A Chinese delegation expected in the Vatican: an agreement soon signed?

A Chinese delegation expected in the Vatican: an agreement soon signed?

According to Churches of Asia, discussions between China and the Holy See are progressing. But the parties concerned block any communication.

[Hat-tip to PewSitter; Google translation of Une délégation chinoise attendue au Vatican : un accord bientôt signé? As part of its new Ostpolitik (Eastern Foreign Policy), is the Vatican about to sacrifice the “underground” Church in Communist China as well as its diplomatic relations with Nationalist China (Taiwan)?]

Nicolas Senèze

One more step towards a normalization of relations between the Vatican and China? In any case, a Chinese delegation is expected by the end of June in Rome to discuss the finalization of a possible agreement between the Vatican and Beijing, reports Churches of Asia, the information agency Of the Foreign Missions of Paris. The visit follows a previous visit by a Vatican delegation to China in March.

This agreement, discreetly negotiated over the last three years, concerned the organization of the life of the Catholic Church in China, the mode of appointment of bishops – always a delicate subject, the Chinese government wishing to retain the religious control of its citizens – and Their place in the Chinese Church.

If the leaders of each delegation seem to have changed, “the outcome of the negotiations remains as delicate to discern,” says Churches of Asia. The parties concerned block any communication and the rumors circulating are more like “leaks” organized to suggest that an agreement is about to end or is going in one direction or another.


One of the most delicate points concerns the fate of the seven “official” bishops, recognized by the Chinese government but not in communion with Rome.

The Pope’s pardon could be obtained for two of the most important of them: Bishop Ma Yinglin, Bishop of Kunming (Yunnan, South), and Bishop Guo Jincai, Bishop of Chengde (Hebei, Northeast) respectively. President and Secretary General of the Conference of Bishops of China, a structure not recognized by Rome.

From May 29 to June 2, Bishop Lee Bun-sang, Bishop of Macao, paid a visit to Peking. This canonist from Opus Dei, a specialist in Sino-Vatican relations, met with Bishop Ma Yinglin, even though his diocesan newspaper did not designate him under his episcopal title but with his only other function as rector of the great National seminar.


For its part, Rome would like to obtain guarantees on the place and the role of the thirty clandestine bishops, not recognized by the Chinese government.

We are thus without news of the clandestine bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang, east), subtracted the 18 of May last to its faithful ones. Preview a few days ago at the Wenzhou airport accompanied by police officers in civilian, it has not reappeared since. “His full freedom of movement should be restored to him,” the German ambassador recently said in a statement.

The Vatican and Peking must also discuss the mode of appointment of the bishops, the latter not yet formalized.

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One comment on “A Chinese delegation expected in the Vatican: an agreement soon signed?

  1. Tom asks:

    As part of its new Ostpolitik (Eastern foreign policy), is the Vatican about to sacrifice … its diplomatic relations with Nationalist China (Taiwan)?

    If so, it would dovetail with Communist China’s recently stepped-up Westpolitik (Western foreign policy):

    PANAMA-CHINA: Panama cuts ties with Taiwan and chooses Beijing

    A joint statement signed between Foreign Ministers Wang Yi and Isabel Saint Malo. Beijing’s diplomatic war in the throes of economic favors. Taiwan, the only democracy in the Chinese world, is branded as “a rebellious island”.


    Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The state of Panama has decided to cut diplomatic relations with Taipei and establish ties with Beijing. In a televised message, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced the diplomatic move, which rescues diplomatic and commercial relations with the second most important channel client. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart Isabel Saint Malo signed a joint statement last night confirming the step.

    Panama’s decision makes Taiwan’s position more difficult, only recognized by some twenty states in the world, including the Vatican. Taiwan is the only full democracy in the Chinese world, but Beijing regards the “Republic of China” (the official name of Taiwan) as a “rebel province” and forces all its economic and diplomatic partners to adhere to the principle of “One China”, demanding that anyone who has diplomatic relations with China cut off those with Taiwan.

    For some time Beijing has launched a diplomatic war against “the rebel island”, pushing the various states that recognize Taiwan to abandon it in return for economic favors. Last year Sao Tomé and Prince and the Gambia chose to recognize Beijing.

    Beijing’s grip on Taipei has become tighter since the presidential victory of Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (Dpp) in 2016. The Dpp is suspected of having independent leanings and Tsai herself, has kept silent on the principle of “One China”. Beijing fears that the Chinese continent, inspired by Taiwan and its economic strength, will also demand greater democracy.

    According to analysts, the presence of Beijing in Central America reduces the US influence in the region.

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