Vatican: “We hope to have an official Church presence in China”

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The Vatican's relationship with China has had some rocky moments in recent years. Last year, Beijing appointed a few bishops unilaterally without papal approval. The Vatican recognized these appointments only after the fact. Despite this, the Vatican Secretary of State says there continues to be improvements in the relationship between the two states.

Vatican Secretary of State
We must not be afraid to deal with this topic, even if it is a particularly difficult or complicated topic. And we must have patience. It takes patience. Everybody has to be patient. Also, we must have a lot of hope because we are talking about the seeds sown on the ground, even if they may not immediately seem to give results, in the end, they sprout a little bit of harvest; they always produce something.

There are no official diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the People's Republic of China. But Cardinal Parolin says the Chinese bishops' conference and the Vatican have been discussing the possibility of an official presence in the country.

Vatican Secretary of State
We have been hoping for a long time now to have a stable presence in China, even though initially it may not have the form of a pontifical representation of an apostolic nunciature. But still it will increase and deepen our relationship. That is our goal. Its form may be different than in other places, so right now we will not set it in any one way. We hope that over time, the more relationships deepen, we will also make this step.

May 2024 marks 100 years since the First Council of the Catholic Church convened in China, where, for the first time, native Chinese were able to provide input into Church activities in their home country.


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