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Rome Reports

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Vatican will renew agreement with China despite criticism from U.S. government

The Holy See will renew its deal with China, signed in 2018. It is set to expire on Oct. 22, and the Vatican says it will extend it despite any reluctance.

Over the last few days, the United States government has expressed its opposition to this renewal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Vatican was putting its moral authority at risk by renewing this pact.

However, the Holy See insists that this deal with China has nothing to do with politics, nor even with diplomacy. It doesn't redefine the juridical status of the Church in China nor relations between the clergy and the country's authorities.

The Vatican underlines that the agreement “exclusively treats the process for the appointment of bishops: an essential question for the life of the Church and for the necessary communion between the pastors of the Chinese Catholic Church with the Bishop of Rome and with the bishops throughout the world.”

To summarize, the objective of the deal is exclusively pastoral and in these two years has yielded positive results, such as the appointments of five bishops in communion with Rome, and this...

...two bishops from the Chinese mainland participating in a synod with the pope. They're small steps in a race that the Vatican knows will be about endurance rather than speed.

According to Card. Pietro Parolin, extending this pact will help “verify its usefulness for the Church in China.” That's why in a few days, a delegation from the Vatican will travel to Beijing to sign the renewal of the Provisional Agreement.