mandag 6. juli 2020

Vatican hits stumbling block on road to rebuilding ties with China

When Beijing and the Vatican reached a provisional agreement in 2018 over who had the authority to appoint Roman Catholic bishops in China, it signalled a possible breakthrough in a troubled relationship stretching back six decades. It seems the signals were wrong.

Details of the pact – forged after more than three decades of negotiations – have never been made public, but the agreement marked the communist state’s first indication it was ready to share some authority with the Pope over control of China’s Catholic Church. It was hoped it would help in healing a rift from the 1940s when Beijing kicked the church out of China and later started an autonomous Catholic church, independent of Rome.The schism directly affects around 12 million Catholics in China, who are roughly evenly split into a so-called underground church that looks to the Pope for authority, while others attend Sunday mass in state-run churches controlled by Beijing’s Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

It is understood that Pope Francis has veto power over bishop candidates proposed by Beijing, but this has never been tested. Anthony Yao Shun was installed last August by Chinese authorities as bishop for Jining diocese in Inner Mongolia, but he was a bishop candidate chosen by the Vatican more than six years ago.