Pope Benedict had approved the Vatican-China agreement, cardinal says

By Catholic News Service
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Pope Benedict XVI leads his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in this Sept. 7, 2011, file photo. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said that Pope Benedict XVI also approved of the Vatican-China agreement on bishops that Pope Francis plans to renew. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican-China agreement on the appointment of bishops was a pastoral, not political agreement, that also had been approved by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican Secretary of State said.

Every pope, from St. Paul VI to Pope Francis, has tried to resolve what Pope Benedict described as a difficult situation “of misunderstandings and incomprehension” that did not benefit “either the Chinese authorities nor the Catholic Church in China,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin said, according to Vatican News Oct. 3.

Pope Benedict himself, the cardinal said, approved “the draft agreement on the appointment of bishops in China,” which was signed in 2018 by the Holy See and Chinese officials and is due for renewal at the end of October.

The cardinal was speaking at a conference in Milan, marking the 150th anniversary of the presence of missionaries of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions in China. Vatican officials repeatedly have said that the agreement with China deals only with the appointment of bishops, a question essential for the unity and survival of the Catholic Church in the country.



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