Date:                    October 22, 2020


Provisional Deal Renewed Despite International Criticism
10/22/2020 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the controversial two-year deal between the Vatican and China on bishop appointment has been renewed and signed today.

The provisional agreement signed between the two parties on September 22, 2018, which came into force a month later and has never been made public, is due for renewal on October 22, 2020.

While it addresses the issue of bishop appointment, where the Chinese government has the authority to propose names for new bishops to the Vatican through its state-approved Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), with the pope having veto power on the decision, the reality is that China has not put forward any names in the past two years.

Instead, the government largely focused its efforts on coercing the underground clergy to join the CPCA or forcing them to give up their positions, as was the case for Bishop Guo Xijin in Mindong Diocese and Bishop Zhuang Jianjian in Shantou Diocese.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the emeritus Bishop of Hong Kong, told Voice of America on October 21, “Why is the Vatican so nervous and wants to extend [the dealCorriere della Sera, one of the Vatican negotiators with China told the paper, “Pompeo has done us a favor. It has shown that our line is not conditioned by anyone. Paradoxically, he strengthened us in the negotiations with Beijing.”

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “The renewal of such an agreement between the Holy See and China is like another slap in the face for underground Catholics. In the past two years, even with this deal, the underground Catholics continued to face harassment and oppression – monasteries demolished, crosses removed, priests and nuns threatened or taken away. The improvement of treatment for the faithful claimed by the Vatican never came true and instead turned out to be worse. It is very unfortunate that the Holy See decided to dance with the wolf and sacrifice China’s underground Catholics for its own motives.”
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