to get everything coordinated.

While the Vatican and China work in diplomatic channels, I still believe in the importance of sharing the gospel here. The Chinese are even doing this themselves. Many dioceses put on evangelization classes to train the laity to spread the faith. During their homilies, priests regularly urge parishioners to “fuchuan,” to evangelize. Many churches now have volunteers who staff church lobbies to greet and educate visitors who wander by churches, curious to know what is inside.

A few years ago, I was called to start a tea export business in a poor diocese in China to support the local church and Catholic tea farmers. Located in the Three Gorges region, the Yichang Diocese was once served by Belgian Franciscans, who built hospitals, schools, and orphanages. With our new evangelization, we now use tea to promote economic and spiritual development.

All this is to say that there’s a lot that we can do as believers to promote harmony and friendship between church and state. Whatever we may think of Vatican and Chinese government politics, there are still an estimated 13 million Catholics in China. I can only pray that by focusing on our true mission of sharing the gospel, God will work everything out in his due time.


In another post, Cardinal Zen recently chimed in that he believes the “Chinese government is not ready to change anything in terms of their religious policy.” They’ll just munipulate any effort. His response to the godless communist rule in China is for the faithful ‘fervidly preaching the gospel.’ I also believe Jesus Christ will lead them from this oppressive evil. Pray and remain faithful.


I totally agree.


Hopefully this opens the door to people in china to get closer to God, and allow the church to teach as they should.


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