Cardinal Parolin: The intention is to renew the Vatican-China agreement
Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has confirmed that the provisional agreement between the Holy See and China expires in October and will likely be renewed.
This agreement is crucial because the Vatican and China have not maintained diplomatic relations since Mao came to power in 1950 and began repressing all religions.
The content of the agreement is not public, but it does allow the Vatican to appoint new bishops.
In these two years, there have been only five new Chinese bishops in communion with the pope, despite the fact that there are about 50 vacant dioceses.
Since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has tried to improve relations with China.
"I would very much like to go to China. I love the Chinese people, I love them very much. I hope that the possibility to have good relations exists. We have contacts, we talk, and we're going forward. To be friends with a country like China, which has so much culture and so many opportunities to do good, it would be a delight."
According to China expert Bernardo Cervellera, conservative members of the Chinese Communist Party do not want to proceed with the agreement. They fear that it will result in pressure for increased religious freedom.
They are not willing to do so.