The Provisional Agreement concerns the appointment of bishops. The Global Times today cited China’s Foreign Ministry, which denied the presence in Beijing of a Vatican delegation. China’s leadership appears divided on the matter. The goal of this “accord is not political but pastoral”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – A "Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Bishops" was signed this morning in Beijing at a meeting "between Mgr Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, and H. E. Mr Wang Chao, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, respectively heads of the Vatican and Chinese delegations," the Holy See Press Office said in a statement released at noon today.
"This is not the end of a process. It's the beginning,” said the Holy See Press Office director Greg Burke. “This has been about dialogue, patient listening on both sides even when people come from very different standpoints. The objective of the accord is not political but pastoral, allowing the faithful to have bishops who are in communion with Rome but at the same time recognized by Chinese authorities".
However, just this morning, the Global Times denied the presence of a Vatican delegation in China, a clear sign of a rift within the Chinese leadership.
Here is the full statement by the Holy See Press Office follows:
“Today, 22nd September 2018, within the framework of the contacts between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China that have been underway for some time in order to discuss Church matters of common interest and to promote further understanding, a meeting was held in Beijing between Mgr Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, and H. E. Mr Wang Chao, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, respectively heads of the Vatican and Chinese delegations.
“During that meeting, the two representatives signed a Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Bishops.
“The above-mentioned Provisional Agreement, which is the fruit of a gradual and reciprocal rapprochement, has been agreed following a long process of careful negotiation and foresees the possibility of periodic reviews of its application. It concerns the nomination of Bishops, a question of great importance for the life of the Church, and creates the conditions for greater collaboration at the bilateral level.
“The shared hope is that this agreement may favour a fruitful and forward-looking process of institutional dialogue and may contribute positively to the life of the Catholic Church in China, to the common good of the Chinese people and to peace in the world.”